By Christina Casares and Meredith Kroeze
Today was a VERY active and fun day. Today was day 2 of the camp at Destiny Boarding school. Yesterday, the focus was more on teaching and worshipping with the children, teenagers and young adults. Today was a day of pouring into the kids through sports and fellowship. When we arrived at Destiny, the children were in part 2 of a competition across 4 teams (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The competitions ranged from Bible trivia to dancing to singing to quoting Ugandan nursery rhymes. The competition got very heated and resulted in Kari and Dave’s team (Matthew) losing points for disorderly conduct (we blame Dave for teaching them how to bark like a dog pound). As the final results were revealed, teams Mark and Luke tied for first place. Even though Team Matthew lost due to their point deduction, they went down cheering as loud as they could.
We then headed outside to the soccer field to start the games. We brought 11 soccer balls, 4 jump ropes and 4 basketballs for the kids to have. As these items were being removed from the car, the kids’ eyes completely lit up and were overjoyed with these gifts. Everyone played for a little while until a formal soccer game began with the older boys. Dave was forced into action and surprisingly, according to our Ugandan friends, held his own for a bit with the boys and scored the only goal for his team. He was welcomed into the distinguished club of Ugandan National Team players but humbly turned down the prestigious request saying he preferred to retire at the pinnacle of success. The chants of “PASTORRRRRRR!” were far greater than any other honor that could be extended.*
During this time, some boys went to play basketball and the girls began a cheering section or played hand games or jumped rope. Many of us enjoyed having time to talk with the kids one on one or in small groups while we watched the game. We got to tell them about our families and show them pictures of our family and friends and even snow pictures we still had on our phones and cameras from last winter.
After lunch we went back to the baby rescue area to play with the little ones. They greeted every one of us wearing their new outfits we brought them. Thank you to EVERYONE who donated clothes for us to bring – the caregivers were overjoyed! Thanks to all of you who donated, boys were able to wear properly fitting boys clothing and girls were able to wear properly fitting girls clothing. We were able to have some conversations with the caretakers there and learn some of the rescue stories of the kids there. One special little boy our team has grown particularly close to is named Daniel.
He is five years old, a little too old to be with the babies but not yet in primary school so he tends to wander back and forth between the baby area and the big kids. We learned today that his mother dropped him off with Eva (the woman who runs Destiny) shortly after she learned she had days to live. She was HIV positive and as a result, none of her family wanted to take Daniel just in case he too was infected. Just a few months later she passed away and Daniel has been at Destiny ever since. In addition, the four oldest, who are about to enter preschool, were presented with their very first backpack and school supply boxes that we had brought from donations from home. They walked around so proudly with their colorful new backpacks on their backs and the biggest grins on their faces. We continue to see Jesus in the faces of these children, as they laugh and play and sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. It is hard to believe we are already halfway through our ministry time here but we can’t wait to see what else God has planned for our remaining time here.
*some details may be slightly embellished