Over the past two weeks, my husband has had the distinct privilege of fulfilling one of his dreams ~ traveling to Africa on a mission trip.We knew it would impact his life and the life of our family in many ways, but I wanted to share what he wrote about one of the best parts of his trip . . . meet Ivan
Finding Family you didn’t know you had – half a world away! by Matt Cain
Last year my wife and I decided to sponsor one of the children from the Watoto Church in Uganda. At the time we were moved by the story of the orphaned children and wanted to help. The child we picked to sponsor was named Ivan. He melted our hearts with his wide smile and charisma. Little did we know that almost a year later I would be standing in the Gulu village and meet him face to face.
Our construction team finished work early yesterday and we had time to walk through the homes in the village. As we walked I took an opportunity to show one of the children my picture of Ivan and asked if he knew him. Watoto has 3000 orphans in their care spread across three villages and Gulu is the smallest. The chances were not in my favor that he would be at the Gulu village where we were working. But as God would have it he instantly grabbed my hand and away we went across the village.
As we opened the door to the home I met Ivan for the very first time. No longer was he just a picture of an orphaned child in Africa but he was a precious six year old little boy who wanted to be loved. He showed me his room and the pictures we had sent him of our family that he proudly had hanging on his wall. We sat together and talked for a while and I told him I would be back the next day.
This afternoon I walked through the village after our work day and small children were gathered all around me but one in particular grabbed my hand and said in a soft voice of broken English, “Uncle Matthew, come to my house”. I looked down and found Ivan. With his hand tightly grasped around mine he pulled me to his house. Inside we sat at the kitchen table as he showed me his report card from school and pictures he had colored in his coloring book.
We knew sponsoring Ivan was the right thing to do… My family had the financial means to do it but if I am honest I didn’t always think about Ivan. Our lives are busy and we find other things to occupy our thoughts. Our family would mention him from time to time but it was as if he were a distant cousin that we didn’t really know. Today, that all changed for me. He is not a distant cousin but a member of our family. I look forward to writing letters to him as we encourage him in the months and years to come. It may very well be that the encouragement and love we send will change his life forever. What an opportunity God has given me and my family to make Ivan a part of our lives and impact his from half a world away.
To read more about the trip and experiences of others who went on the trip you can visit http://blog.gethope.net/globalhope.
Also, I would appreciate prayers as I travel April 20-27 to Trinidad. I’ll be leading a group of women at a three-day conference and sharing the message God has placed on my heart about finding Him in the ordinary and putting Him in the middle of all we think, do and say. Please pray God prepares the hearts of these women to receive His word and that He will use me in a mighty way to deliver it. Thank you!