I can not begin to explain the joy, the beauty, and the hope that I experienced while in Uganda. We were privileged to be a part of a movement that is empowering single mothers, widows, and orphans to live lives of healing and restoration, and also, HOPE. I will be sharing more about the movement in the next few weeks, but for now, here’s what I have to say.
In Uganda I experienced true hospitality.
Henri Nouwen writes that hospitality not only makes one feel at home, but it allows the visitor to be free and fearless.
“Hospitality is the virtue that allows us to break through the narrowness of our own fears and open our house (or hut, or community) to the stranger…Hospitality as a healing power requires first of all that hosts feel at home in their own place, and second, that they create a free and fearless place for the unexpected visitor…” **parenthesis mine 🙂
FREE and FEARLESS.
When we entered the first village in Soroti, we could hear the women singing as we came down the road. White flags and songs, flowers and dancing, along with some of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen greeted us with enthusiasm. “Who am I to deserve this?”, I thought, as we were lavished with kindness and love, even before we stepped out of the van. “We welcome you!” one of the women said as she embraced me with a hug as if we were long-lost friends. THIS was true hospitality. A picture of the kingdom of God- where we are welcomed with an embrace and smile like no other.
And the dancing…
Even if you may be someone who’s a little shy about dancing, in Uganda, you can be free and fearless – and you can dance with abandon.
(this is Kylie and me (on the right) dancing away…thanks Brandi for snapping this with my camera!)
And not only did these beautiful women lavish us with singing and dancing, hugs and pure JOY, they lavished us with gifts. It was almost too much. Some of these women have nothing – are literally sleeping on dirt floors at night and maybe wondering how they will get their next meal, yet they brought us gifts! It was overwhelming. And I couldn’t help but think of the Father’s love for us. His love is so BIG and He delights in lavishing us with more than we can imagine. Being in Uganda with these incredible people gave me a deeper glimpse into the heart of Jesus.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1
To experience this kind of hospitality was humbling, overwhelming, and inspiring. If only I would be one that gives true hospitality to all I meet…that people would be free and fearless! I believe that’s a beautiful picture of heaven, and something we should all strive for on earth.
I can’t wait to share more about this trip, these beautiful women, and the inspiring work that’s happening in Uganda.
In the mean-time, if you’d like to keep up with the ministry, you can check out Beauty for Ashes Uganda.
Before I end, I want to give a big THANK YOU to those who have supported this ministry by buying cows (more on that later!), praying, sending funds for kids to go to school, and funds for the conference and co-ops. I feel like I received the benefits of your gifts. I send you greetings and lots of smiles, hugs and songs from the women and children who are so grateful for your support. After this trip, I’m definitely buying a cow 🙂