Blog By: Wendi Cross

We woke up once again thankful and eager to greet one another.  It’s amazing to walk out of our rooms into the gathering place and enjoy coffee and fellowship without having to awake to an alarm.  Today is a “rest” day and a day of debrief.  We are officially more than half way through our mission trip and we feel as though our hearts are bursting with joy already…how can we attain anymore joy?

The Bible says “count it pure joy when we go through trials of many kinds,” and we have had trials on this trip.  From delayed flights, unapproved passports, lost luggage, broken down van, illness and even a hospital visit (it was me, don’t worry, as I have been here 13 times and never had to visit the hospital).  There is a first time for everything and I am going to be fine, we have persevered.  We are still as happy as ever that we have another outreach to host tomorrow with our Redeemer House kids.  We look forward to more memories.  More hugs.  More love.  More laughter.  More joy.

It was hard for us to look over the schedule and realize that we only have a few more days with the kids.  It was a somber moment and we had to remind one another to “be present” in the here and now, ready to make the most of every moment.  For the Redeemer House children meeting their sponsors for the first time, they are overflowing with JOY!  For those children able to greet their sponsors for their second, third, forth…and thirteenth time they are also overflowing with JOY!  For those whose sponsors are not here but sent us with letters, gifts and pictures your students love you and pray for you…and they would love for you to come!  When we return home, if you sponsor a child we will be contacting you, every child here is asking for your picture.  It’s the least we can do, they want to see your faces and know who has been an intricate part of providing them hope, love and education.

Speaking of pictures, we were able to enjoy some time at the Jinja market, where we all purchased pictures (paintings).  We also had fun purchasing gifts and souvenirs for our family/friends back home.  We enjoyed all of the beautiful crafts and artwork.

We didn’t only purchase gifts to take back to America, our team decided to pitch in to purchase a merry-go-around to leave at Redeemer House for the new pre-school.  The hand-made and beautifully welded, metal merry-go-around is painted with vibrant primary colors. There are 8 chairs the children can sit in while someone spins them around and around.  We know that this will be such a treat for the pre-school and Redeemer House.  There is no doubt we will have pictures from our next trip which will include children happy, laughing, and giggling as they spin around and around and around.

If we were to only look at the trials we have experienced, we would be missing out on all of the laughter, giggles and joy…we are choosing JOY.  If we were to sit the remaining days and dread saying good-bye, we would be missing out on all of the laughter, giggles and joy…we are choosing JOY.   What are you choosing?