The Faces

I guess on some level I tried to prepare myself for what I was going to see once we got to Uganda. I’ve never been overseas before, and truth be told I’ve probably never seen real poverty up close and personal, though I thought I had.

But all I can think about right now is how I have managed to live my whole life without any idea at all about what real poverty looks like.

Earlier today we visited one of Compassion’s partner churches (Compassion does all of its work through local churches), and I was deeply touched by the kindness and the faith of the people there. They told us about their ministry in the community, introduced us to some of the children involved in their programs, and answered every single question we had with absolute grace and candor.

Then we walked outside the building.

And I’m telling you: there is nothing aside from Divine Revelation that could have prepared me for what I saw. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.




These are the rooms behind the church where the kids have what we would call Sunday School. And compared to what we saw next, those Sunday School rooms were the absolute lap of luxury.

We split into groups and walked just across the street to visit with some families who live in the area. We made our way up a short hill, and as we rounded the corner I saw something that I will never, ever forget. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.


You have no idea what this little girl has done to my heart. No idea at all.

She’s an orphan who lives with her aunt. Her aunt is HIV-positive and struggles to provide for the two of them. And they live in a room that is no bigger than the half bath in my house. It has a straw floor, cardboard walls, and a sheet for a door.

I cry just thinking about it.

And yet she was just one of many children all around us – children who live in a level of poverty that is absolutely incomprehensible, even when you’re so close that you can see it and touch it and smell it.

For about twenty minutes I took pictures of the kids and then let them look at the screen on the back of my camera. It was evident that several of them had never seen their own faces before.

And I just keep thinking that we have to see these kids’ faces. We have to see these kids’ faces. They are not statistics, they are not case studies, they are not random images on public service announcements.

They are precious, sweet, loving faces. Just like your children. Just like mine. And we have to – WE HAVE TO – see them.





We have to.

Because if we don’t, who will?

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  1. Blessed to be a blessing. These little lives have no idea how many lives they are changing with a simple glance.

    Beautiful Boo…

  2. WOW and WOW!
    Your trip is going to be wonderful, you will never be the same!

  3. Between your post and Shannon’s, I am now officially a puddle. A very spoiled, but humbled, puddle.

    Thank you for being there, Sophie.

    Their faces have changed me.

  4. i know someone already made a similar comment…but if we could afford it we’d adopt as many of those babes as possible. i just want to swoop them up and love them.

  5. I’ll go on my 3rd foreign mission trip in a few months. I am looking forward to the day when we can take our children with us, so that they can see for themselves how truly blessed and spoiled they are—we all are. My oldest has seen my pictures and now she can see yours. Thanks for helping to teach my child a life-changing lesson. Rock on, Missionary Mama.

  6. This is incredible. I am glad you are on the ground giving us a first-hand view of all this. It makes it so much more real for people.

    As for adopting these little ones, how about we make it so they can stay with their families and not have to live in such conditions? How about we try to pull these people out of their miserable situations, and give them a chance to stay together and be self-sufficient?

    Adoption is not the answer here.

  7. My word. I can only imagine. Makes you look around and feel gluttonous.

  8. I’m in the puddle with Llama Mama. It’s incomprehensible. Keep sharing. And then tell us what we can do. :-)

  9. Your life will never be the same, with tears running down my face.

  10. Christine says:

    And you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to write when you got there…that you were somehow inadequate for this task! Your post is beautiful, showing us just how beautiful those children are. You and your companions are the right people in the right place at the right time to do what God needs you to do on His behalf. Those children and their families need our help, and we need to understand how important it is that we give it. Blessings and prayers to you all on this incredible odyssey you all are undertaking for yourselves and those of us following you at home. I’ve been trying to get to all 16 blogs and see everyone else’s perspective too. Everyone’s words and photos are just too compelling to miss.

  11. The tears and prayers are flowing. Love on those children for all of us. Great work!!

  12. It makes me want to bring every one of them home with me and cook fried chicken and biscuits and gravy for all of them. For as long as it takes to get them all fed and cared for.

    Thanks for going where I can’t go and showing me what I need to see, Sophie.



  13. I am utterly speechless. I think this is such a great thing that you all are doing not to mention a once in a life time thing. I think everyone should have the chance to witness that first hand, perhaps then everyone would stop taking everything for granted.

  14. Like everyone else who read this, I’m so stunned, I find myself holding my breath. It doesn’t seem real when you see it of TV. You’re making this very real, Sophie.

  15. I’m SO excited to read your posts about Uganda! We are going there in April or May to bring two little ones home from an orphanage there. I can’t wait to hear more, yet it is so sad. May God bless your efforts.

  16. Wow. No other words come to mind. Except maybe stuff a few in your suitcase when you come back.
    Praying y’all make a difference in their lives.

  17. Are they not the most beautiful children on the planet?! Inside and out.

    :) Jamie

  18. That was so touching and heartfelt. We do have to SEE these children and help them anyway we can. My hubby and I sponsor 2 boys from Bangladesh and Mexico but we so want to do MORE!!
    Their faces are beautiful and I will continue for God to reveal Himself to you through them!

  19. This was the final nudge that I needed. I had been thinking about sponsoring a child for some time. Honestly, I really want to adopt one. But current finances/situations do not permit that. I have been following your blog (and Shannon’s blog too) as you planned your trip. I spent all day with the Compassion website open. I looked for a few minutes here and there. How could I choose? The heart will lead :-) So if you see a little 9 year old boy named Kenneth, give him a big hug from me.

  20. Yes it is amazing how spoiled we really are. I traveled to Jamaica for a wedding about 5 years ago. All the homes are poor – tin, cardboard or worse, shocked me to the core. Yet Queen Elizabeth is the leader of that country and as rich as she is, she has no idea how the people really live. Or she would do something about the living conditions. They don’t even have safe drinking water and that is a vacation spot!

    Good luck and God bless you and all your people.


  21. They are simply beautiful, and I for one am being changed and blessed by what you are sharing. I am going to mention it tonight at our women’s group as well. Thank you for doing this, Sophie!

  22. We have a Compassion Child for each of our own children (including those growing up in the arms of Jesus). Guess what? We’ll be adding another Compassion Child this year because God thought it would be fun for this 40-year-old, peri-menopausal mom-of-four-living-children got pregnant again. That’ll be nine Compassion kids for us. Is there a volume discount? Check into that for me.

  23. cattailmama says:

    Thank you for being obedient to God’s call to be there and share this with us.

    God bless you!

  24. The pictures are haunting….I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see these precious faces in person. We are praying for you. God is using all of you mightily. We are being blessed, convicted, challenged, and touched deeply.

  25. It’s amazing what being there in person will do. Somehow a camera just can’t catch the smell, the “reality” of the situation. Thanks for describing it all to us!!

  26. Oh my goodness! I am sooooo glad I linked to your blog through my friend “Maggie’s.” My family and I sponsor a Compassion child in El Salvador. We just started a few months ago, and we got our first letter from him last month. My dream is that when my kids get a little older (they are 5 and 3) that we can visit Carlos. God bless and be safe! My prayers are with you!
    Melissa H.

  27. Those faces just pierce my heart. I am so thankful to be able to read about all that you are experiencing and seeing and learning. It’s amazing and you and the team are in my prayers. As are those little sweetie-pies.

  28. Thank you.

  29. I have been seeing their faces all day long. As I was reading everyone else’s blogs and as I am going about my daily activities. I see their faces.

    I read your blog and Rocks in my Dryer every day. I don’t think for a minute that it is an accident that you are both in Uganda.

    I have so much to process.

    Thank you.

  30. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey you are on. This has already changed me more then you can know. God bless you and your travel companions.

  31. I don’t even know what to say. You truly are bringing the “face” of poverty to the internet. Your words along with your pictures are heartbreaking yet inspiring at the same time. I have wanted to go to Africa for a long time, I feel like I’m making the journey with you. You are in my prayers. I don’t think I can ever say the words..I’m broke…while looking around at my apartment with furniture, the TV, computer, and way more clothes then I will ever need without thinking about those children’s face. THANK’s a lesson that I needed…God Bless You! God is greatly greatly using you!

  32. Debbie Allen says:

    I sponsor a child in Uganda through Compassion. His name is Gonsya Simon and he is 8 years old and and he is at the Kirika Child Development Center. How I wish I was with you on your trip to see his sweet face in person. If you see him, please give him a big hug and kiss from his sponsor who loves him very much.

  33. Very beautiful post. Thank you!

  34. Thank you for helping us SEE them.

  35. And now, Sophie dear, you know why people come home from places like Africa and Guatemala and Haiti with the desire to adopt. Those sweet little children. Those children that God adores. Thank you for photographing them for us.


    I’d love to see pictures from their eye level — what their world looks like (and what they look like) from their point of view. It might surprise you how different it is.

  36. absolutely inspirational! i had to grab the box of kleenex!


  37. Oh my. Verklempt.

    Thank you for sharing them with us.

  38. Amen. Amen. Amen.

  39. Makes me want to visit my Compassion child. Thank you for sharing these pictures.

  40. Moved beyond words, I think of my sponsored little girl and Uganda and wish I could be with you to see her and all of the other children. Thank you for sharing with us the immense need in Uganda. It makes you wish you could take them all home.

  41. I, myself, am preparing for my first ever missions trip to Honduras in a few weeks, and reading your blog has just brought me to tears. I hope I’ll be ready to handle what I’m going to see..
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  42. what a blessing to be apart of1

  43. Hi BooMama. So I’m sure this seems so random getting a comment on post from 2 1/2 mths ago. Or maybe it doesn’t. I had to come back to these posts because the week you were on your trip, my pastor asked my husband and I if we would like to join him and his wife in a group of 10 to go to the Sudan on a 2 week mission trip helping out at an orphanage. We will actual fly to Uganda and then to the Sudan. Anyway, all this to say, I am loving your posts and am learning lots from them. I am partly using them a tool to help me get prepared. We don’t leave until the end of July, so I still have time. But I might, and by might I mean WILL, have some questions for you as it gets closer. Is that okay? AND I will see you in June!!! I’M SO EXCITED. I’m the Janelle going to the Deeper Still conference with Amanda and Beth. I believe you and Melanie are meeting up with Amanda, Sunni and I in Atlanta. Anyway, your pictures have totally touched my heart and made me even more excited (if that was possible) for our upcoming trip. Thank you!!!