Farida was the first child I met at Adventure Village, the orphanage of Christian Life Ministries where our team stayed, played and served for two weeks.
Farida is 13 and she and her sister, Hanifah are orphans. Orphans caused by death, poverty and abandonment.
One evening, as we were sitting on her porch talking about America, the girls asked me what I do for work. I told them that I am a mom, that I stay at home with my children while my husband works. Farida said “I have never known the love of a mother.”
This was so hard to hear. It was really difficult to keep from grabbing her and holding her and crying with her. However I had learned through my interactions with her that she is not an emotional or touchy child, which I’m sure is a result of years of disappointment and hurt.
I asked her if her grandmother ever visits or writes and she said no. Hanifah, Farida’s sister, said she wants to get an education so that she can find her mother and then help other children find their parents.
During these two weeks, I was deliberate with my words. I made sure to tell them that they are beautiful, smart, strong. I told them God loves them and that He is faithful…always. He sees them and knows their pain. I told them to study hard in school, to persevere when things are hard. I wanted to make sure that they know someone cares for them and loves them. They have God, they have their Adventure Village Family and now they have me too.
My last night there, we sat together and talked. We took pictures. We exchanged letters. When it was time to say goodbye, we hugged (which I felt was a big step for Farida) and cried (another rarity). We promised to keep in touch. I kept my desire to see them again to myself, knowing that I shouldn’t make promises I may not be able to keep. Only the Lord knows when, and if, I’ll ever see them again.
When I got home I was able to give my children letters that Farida and Hanifah had written to them. My children now have friends in Uganda. How great is that? God is soo good.