When my family and I made the decision to go to Uganda on a “mission’s exploration” trip we had a limited idea of what we were letting ourselves in for. For instance, we knew we were in for a looooong flight, some food we weren’t used to and being conscious of the needs of our fellow travellers.

  • We did not know that, despite sponsoring children for many years as a family, we would realise how vital and life-changing child sponsorship is.
  • We didn’t know that we would now want to visit our own sponsor children in three different countries! (Just waiting for the plans for THAT trip to unfold!)
  • We didn’t know that we would continue to think and pray about the children we met for months afterward.
  • We didn’t know that we would develop a HUGE respect and sense of admiration for the people who love and serve these children.
  • We didn’t know that when we returned home to New Zealand we would feel compelled to tell others about the phenomenal work that is being carried out daily on the other side of the world by Compassion.


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When we visited Uganda we had the opportunity to visit a Tearfund/Compassion project in Nsambya. Three of the families we travelled with had the opportunity to meet their sponsor children. Up until the moment they actually laid eyes on each other, I had no idea how moving this moment would be. It brought me to tears. Both in that moment, and even now, as I’m writing this. Our friends met the children they were sponsoring as well as their families and it was such a tear-jerking event. Those families were grateful, gracious, generous (they brought us gifts!) and simply happy to meet the people who cared enough to help make their lives a little better. It made the somewhat clinical monthly donation so real and so worthwhile. Our friends loved meeting the kids whose picture hangs on their fridge, who they pray for regularly, who write them letters and tell them what they enjoy about school. It was a family reunion that I’m so glad I got to be part of.

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The people who worked at the Compassion project we visited really love those children, their families and their community. That was so obvious from the way they held their hands, cradled them in their laps, sang songs with them, danced with them, cared for their mothers, provided them with delicious and healthy food and planned fun and enriching activities. Although they get paid, what I saw was people fulfilling a calling, rather than coming to work. They put their heart into these families and touch lives daily. It was inspiring.

The children themselves were filled with joy. We were kind of surprised by this. After all, they live in poverty, compared to how we live in New Zealand. However, they were friendly, smiling, wanting to play with us, and eager to join in to the games, songs and story-telling we’d planned. It wasn’t (as my cynical self wondered) because they were expecting gifts from us. They weren’t. Most of them didn’t have much experience with visitors coming to see the Compassion project, so they didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what may be coming their way. They were just happy, friendly kids, like you’d want your own kids to be. I’m sure this is because the Compassion staff lavished love on them, so they were in turn able to share and show love to others. They felt love from the people surrounding them and were told of the great love Jesus has for them and it was apparent from their demeanour that these were well-adjusted kids.

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There is so much more I could say. I could talk about the fun we had doing aerobics and dancing, or about how some of us had kids literally hanging off of us so we couldn’t move at all, or about how they invited us to play ball games with them, or tried to learn the games we thought would be fun, or about how kids fell asleep in our laps or about the gratitude the mothers had. My words will never be able to do our experience justice. Visiting the Compassion project in Nsambya was a defining moment for each member of my family, we’re so grateful we had the opportunity.


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