June 2018 | By Dana Johnston
Luke 12:48 states, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I came into this summer experience ready to help enact change in the Uganda Judicial system. I wanted to use what God has given me to help and change this community for the better. But in all reality, I think I have been the one changed the most.
This country and its people are so welcoming and gracious. The people here have so little and yet they are happy and willing to drop everything to help each other, even strangers. I was raised with the mindset, because I have been given many talents and opportunities by God, I need to turn those around and help others with what I have, but that verse has another meaning for me now as well. It does not matter how much or how little you have, as long as you use what God has given you to help those around you. Even if all you have is a smile to give someone that is sad, or a welcoming embrace to show them they are loved, God has given us all things to use to help others. All that matters is that we use what has been given to us.
I had to opportunity to visit a children’s home in the slums on the outskirts of Kampala this past weekend. This home was started by a man because he loves children, he believes they need to be taken care of, and he believes they need an education. This started when a family of five was torn apart by domestic violence leaving the three children as orphans to be taken care of by their aunt. The aunt and this man, a friend of the aunt, decided to not only help these three children but to also help all the children around the area that need food, shelter, or education. The home is now taking care of seventy-four kids, and it all grew out of the desire of this man and woman to care for the most vulnerable in their community.
I watched as they showed us around the facility, and you can just see the love in the caretaker’s eyes as they interact with the kids. You can also see that even though they are scrapping by and doing everything they can with what little they have, they love every minute of it. The children were so joyous and happy, and yet, they have seen more hardship in their lives than most people do in a lifetime. These people and children were willing to welcome us in to their lives and show us unconditional love and joy even when they are who we are supposed to be helping.
And this is just one instance of the love and generosity of this country. I have met so many people, from little children to prisoners accused of murder to the Chief Justice, and every person I have come in contact with has been welcoming and gracious and somehow shown me how God loves and how we are supposed to love others. It is amazing how even just loving people can help make a difference in the lives around you. I by no means have anywhere near enough answers to help this country, but I have realized even if I have no answers I can still help make a change by just interacting, engaging, and loving those around me.