|Some of Uganda's young people|
I scan their faces and wonder what they are thinking. Are they hearing? I study their eyes. Do I see a gleam of understanding, of receptivity? Are they just taking in words, or are they grasping what is being communicated in heartfelt tones?
When I find myself facing a group of students in church or in a school assembly here, I often have such thoughts.
At times tears come to my eyes as I wish with all my heart they knew the depth of their Creator's love for them. I pray they someday grasp how great a plan their Heavenly Father has for each of their lives. I long that they know Jesus as a Savior, Friend, Refuge, Confidant and Guide.
Sometimes the Ugandan youth remind me of teenagers elsewhere. They live for today, but many often don't consider how today's choices will alter their tomorrows. Messages of purity, abstinence, standing strong, staying in school, etc. are repeated over and over again. I wonder if they become weary of these familiar themes and tune them out?
We exhort them to get good grades, respect their authorities, don't bully others, consider your neighbors, etc. Yes, these are among the messages we tell the island youth. Sound familiar, huh, to what might be shared with an American adolescent or teenager?
I believe young people around the world have dreams, passions, fears, and insecurities that follow the same veins. They want to be valued, listened to, appreciated, respected. Yet, their culture, backgrounds, family relations, poverty level, status, etc. are as diverse as their appearances, surroundings and locations on planet Earth.
I find myself sometimes stumped by how to reach these kids. Am I just spouting off streams of words that vaporize before they enter their heads and hearts? Or spinning my wheels as I teach, mentor, disciple, befriend?
Only God knows. And only He knows what will actually penetrate these young and impressionable lives to bring true transformation according to His purposes. After all, He designed them, formed them and wrote out their days before they were born (Psalm 139).
Heavenly Father, please give me grace, wisdom, discernment, patience and divine understanding as I work with the youth of Uganda. Grant me vision to see them as You do. Help me to be a vessel to show them Who You are and who they are because of Your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.
(I very much covet your prayers as I pray, plan and prepare for the coming second term and the months ahead. I have run dry of creative ideas and energy and really need God's leading and inspiration. Thanks so much!)