So, I am bringing SOME of the story to you. I will NOT burden this post with all of the details, as you can read those at the blog whose link I posted. If you feel comfortable to learn a bit about this place, please continue reading. This is a place I really hope to continue to serve and help, so you may want to know a bit about it. If not, that is okay, too. :)
In Uganda, there is a "rehabilitation center" for youth. You might imagine a place for "troubled youth" or minors who have committed petty crime.
Imagine, instead, a place where babies without parents are left to fend for themselves.
Imagine a place of cement, where doors are padlocked shut at night and children have no choice but to urinate on their beds, if they are lucky enough to have one (over 100 of the children are without beds and sleep on the hard cement floor...I imagine those would include the toddlers, too small to fight for a place in a bed).
Imagine a place where there is no adult supervision. Image a place where food is brought only once a day, if that, and it is a watered down mush, and there is not much of it. Imagine a place where children are chained to windows. Imagine a place where children are locked in small cells, often for days at a time, with no food or water and no clothing.
Now you are imagining the place we are trying to help.
Children are brought to this place for many reasons. One girl killed her father because he was raping all of her sisters and came for her. One child was simply left there by his mother. Another was found badly injured (I will not give details here, as it is quite heartbreaking) by his grandmother, who injured him this way so she could bring in more money when begging. Many of the children are very young, some only babies. Most are boys, orphaned or "useless" girls never make it there as they can be sold into prostitution.
One young woman has been helping this place for two years. When she first found the place, they would feed the children by throwing the "food" on the ground and letting the children fight over it on their hands and knees. She donated dishes so they could at least each get a fair share of whatever was supplied. She also has sponsored several children to go to school, and has continued looking for other people to sponsor more children. She has singing time with the children, which they all (even the older kids) greatly enjoy. She hands out clothing and does all she can for these children.
This little girl is holding a woman's skirt around her for clothing.
One of our friends, Gabi with Racham Ministires, is moving to Uganda soon and is going to be spending time working with the youth in this "rehabilitation center", more commonly known as a prison. She has many wonderful plans to help these children, but she cannot do it alone. Sixteen Small Stones wants to help! Once Gabi is there and can get a better feel for the needs of the children, we, in turn, will have a better idea of how we can help. In the meantime, we know for certain that many of the children have no clothing, so we are collecting clothing donations. We also know, as I stated before, that most of the children are boys, so we are going to really try and collect boys clothing.
More than any donations of clothing or money or ANYTHING, what these children (and the women working with them!) really need are our PRAYERS. Heavenly Father knows each of these children. He knows each of their hearts, their fears, their pains. He knows their lives, their past, and He also knows their future. HE. LOVES. THEM. They are HIS CHILDREN. Through Christ and Heavenly Father, these children can feel joy. Through The Holy Ghost, these children can feel comforted. By feeling the love of a kind Heavenly Father, they can feel HOPE. Let us lift them in prayer as we would lift them with our hands from the dirt of the earth if we were there. Let us cover them in prayer as we would cover them in comforting clothing and blankets if we were there. Let us wrap them in prayer as we would wrap them in our arms if we were there.
Thank you all, so much!