One Year Ago

A year ago today I was getting my first up-close-and-personal look at poverty in a third world country. I was in Uganda with a group of bloggers who turned out to be some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, and I came home from our trip rattled, sad, grateful, unsettled, burdened and angry. I feel like in so many ways God is still using the Uganda trip to change me and show me how my perception of “comfortable” is totally off-base – I don’t think I’ll ever get over what I saw and heard and felt over the course of those eight days.

So, in short: Uganda MESSED ME UP, and I am so thankful.

Many of you sponsored children through Compassion during that Uganda trip, and I can tell you without hesitation that you are changing a child’s life through your sponsorship. Remember, you can send your child letters via email, and this post of Melanie’s is a great reminder of how important our letters are to our Compassion kids.

In about nine weeks another group of bloggers will be heading to Calcutta, India (Angie, Anne, Melissa, Pete and Robin are on board so far), and I encourage you to pray for them as they prepare for their trip.

Here’s a post I wrote last year after we spent the day in a little village about ten miles outside of Kampala. And if you’re interested in releasing a child from poverty, you can find more info on Compassion’s website.


Internets, today I played Throw The Ball And Run AGAIN.


I’m telling y’all: somebody needs to read Ephesians 3:20 out loud for the class. Because if I am throwing and catching and running and whathaveyou IN THE MIDDLE OF UGANDAN FIELDS, we need somebody to TESTIFY to the Lord’s faithfulness up in this interweb right now. God can do anything, oh yes He can.


We spent most of today in a village about ten miles outside of Kampala. To say that the ride was bumpy would be a huge understatement; in fact, at one point I looked over at Shannon and Anne and said, “Funny. I didn’t know that my calves could jiggle.”

But let me assure you: they most certainly can.


We visited a Compassion project that’s run through a local church (all Compassion projects are run through the local church), and the children there absolutely made my day. In fact, we had no sooner parked the bus than this little fellow ran over to us and reached up toward the window for my hand.


Just try to look at his sweet face and NOT smile. You can’t do it.

There’s a remarkable difference between the children we’ve seen who are sponsored through Compassion and those who don’t have a sponsor yet. The Compassion kids have light in their eyes; they have hope. They have adults who love them and disciple them; they have a support network for their families; they have food and medical care and clothing – all provided through their sponsorship.

These kids live in unimaginable conditions, but I’m telling you, when you see their faces? It’s like God turns up the sunshine to full blast.




We were able to play with the kids for most of the afternoon. Shannon and I actually sang “Jesus Loves Me” three or four times with a group of about ten kids, and they knew every single word. Then I showed them how I like to say “YAYYYYY” once I finish singing a song and how I sometimes take the “YAYYYYY” to new heights by clapping for myself.

Needless to say, they thought I was absolutely insane. But for whatever reason, I think this particular group of Ugandan children appreciated my crazy. So obviously I will be moving here in the near future, just as soon as I can get home and round up my people to come back with me.

And by the way, we yayyyyed and clapped like nobody’s business.

Because the children, they need to know these things.

A few hours after all the yayyyying, when we were just about to leave the project, a little boy – he was about 11, I’m guessing – ran up to me and started saying a name over and over.

At first I thought he was introducing himself to me, so I smiled and told him my name.

He shook his head – and then continued repeating the name.

I finally realized what he was saying, so I looked at him and asked, “Troy? Are you saying ‘Troy’?”

He nodded like crazy – with a smile so wide that I wondered if his face could even contain it – and as he looked me straight in the eyes, he said, “Yes. TROY. USA. Is my sponsor.”

And in that moment, it hit me.

Troy – whoever he is, wherever he is – is that boy’s link to the world. Through his sponsorship, Troy bridges a gulf of human indifference that separates those of us with the means to help from the kids who so desperately need it.

And while Troy has no idea, make no mistake: there was a child in a remote village of Uganda today who was shouting his name in gratitude.

I just think that’s extraordinary.


Every child needs a Troy. Every child deserves that.

Every single one.

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  1. I just made this same comment over at Rocks in my Dryer. I can’t believe this trip was one year ago! I know you can’t either. Thanks to you going I sponsored two children. I have never regretted that decision!

  2. I cannot beleive that has been a year. Nothing changes our American CHristian perspective like a trip overseas to see what God is doing! Thanks for sharing yours and for the prompting to stay sensitive to what the Lord would have us do. Blessings.

  3. Thanks for sharing this post with us again. It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I want to let you know that for my 30th b/day yesterday my husband surprised with with a sponsorship of two Compassion children. (I missed the Sunday that Wes – Compassions president – came to our church, but he listened to the podcast and was forever touched by it). Anyhow, a year or more ago a gift like this would have been ‘cool’ but now it means so much more. Especially after traveling to several countries on missino efforts and reading what you, Melanie and Pioneer Woman’s husband have all written about each of your Compassion trips. As I read the information about each child and saw their faces my heart melted.

    The second awesome part is that my husband has set up a Compassion trip (in Sept) for US to travel to Honduras and meet one of our Compassion kids. I about fell out on the floor in an emotional heap when I realized what the printed itenerary was telling me. Even though I’ve just ‘met’ these children on paper, knowing that I will soon get to meet, hug, see, play with, and love on one of them just absolutely melts my heart. I won’t be blogging about the trip (no laptop and I do not consider myself a ‘blogger’) but I will definitely blog about it when I get back to share this experience and about my trip to my friends and family. I’m excited and know that it will be an amazing trip. I cannot wait to see what God has in store.

    Oh yeah, and one other cool thing – I went to this same city on a mission trip with BH in 2007.

    I realize I’m rambling, but I wanted to share my excitement with you – since you’ve done this and know what a Compassion trip is all about.

  4. OK now you have me crying with the little fella saying Troy, how sweet. Now I will definantly have to sponsor a little one. God has blessed me in so many ways, why not bless someone else. Have a great day!!!!
    ~Molly P

  5. It’s been ten years, five months, and six days since living in Kenya messed me up for good. What I can say about that experience is that not only is your heart never the same, but the more you delve into it, the more you have to change your lifestyle, your priorities, and your finances. It gets harder and harder to live a comfortable life, and harder and harder not to work through the fear and say yes to the call.

  6. I remember when you first posted this. It moved me then and it moved me again just now.

    YES I will be praying for this group of bloggers as they travel and share Jesus.

  7. *tears* thank you for sharing this story!!

    Just found your blog through whitikerwoman and love it! You’re a great writer.

  8. Wow! Has it been a whole year! I’m stunned; it seems like only a few months.

  9. How do you decide what/who to suppport?
    I have really prayed about this and am very torn. My former pastor and his wife have been in Thailand for 10 years and have led hundreds to the Lord. We support them every month. My son-in-law had been out of work since June and we help them as best we can. We give to the local food bank, homeless center and pregnancy home. At Christmas we adopted a local family. It feels overwheling….the ligitament need….more and more people homeless and hungry…..How do youu prioritize????
    God Bless, Pam, South Bend

  10. It is hard to believe that was a year ago. I so remember your trip as I read with an odd eagerness.

    These children came to life to us. And and interesting thing, they have stayed that way.

    Thanks for going and for sharing. Prayers for the children.

  11. Such a sweet story about Troy! It is true, though, that even just having one adult that cares about them can make a huge difference in the life of a child! I do volunteer work in my city with kids who have been removed from their homes due to child abuse. Some of the older kids have gone their whole life without feeling like anyone really cared, and after getting paired with a volunteer their lives are miraculously changed. Grades improve, behavior problems in their foster homes disappear, etc., etc., all because they see that they matter to someone!

  12. This was beautful. My one hope is that one day I can go on a missions trip!! :o)

  13. Thanks so much for your prayers. They mean the world to me!

  14. That moves me…we are praying even now for how God wants us to help.

  15. So good to read this again… and it’s crazy that it’s been a year already.

    I’m so excited about the India trip. I’ve had a special burden for that country since I was a little girl and I’m thrilled to see what God’s going to do there.

  16. I’m telling you, mission trips changes your life (and your family’s) life forever!

  17. Yes, indeed, Sophie. Every one deserves a Troy…

  18. BooMama, I have almost certainly read every word you have written on your blog about your Compassion trip…and this still made me cry. :) I’m going to link to this post on my blog.

  19. Thank you for rerunning this post – just beautiful- and the photos too! We sponsered a gorgeous 5yr girl from Uganda just this past Dec as a Christmas present for our family — Pamela Nywarinda. My kids have added her to the growing list of people they pray for every night and they put her photo in our family album — so sweet. It’s already been a great experience and it’s only been a couple months! I would love to go and visit…someday.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  20. Lovely reminder, Sophie!

  21. Because of you, I sponsor a child through Compassion and his name is Opungo. And I’m going to write him a letter this weekend along with our kids. I think I’ll send him some paper and stickers, too :)