-by Jared Morrison
We kicked off July with our first annual Forgotten Children Uganda staff retreat. We spent 5 days together at Musana Camps overlooking Lake Victoria. It was a wonderful time of rest and growing together as a team. Our theme for the week was “Better Together” so everything we did was focused on working well as an intercultural team as we serve the families in our program. We laughed together. We cried together. We played pranks on each other, of course. But most of all, we grew better together as we looked at biblical examples of teamwork, did team-building activities, and were trained on how to become a more productive team.
One of the highlights of the retreat was story day. We spent one whole day letting everyone share their stories. We heard the good, the bad, the sad, and the encouraging parts of everyone’s stories. After someone would share, we would take several minutes to pray over that team member and the rest of their story that’s yet to unfold. It was powerful. As one of our team members said, “the stories were my favorite part of the week because it helped me realize that I wasn’t alone… that I wasn’t the only one who went through some terrible things but came out ok.”
One team member’s story in particular was a great testimony to why Forgotten Children does what we do all over the world. This team member, as a young lady, was talked into moving to the middle east to “work.” Unfortunately, her dream of making enough money to take care of her family and save for her future back in Uganda was quickly shattered as abuse and sickness started right after she arrived.
She was forced to work an inhumane number of hours per week doing extremely physical labor, all while being miserably sick and with no hope of ever returning to Uganda. All the while, she was sending her paycheck back to family members in Uganda to save for her. After several months of unbearable conditions, she finally was able to escape and return to Uganda only to find that her family had stolen the thousands of dollars she sent home. She was broken, broke, and had nowhere to live.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending of redemption that could only be written by our amazing God. She is now happily employed by Forgotten Children Uganda and works every day to help prevent the girls in our program from going through the same terrible ordeal she went through. Please pray for her and all of our staff here in Uganda that God would give us the strength to fight the evils of trafficking and the desperate poverty that kids face here, and that ultimately every family we serve will be introduced to their heavenly Father, who is crazy about them!