My preference on long flights is always an aisle seat. But the flight from Dubai to Entebbe is only 5 hours (compared to 16 hours from LAX to Dubai!). I love to sit by the window so I can see the Ugandan soil as we approach Entebbe Airport. This time as I looked out the window the last 30 minutes of the flight, I began to see the land below with different eyes. The anticipation grew deeper the closer we got to Entebbe. But the houses below all look so tiny. I told Godfrey about this and as he retold the story he said the houses looked like mosquitoes to Mama Kisakye! I began to think of our Raining Hope home. From the sky it would like like any one of these houses...as small as a mosquito. One little house. One unique little spot on the face of this vast earth. Then the thought overwhelmed me. Of all the places in the world, God called me to this one little house & to this one group of children. It is an overwhelming thought and a humbling responsibility. At that moment, I became even more thankful that I was almost to my Ugandan home.
I had told Godfrey ahead of time that my seat was at the back of the plane. Sometimes if I am delayed he worries I have missed the flight! I let Godfrey know I would be one of the last off the plane. That means passport control will be a long line. I would also need to retrieve my luggage. I prepared Godfrey for a long wait but turns out...there was no need! As we all stood up at the back of the plane, people were facing the rear of the plane not the front! It didn’t take long for the flight attendants to open the REAR DOORS! I quickly realized that we would exit from the back, walk down stairs to the waiting Ugandan ground, then directly into passport control. Those passengers who exited from the front went through the covered jetway, into the terminal but then had to walk down a flight of stairs to get back to passport control. This was incredibly better!
Not only did I exit the plane earlier than expected, when I got to passport control one of the agents sent me to a line that only had 2 people in front of me. The sign said, “Crew, Special Needs, UN.” Hmmmm, I wonder which one of those she thought I was?? I had a 6 month multiple entry visa so I breezed right through in record time. If it wasn’t for the fact my luggage took twice as long to retrieve, I may have had to wait on Godfrey because I was too early!
I had my Ugandan phone so I sent Godfrey a text that I was coming out. As I exited baggage claim to the sea of faces, right in front the only one that stood out was Godfrey’s with a huge smile across his face! He was pleasantly surprised that I got out so early, compared to how long he normally waits. We had to laugh as we realized “what do we know?” God's plans are always better!
We had a great drive back to Jinja. But leaving for Jinja late afternoon means hitting Kampala traffic. That is something you can count on! This made the journey about three hours long. It seemed to fly by because of all of the conversation we had in the van about the upcoming week & all that God is doing! We made our traditional chicken-on-a-stick & roasted banana stop about two hours into the drive.
It was nice that there was still daylight when we crossed over the Nile River into Jinja town. Seeing the hotel sign post and turning the corner to head down the familiar road overflows my heart with joy! As we turned into the gate, I saw Robert & Andrew, our dear friends at the end of the road near the other buildings. They both waved and even from the distance could tell they had huge grins on their face.
I was at my Ugandan home and warmly welcomed! After I got to “my room” which I always stay in when here, I laid down on the bed praising God and thanking Him that I had arrived. In this midst of that prayer, I fell immediately asleep! I was awaken by a phone call from Godfrey. He had gone back to the house to see if I should come tonight or wait until tomorrow. His thought was to let me rest. But he said, “Well, the children said either you come here tonight or they are all going to come there!” I felt deeply loved!
Thankfully, Robert (General Manager of Hotel) had sent a flask of hot water and coffee to my room. It was just enough caffeine to give me a second wind. As Godfrey picked me up he said, “We will make it a short time as I want you to rest.” But I discovered something even better than the caffeine...the kids.
As we drove up to the house, all the lights in the house were out and only Betty, our cook was at the gate. I could hear voices inside the house but all was completely dark. As I exited the van and began to enter the house, the front room was “empty” but filled with giggles that the children we having a hard time containing. All of a sudden, they all jumped up from behind tables and chairs, screaming, squealing in delight, cheering and trying to see how many could hug me at the same time! What a joy-filled welcome home! This went on for what seemed hours! It was one of those moments you just can’t get enough of!
Then as the hugs kept coming, they turned on the music to the song, “Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace. They began singing and dancing a very beautifully choreographed number. We all just rejoiced together in that moment. Then I began to listen to the words and my heart was just overflowing!
Wake up and smile cause it's been a while
It's been like a whole day since I stopped so you could hold me
This child awaits, strong in the faith
Lord, You are the refuge that I can't wait to get to
Cause I can't let a day go - Can't let a day go by
Without thanking you for the joy that you bring to my life
And oooooh there's something 'bout the way -Your sun shines on my face
It's a love so true, I could never get enough of You
This feeling can't be wrong - I'm about to get my worship on, take me away
It's a beautiful day.
It's a beautiful day.
It truly was a beautiful day...a beautiful night ... and we were getting our worship on!
They then sat me down in my “queen chair” and proceeded to have a short program. They had a special song prepared that they started to sing on my birthday to me on the phone. They had completed preparing for it and sang, “Your Presence.” & “Jesus Lover of My Soul.”
Your Presence is heaven to me. Your Presence is heaven to me.
So we sing, our Jesus, our Jesus, Your Presence is heaven to me.
The whole song was beautiful. It just brought tears to my eyes. On the table they also had arranged two beautiful plates of various kinds of fruit that was bursting with colors. Godfrey later said that the different colors was to represent the variety of gifts of each person in the home. Each one is special and each one is important to the home. God has a plan for each one this week. We expect great things from the Lord this week.
Godfrey gave me a time to share a word with the children. We launched the week with our verse that will be our theme,
“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 (NLT)
The verse has become alive in our hearts. You will hear more about how meaningful and significant this has become for us as a home and a family in upcoming updates. I found a new song while in Dubai, "Different Drum" by Blanca. The room became alive when I introduced it and we signed and moved together to the music. "We'll keep on moving because we're not afraid to stand out." Something unique is happening here...more on this later!
But as the beautiful and inspiring time came to a close, there was still more coming! Godfrey and the boys gave me a tour of the newly completed Boy’s Quarters! When I was here just 5 months ago it was dark, uncompleted, exposed walls, filled with construction materials and trash from the previous owners. I walked into a completed, light filled, BEAUTIFUL building. They walked me from room to room. The boy’s were all so proud when I reached their room. We also walked into the new “office” where we will be able to receive visitors. The boys had been occupying the rooms on the completed side of the building. But now that we moved them, it opened up one of the rooms to be a sitting room for Godfrey and his family and other visitors! Another room has become our nurses station which is a requirement by the government to operate as a home. In August it was all just a dream. Now it has become reality. We praise God for His provisions!
There are still a few areas that need tiling completed in the wash rooms. But now all that remains is painting of all the walls and furnishing the office and nurses station. We also will be in process of replacing all of the old wooden frames with metal framed bunk beds as funds come in. We have had the wooden framed beds since we lived in the very first house. They are starting to show their wear and tear. Having bunk beds will also give each room more space. Already the bedrooms to this house are bigger than the previous houses we were renting.
We are continuing to stand in awe for this beautiful “palace” the Lord has given to us. God is good...all the time...and all the time...God is good...and that’s His nature, wow!
The children presented me with some of the fruit all cut up and arranged on a plate. They served coffee proudly and lovingly. If I was tired at the hotel...I was a different person after walking through the doors of the home. Godfrey put it well with the children. He said, “I know that Mum Kisakye was tired, but LOVE said no. She loves us so much, she sacrificed tonight.” It was no sacrifice. It was a privilege and honor. It was motivated only by LOVE. I can’t wait to see what God does this week because of the LOVE He has for us!
Day 1 or Night 1 was a Beautiful Day!
And after leaving the home and arriving back at the hotel...it began to rain...
mum eydie kisakye