October 29, 2009

over and over singing thanks...

Somehow this week brings October to an end, and with it our last 3 concerts. There is a countdown on the bus that will say 3 days until we reach Mirembe house when we start our drive tomorrow. There is a plane ticket now booked for December 17th in my name to take me home from Chicago. There are less than 2 months left in tour, and already looking back on the evening as I get ready for bed am wondering how time so quickly stole one of those evenings with the girls...

Sometimes when I get behind in writing I put it off more and more to a time where I feel like I will be able to catch you up. Unfortunately as time goes on I just feel as though I've stored up an even larger collection of memories and for fear of forgetting some want to at least make note of some of them even if it doesn't bring you completely up to date.

In the final weeks in host families I feel very blessed. I will surely leave the memories I have in host homes with some lasting impressions of true generosity. Two weeks ago the host I stayed with who gave us the money to buy Scovia's new jeans and sweater that I wrote about the next morning gave a gentle knock on my door to ask if she could come in that morning to talk. Seated on my bed she told me that she had $700 cash left from her mother who recently passed away and would like to forward the cash on to us to use that "the rest of your kids and get what they need off the wish list and you can pick it out best." I was blown away. Again and again, over and over, I am blown away, and we are uplifted and carried on the wings of these generous spirits.

Linds and I went on the biggest shopping spree of my life the next day and had a blast filling carts in Old Navy imagining who could fit into and look good in which pants and shirts...we found new Sunday dresses for the girls and the lady at the store gave us a 40% discount as soon as she found out we were from the African Childrens Choir.

The next church we performed at fond out we needed winter jackets for the children. That afternon they asked for sizes and after writing them down, 2 hours later one of the staff from the church came to me asking if I wanted to "go out and see them". So I go out to their car thinking I am going to "see them" at the store and we will drive over together, but no- they had bought them that afternoon and were quickly showing me 21 new winter jackets and hats. I later walked up to the man who put this all together to thank him- to which his attitude was that of "Laura- some things you just have to do. This is one of them. I just knew in my heart I had to do it. I didn't really have the money for it but any parent with a child in this church knows the importance of keeping them bundled up and warm here. I'm sure if we ask around for people to help purchase one coat that has been bought we can come together." Not half an hour later he had 9 coats sponsored, and within the hour all 21 were covered.Thanks to just this past church stay we now have scarves for all the kids, and some made for all the chaps too

"these are always your stories" people and friends say...and I agree with them- it is "unbelievable".

October 15, 2009

Going to bed on a good day...

I haven't blogged in awhile I know...a part of me holds off on some evenings when I have the time and the internet- holding out for some big special event or story. I don't know when I started waiting for those times...today, peeking into the girls room for hugs when I got in from clothes shopping with Lindsey was just one of those small moments that all put together create one of those all around good feeling days.

My host gave me money to go shopping with to get items off our wish List, and so with Lindsey's car we drove to the Old Navy sales and had so much finally getting to pick out the clothes for our kids ourselves! Dear Scovia so badly needed new jeans, and so we looked through all the different ones to find a pair with flowers knowing how much she would love them. It is quite rare that we actually get to do the picking out- and it was so fun! One big successful bag full of good deals later I got back to the house where the girls had just said prayers and had quietly lied down to rest. My host was waiting up for me to have the chance to visit, but I just felt like tonight I had to tell her to just wait a moment as I really wanted to hug those girls before bed. I snuck into their room and whispered their names only to be met with two preciously huge smiles. I quickly jumped in the middle of the bed and lied down to tell them I just had to hug them goodnight and asked if they'd like to see the clothes I'd been able to find. I told them I would bring them into bed and we'd look through them together there- they were so so excited and quickly pull up the covers to their chins as they sit up and settle in to see. When I got to Scovia's new jeans I told Lillian to hop out of bed and hold them up, and then I told Scovia to cover her eyes and wait till the count of three to open them and see her new pants. This is an image I will never forget...

Scovia jumped a foot of the bed and squealed the most delighted, purely joyful scream. Her absolute delight caught me off guard and just tugged at somewhere deep in my heart...a year later of watching these children receive and I was for a moment completely choked up and close to tears as she frantically ran around in excitement to try them on. She then runs into the bathroom to try them on and then comes running back into the bedroom announcing frantically " Oh no! I forgot to bring my underwears to try them on! Oh oh, do I travel without underwear? No! I must get them for trying them on!" After such a confident announcement it kind of cracked me up that she then shyly grabs the underwear and tries to hide them!

As I tucked them in again once the bedtime fashion show excitement had died down, they eagerly tell me that they made me a pot of chai tea and set it for me at the table to have when I came home so that I would "have your tea you love when you get in!"

2 more bedtime hugs later- I love these kids. What an all around good day.

p.s- I thought I'd post some pics from my last stay where I did an impromptu fashion show with the girls (Racheal, Esther, Immaculate) of all the clothes in my suitcase...figuring there aren't many moments left (and that we should always take the chances when we get them) I decided to enter their play and dress up too...in their clothes! Another one of those just genuinely good nights together.

Both nights I have called Ang to start off the conversation each time with "Oh Ang...I just had to call and tell you about what a good night it was!......"

We have only 10 more stays with host families until we reach Mirembe house. May we always make the most of our moments together- the end is bittersweetly so soon. I think I will take inspiration from Angela's night with her girls and wake up a bit earlier to set up a fancy tea for the girls breakfast tomorrow...