:: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever::
2 Corinthians 13:14
So here I am sitting in my bed for my last night in Uganda. Suitcases are packed and ready to go. How do I even go on from here? This week I was completely blessed by so many touching moments that really encouraged me in the work that God has done through me here at Acheru. The relationships that He has brought to me and the community that He will continue to build long after I have left.
I just want to pinpoint some of these special moments:
1. On Wednesday we always have a group of people from the village come into lead worship for the caregivers/patients. This particular Wednesday they had me stand in the middle of the room and invited people to come pray for me. Instantly all the moms and patients walked up and circled around me as they prayed in their languages for safe travels. I couldn't help but just start crying in the middle of it all. To be surrounded by so many people that I love praying their hearts out for you….there's nothing like it. I love these small glimpses of Heaven where everyone will be praising God in different tongues.
2.. The kids have been well aware that I am leaving this week. Though it was hard every time they said "Emily…this friday…america?" it was always sweet to hear after "America…don't go." This happened multiple times through out the week. One day in particular a group of kids from the north were hanging out beside the guest house. I went out to join them. We had photo shoots, ate guava, and sang songs. At the end of it Ronald and Okello came to me and said "America..nooo. Uganda…yes!" In their broken english I knew this meant that they wanted me to stay.
3. One night when having dinner with the new visitors in the guest house we hear out on the veranda "Affoyo Emily..Affoyo Emily… (with other Langi words that I soon learned meant Thank you for teaching us, Emily") coming from 3 of the teenage girls from the North.
4. Random moments that the staff and mothers just grab my hand and tell me how they will miss me.
5. On Thursday night we had a goodbye party for me (I initially thought I would be leaving acheru on friday, but due to some circumstances I ended up staying 1 more day). The party consisted of popcorn, movie, soda, and a 3 hour dance party! We turned the lights out handed out glow sticks and for 3 hours everyone was gathered in the school room dancing around. It was the most incredible send off. I couldn't have thought of anything more perfect. During this same night I was surprised by a movie that Luke had made for me. I knew that he was putting pictures together of Acheru to show everyone before the movie, but the ending is what made me start crying all over again. At the end of the movie he had gotten kids and staff to send me a video message saying goodbye. To hear all their encouraging words and love was the best blessing. It ended with my buddy Okello sending me with his wishes. At the end of this dance party I found some of the girls crying. This is pretty unusual for Ugandans and so I had to go over and see what was wrong. One girl looked at me and said "She is crying because you are leaving." I couldn't do anything but just hug each and everyone of those girls and remind them how much they were loved.
6. As today was my last day of work I handed out my little gifts to the staff. In return I got numerous notes, gifts, and words of encouragement from each staff member.
I could go on and on about the things that happened this week. Dinner at Charles (our PT), unexpected tears from my roommate, etc. Each moment reminded me of just the incredible blessing God has given me in this community. He is at work here in Acheru and has created something special from everyone here.
The kids last bible study with me. Adam and Eve! Here they are making flap books.
Dinner with Charles and his sisters.
Dancing the night away!
Me with Teacher Juliet and Rose
Lukka and me! The two Bazungu!
Last day of class with teacher Emily!
As I write this post....3 of the moms came to my door to make sure they got to say goodbye to me. Thats number 7 special moment.