Spending an hour in worship with beautiful African children whose love of Jesus shines from every inch of their being is such an incredibly moving experience. The Watoto African Children's Choir came to our church on Friday evening for a concert, and managed to blessed our hearts, move us in the depths of our spirits, and call us to a fuller life of following our Almighty God.
It was impossible for me to hear their stories--young lives impacted by such loss and pain--and not feel called to deeper ministry. These 22 children (and their 2000 "siblings" in the Watoto Village in Kampala, Uganda) have lost all of their parents to HIV AIDS and rampant wars. They have seen more death and experienced more devastation than most of us will in a lifetime. Hundreds of babies are discarded on the streets of Uganda, in toilets, dumpsters, sewage drains--abandoned by young girls unable to care for them. Watoto founders began a ministry branching off their child sponsorship program called Baby Watoto to nurse these babies back to health.
And here I sit in my comfortable living room, complete with television, ice cold glass of water, full stomach, and warm blankets galore.
HOW do I sit here in my abundance and continue on as I always have? Pursuing what? Home ownership? A car manufactured in this decade? More space for my ever growing collection of shoes? It's interesting to notice the alterations God is making in my spirits. I was just sharing my experience with clearing out my overflowing closets and being convicted, and now this? And for weeks now, each time I turn on the faucet and let it run freely as I wash the dishes, I have been seen the faces of widows and orphans seeking clean hydration.
And through all of those moments, I hear the words of James 1:27--
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
For now, though, I am praying I won't forget this feeling, this churning in my depths. God, use me, use us for your glory. Mold us to be fit for your plan, for truly affecting your Kingdom. Let us not go on living for ourselves, but willing, truly, wholly willing to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Open our ears and our minds to be in tune with where "our" world is--today and years from now.
"Uncle" Ronny was one of the adult vocalists,
a "parent" to two boys on this 6 month tour, and stayed with us Friday night.
This, THIS is true worship.
Kevin and me with our household of boys.
Uncles* Mike and Ronny, Justus (13), Peter (11), Brian (11), and David (9).
*All of the children in Uganda refer to adults as Aunty or Uncle out of respect and love.