After surviving a tough trip to Uganda, including seventeen hours on three flights and lost luggage, the team from Timberline Church quickly settled into the rhythms of daily life at Cherish Uganda while adapting to the vast cultural differences.
Cherish ministers to HIV positive children and their families. Of the 50 children who live at Cherish full time, almost all of them have family members who are unable to provide the care they need. Instead, these children are cared for by amazing and inspiring House Moms. Cherish is in the finishing stages of building two more homes so soon another 16 – 18 kids will feel the love of Jesus in practical ways.
During their time in Uganda, team members were split up between the various homes, clinic, and chicken coops to work alongside the staff for a few hours each day. In the process, they discovered a lot about how much they take for granted back in the United States when it comes to simple things like dishes and laundry. As they rotated jobs, each tried their hand at farming, weeding, sawing wood, using machetes, hammering nails for a new chicken house, peeling potatoes, and mopping floors. They were humbled to see how difficult the physical work was to complete in just two hour rotations when these same time-consuming tasks were the simple chores done each day by the staff with such love and joy. The team experienced another reality check and new appreciation for life in the United States when their luggage arrived and they finally had fresh clothes to wear.
Cherish also hosts Hope Academy (ages kindergarten through 7th grade) where about 200 children from the immediate community attend school. Having any sort of education provides huge opportunities for their future, not to mention it is a Christ-centered school with outstanding teachers. Team members were able to attend chapel with the school children as well as sing and play games with them.
One of the biggest impacts Cherish makes in their community was made clear during the team’s orientation meeting when they were interrupted by the news that one of the Cherish kids was sick. After rushing him to the hospital, it was discovered that the boy had malaria. He received treatment and with answered prayers was able to return home. Without Cherish, he would have more than likely not made it to the hospital at all and almost certainly have died.
Very soon, Cherish will have its own hospital onsite to care for the needs of the people at Cherish as well as those of the surrounding community. (The average life expectancy of a Ugandan is 52 and many die from simple things that could be easily treated with basic medical care.) The hospital will be up and running by the New Year and will be a powerful tool that will enable both physical and spiritual healing for the children at Cherish and the 5000 people living in the Akaloosa Village.
As a result of their time in Uganda, the team came away with a greater vision of what God is doing at Cherish as well as an appreciation for their lives back here in the States. As far as what’s next on the horizon, several on the team want to go back next year and intern during the summer. Pastor Donny Abbott also returned with a list of needs and will soon be sharing stories with Timberkids to help decide on the next project to support.