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Glimpses of the Kingdom

The “Kingdom of God” is an image whichhas been percolating in my heart and my time in Uganda encouraged me to revisit it and gather a few thoughts.

One of my great joys in Uganda was to visit 3 other “Children’s Villages” (orphanages with schools) in Uganda.  Two villages are in Lira and the third, Watoto, in Kampala.  During each visit national staff from Children of the Nations alongside American staff and volunteers asked questions of the other organizations about their vision, history, growth, current projects, challenges, etc.  Each village is unique yet the goal of each is to raise orphaned and disadvantaged children in loving, caring homes growing to love Christ and lead the nation of Uganda.  Aspects of each village sparked our interest.  A fully functioning computer lab, a highly successful secondary school, a school working to have international accreditation (not being tied down to national exams), electricity, running water, a culinary program, a baby’s home complete with washers and dryers, and so many other ideas.  Then we all thought of the 60 or so full care children at Children of the Nations in Uganda, the many Village Partnership children and what the future may hold for all of them.  We dreamed privately and out loud as we all can be part of building it.  At COTN Uganda a new circle of homes is underway with 2 of 8 homes finishing completion.  There are children who complete Primary 7 and then go to secondary boarding schools but maybe an on-site secondary school would be better for students.  The potential projects and plans are endless both at COTN and every other children’s village.  Dreaming and planning on how to best love, serve and raise kids who love Jesus is daunting, exciting, and part of something much larger, God’s Kingdom work. 

As we began our tour of Watoto, thanking them for their time, a longtime administrator was so very gracious which helped bring perspective.  She said, “We’re all building the same Kingdom, right?”  She went on to state that they are glad to share what they have learned over nearly 20 years of caring for children through developing children’s villages.  She stated they have learned through successes, but also failures, and are glad to share what wisdom they have gained.  The Same Kingdom.  Her graciousness, willingness to share, honesty, and purpose shined through.  So we visited one of the Watoto Children’s Villages with over 1000 children, a baby’s home with 98 children under the age of 2, a thriving secondary school with students getting top national marks, and a shop building furniture and roofing for future homes.  The atmosphere was that of a prep school located like a city on a hill, which it is.  It could be easy to be pulled into thinking and feeling Watoto is “better” in doing the work of God, in building his Kingdom.  However in Lira they (Watoto) aren’t better, they aren’t there.  It’s not a criticism rather an acknowledgement that each person, church, and organization must take responsibility for the work given to them by God.  My trip to Lira left me encouraged that the work in Lira through Children’s of the Nations is important, critical, and Kingdom building work which He brought me to be part of.

My return home via 4 days in the UK still had me thinking of Kingdom work.   I woke at 5am on Sunday August 11th with thoughts of what my role has been this summer in Kingdom Work in Uganda.  That phrase kept mulling about my brain as I thought of the reports yet to write, recommendations to make, pictures to edit, and so much to consider in terms of next steps as my work is not complete.  Rich Stearns, the president of World Vision, was speaking in church that morning and he said, “Having accomplished what he came to earth to do, why didn’t Jesus finish all of history right then and there? Well, he gave the church a mission; it is now the church’s job to do the work of building the kingdom of God.”  

As part of the Church I went to Uganda – the church made up of the support of family, friends and church members.  Throughout my time in Uganda it was clear that I was the face of a much larger Kingdom team and for that I am humbled. 

My theme song for the summer was “Kings and Queens” by Audio Adrenaline

“Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens

Wrapped in Your majesty

When we love, when we love the least of these”

 

When I think of the Kingdom of God my heart turns to the children pictured below.  There is room for a multitude of Queens and Kings in this Kingdom here is a glimpse of a few of them. 

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