My story began when I started praying a small and simple prayer in December 2010. I would ask Jesus every day “Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.” And I am here to tell you that He answered that prayer in the most beautiful way imaginable.
About six months after I started praying this prayer, the Lord began pressing missions and orphan care very heavily on my heart. I was terrified and extremely hesitant when I felt the Lord calling me to go to Africa. After many months of praying and really seeking the Lord, I signed up for a short-term mission trip during my Christmas break of my senior year of college. I traveled to Uganda, Africa for a little over two weeks and my life was changed forever. God completely broke me. He shattered my heart yet brought so much healing to it at the same time. As I looked into the eyes of helpless, abandoned, and forgotten children, I looked directly into the eyes of my Savior. It was in Uganda that Jesus answered my prayer. He broke my heart for the very things that break His, and I would never be the same.
I traveled back to Uganda for a short trip in March and that is when I felt the Lord speaking to me about returning for a few months after I graduated college. In August I flew to Uganda and lived in an orphanage with 120 precious children for a little over two months. It was the most incredible experience of my life and there is not a single day that goes by that I do not ache for the country and children that stole my heart. I miss bath time in buckets, kissing boo boos, dirty hands and snotty noses, Bible stories at bed time, and tucking my littles into their bunks and seeing how many times we could say “I love you so much” because many had never heard those words before. There are a million other things that I miss and I look forward to the day that the Lord allows me to go back and visit my sweet ones across the ocean. Until then, I hope I can advocate for them and honor them by sharing my stories and letting God stir hearts.
During my time in Uganda, God gave me a vision to start a nutrition program at the orphanage through his Word in John chapter 21. By the grace and guidance of my sweet Savior, I was able to start Program 21 at the children’s home during my time there. The Lord blessed the program in such amazing ways and the children’s health and quality of life benefited greatly from the added nutrients to their diets. After a full year of the program being implemented, we were faced with a few challenges that forced us to put the program on hold while we wait for new doors to open and for clarity on how to move forward. It has been, and continues to be an extremely hard season of uncertainty, but it forces me to run to God for wisdom and guidance more than ever. Instead of being consumed by worries and what-ifs, I have to trust that His ways are higher than my own and He is taking care of the children just as He did before I ever knew of their existence. He created them in His image and loves them more than I can even fathom. In John 14:18 He gives us this precious promise, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” This verse brings me comfort as I wait to see what He has in store for the future. When there is new information to share in regards to Program 21, I will update it here.
My prayer is that the Lord would continue to use my experiences to help advocate on behalf of the little ones I left behind. God has stirred in me a holy hurt for the 163 million orphans in our world, and I pray that He will continue to use me to honor Him and spread awareness to the orphan crisis. I am forever changed for the things that He allowed me to see and experience during my time in Uganda, and I truly feel so humbled and blessed to have experienced Jesus through loving the least of these.