It has been a little over a week since we have been back from Uganda and I am still processing what happened on our most recent trip. I know, it’s crazy; but it wasn’t just a short visit to see the kids living in the children’s home. This time we had purpose and we knew it would be different. It was a trip that sparked vision, broke our hearts and made our role in these kid’s lives so much more real.
There have been many people on our trip who have had a hard time adjusting to the normalcy of our life at home. I remember flying home last Wednesday and that evening rocking my youngest daughter, Kynlee, to sleep and I literally just started to weep.
While in Uganda, I don’t know how many times we would come across naked babies covered in dirt with high fevers, horrible coughs, and runny noses. These babies didn’t have cribs, rockers or pack-n-plays - they slept on mud floors with no blankets or plush stuffed animals. I told my husband when I got home, “We are okay. We will always be okay. We have so much love in our hearts, healthy children and will never have to worry how to survive!”
During our trip, I was humbled to take the clothes that my girls had grown out of and dress these little babies we came across. There mom’s looked at me - not with eyes of appreciation; but eyes of a desperate mother who was so thankful that someone had thought of their baby.
Project Orphans is going through growing pains. Our vision is being stretched and we are being challenged to dream bigger. I’ve seriously have been thinking how in the world are we going to raise $35,000 by December 2016, and then God starts working on my heart and showing me what else needs to be done in the small village outside the children’s home. I told God, “Seriously, if you are going to wreck my heart for your people, have me toss and turn during the night thinking of new ways to share your love, and have me go all the way to AFRICA to do it- well I am and we are willing to step-up and be obedient; but you are going to have to provide!”
This most recent trip showed me that the families and children in Central Uganda have deep wounds. Project Orphans must step up our game! We can’t just provide necessary means to survive, education, shelter and other resources. We must dig deep and begin healing wounds in these people’s hearts. This isn’t an easy task and it will take lots of time, work and effort; but we are up for the challenge!
When we were in Uganda we broke ground on the opportunity for children to attend school. It’s a huge step of faith for us. We will have monthly salaries to pay plus children’s tuition. While in Uganda, we captured the story of Sophia. I can’t wait to share with you her story and this video. She is a precious girl that motivates me every day to get out of bed and find a way for her and her friends to go to school. Sophia doesn’t know how to read or write. She barely speaks English. She didn’t understand why we wanted to video her life. But she knew we truly loved her!
I remember on the way to go visit her home she grabbed my hand. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. She didn’t grab me because she wanted attention; but because she wanted to hold someone’s hand who loved her and who had love to give her.
Sophia’s home was worse than our team had expected. Her mother rents a room for Sophia, herselfand her other daughters from two men who to me were completely bad news, if you ask me. Sophia’s mom is pregnant with her fourth child and she is not married. Sophia has no father figure and is stepping in at seven-years-old as the provider and caretaker.
The four of them share a twin size piece of foam for a bed - which is next to their most precious possession. Their chicken and its baby chicks. They don’t have a kitchen. In fact, they use a pair of pants as their table and table cloth.
I’m not sharing these facts with you to make you have pity. I’m sharing them with you because this is the reality for hundreds of children living in Kiwenda and you need to know. You need to know because some how there is a reason you have taken time out of your day to read this blog. You care and that is okay. I care too and sometimes I feel completely lost and helpless. But I need to tell you - we aren’t helpless. We can change their world. Already, we are changing Sophia’s world!
Two days after filming Sophia — our team went back to her home caring two mattresses for her and her family! Sophia ran to us with the largest smile that I have ever seen. Then I realized… did she understand why we were filming her? We shared with Sophia that she is going to be able to attend school; and not have to worry about the money to pay for school tuition or her new uniform! Sophia stopped right there and dropped to her knees and started to kiss our feet. I used everything inside of me to hold back the tears that were about to pour out of me. At that moment, I wanted to get on the ground and kiss her feet. Who am I to deserve this child’s gratitude? I am no one - I’m just one part of this organization bringing the support of everyone back home who made this possible for Sophia.
Thank God we only documented Sophia’s story. I don’t think I could handle much more! All I know, is there will be testimony after testimony of kids just like Sophia - who never had the opportunity to even dream about going to school, finally having a chance to be more than what they ever even thought was possible.
This idea to give education is just one of many projects stirring in our hearts! We are excited to complete this and start hustling on the next opportunities that God is opening in Uganda! There are many more stories to share with you. I’m still putting words together for other moments we experience.
Sophia’s story will be released tomorrow. I ask you to watch it with an open heart! Also, please share her story - the more people who know the more people can have the opportunity to be part of Sophia and so many others future.
Our goal is to have her story shared in several homes - sparking passion and conversation to help Project Orphans in our endeavors to find sponsors for the children attending. We are also working to find churches around the United States who will share Sophia's story on Orphan Sunday (November 13, 2016) and take an offering towards this project.
If you would like to donate towards this project, know of a church who would like to share Sophia’s story, or would like more information on becoming a child sponsor - please email me directly at Brittany@ProjectOrphans.org. I’ll make sure to get any question you have answered and humbly serve these children that you are sowing into.
With a humble heart,
Brittany Stokes, Co-Founder of Project Orphans