Friday, March 4, 2011

[to love and be loved]

"We must know that we have been created for greater things,

not just to be a number in the world...

we have been created in order to love and to be loved."

-Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa lived love OUT LOUD! But it wasn’t her original idea when she says we are to love others. My Savior commands it in His word, so that’s what I strive to do. I don’t want to waste my life being grumpy and holding grudges (although trust me, there are definitely people I struggle to love and be patient towards!)

Loving with God’s love is POWERFUL. It can transform someone. I have literally witnessed the “before” and “after” stages w/ some of these kids. I’ve watched hurting, introverted children recognize that the staff at Dwelling Places (and God!) love them. They now are joyful and engage with the other children. Never underestimate the difference that love can make…always be willing to wrap that child in your arms and give them a hug. Always be willing to encourage and point out peoples’ strengths.

At DP, we are currently rescuing children off of the city streets. They’re now living at our transitional rehabilitation home (down the street from the office.) Since I spend my days working in the office, I don’t get to engage with our kids as much as I’d like. So I’ve been trying to stop by the home and visit with the kids several nights a week when I get off work.

On Tuesday, I brought along some nail polish for pedicures (thanks to my dear friend, Amy, who sent them from the U.S!) The girls went CRAZY with excitement. Their toes never looked better : ) Before I left, they wanted to return the favor….what’s the result when you have FOUR young kids simultaneously painting the nails on each limb of your body? Let’s just say I looked like a (very pink) nail salon threw up on me! And I loved every minute of it. (No photos were taken, unfortunately ;)

My beautiful, talented friend (Maria) and I stopped by to visit the kids this afternoon. We had a blast playing Duck-Duck-Goose (which many of them have NEVER played before!) and just lovin’ on the kiddos. I snapped some photos that I want to share with you.

Don’t their smiles melt your heart?? It’s hard to believe that even just a few weeks ago, they were facing hardships such as: abuse, struggling to find food, not having a place to sleep, and the list goes on.

[Juma, age 4. I'm smitten, I'll admit it...]

[Holding sweet Patricia and also Shadiya....and half of Daniel!]

[I believe this cutie just came last week, and I haven't yet learned the names of all the brand-new ones :/ ]

[Juma again....he was toting around baby Silas who's about 9 months old! Too cute.]

[I caught Silas in an adorable, candid moment...]

[Could their smiles get any bigger? These two (like MANY of our DP kids) actually attend a nearby boarding school; this was a few weeks ago during their break.]

[Playing Duck-Duck-Goose today! Well, certain individuals were distracted by the camera. My dear friend, Maria, is in the striped shirt on the right; she has recently started volunteering with us. She's so talented and great with the kids.]
[Patricia again--this little girl melts my heart. Note the dust on my toes--I will NOT miss that aspect of Uganda ;) ]

Please keep these precious children in your prayers this week, as they are still adjusting to life at DP. Pray that it soon begins to feel like “home”; pray that all 20+ of them get along and love each other like family (Since MOST of them are fresh-off-the-streets, they’re hitting and punching each other if they don’t get their way.) And consider sponsoring a child; let me know if you’re interested!


Anonymous said...

Oh my do these pictures ever melt my heart! I so wish I could just hop on a plane and come visit you over spring break. I feel like even a week would be so life-changing. I'm so proud of you for everything you're doing and the compassion and love that you're showing these amazing children.

Anonymous said...

Baby Silas looks so old! I barely recognized him!


Audrey Drago said...

Hi Ashley,

I am a friend of Rachel Johnson's....I have loved reading your blog and am always just so moved by all that God is enabling you to do while in Uganda. These kiddos are so sweet...what a blessing to be able to serve them and teach them about Jesus! My daughter is turning 8 and is having a birthday party and is asking if instead of gifts each girl would bring a small donation to help someone in need...her heart is moved by the children in Africa and all the needs there anything that is an immediate need that she can put the money towards with your ministry?

Thanks for all you do, Ashley!

God Bless,
Audrey Drago