Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Loving Deeply

Despite some of the heartache we have been feeling over the past week, we have to rejoice because we serve an awesome God, and He truly blessed us through the ministry over the past few weeks. One of the best parts about going to the same areas every year is that we get to see many of the same people. We love to meet and make new friends, but it's even more special when we see people over and over. We watch kids grow. We watch families change. And through it all we make some very close bonds that we wouldn't trade for the world.

Take Matiya. We met him in 2008. We were doing home visitation in his village, and the national workers had found some of the neediest children for us to take a picture of and try to find sponsors for. Matiya was one of them. He stood there in his green corduroy overalls, only briefly glancing at us. Now, after three years of sponsorship and love we went to Matiya's home. As he saw the team coming down the path he started skipping toward us. And when he saw my dad he ran as fast as he could and jumped into his arms, almost knocking my dad over. He was so happy to welcome us to his home, he could hardly sit still. And when we left, he held my dad's hand until we made it to the bus.

My mom has a special place in her heart for Mercy. She is the sister to Eva (one of the girls that we sponsor) and is sponsored by my grandmother (my mom's mom). Mercy always comes looking for my mom. She knows that no matter what is going on in her life, my mom will lend an ear to listen. Mercy is facing some very difficult circumstances in her life right now, but she knows that my mom's love for her is strong.

I've known Patricia, an AMG national worker, since our first trip in 2007. What I didn't know at that time was the special bond God would forge between us. We have become good friends over the years. We've seen each other through some tough times between my sickness and some difficulties she faced last year. One of those was the sudden death of her mother. We kept in contact with each other, and this year when my mom offered to be a mother figure in her life (something Patricia had been praying hard for) in the blink of an eye, she went from friend to big sister. And by that I mean she went from picking on me once in a while to picking on me all the time. As a seasoned younger sister, I played my part and gave it right back to her in the most loving way. I've never had a big sister, but if I had to chose one, I'd pick her.

Those are just some of the sweet friendships we picked up with while in Uganda and just some of the reminders that while sometimes the work feels hopeless, sometimes we get it right. We know our job isn't to fix the world (though it would be nice if we could). But it is our job to love with all that we have. It's not always easy. Sometimes loving so deeply breaks our hearts. But there are also those times when it brings us overwhelming joy.

- Aly

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