Mary Meets Fiona and Sarah in Uganda

“I often looked at the pictures of Fiona and Sarah, hanging in my office; I’d smile and throw up a prayer for them. I would pray for them every morning, for all of SGU. I would share about them when people would inquire- “Someday I’m going to meet them!” I would exclaim with great certainty. I just never imagined it would be this soon. But in God’s timing, all plans may be accelerated.

As a public health nurse, school nurse for many years, program manager of school health for the 10th largest school district in the nation- I was equipped! Yet, as I soon discovered, I was not prepared!

Not prepared for the sea of children singing, waving tree branches as they welcomed us. This was Palm Sunday. A navy blue sea of smiling faces completely enveloped us, embracing us with their arms, their joy and their unabashed, unconditional love. God’s presence was palpable. And it took my breath away.

Not prepared for how blessed I was, how fulfilled I felt, to love and to be loved by all the people at Saving Grace. An advanced degree was not needed for giving hugs and kisses, playing, reading books, coloring, dancing (well, my attempt at dancing) talking and laughing, oh the laughter!

Not prepared for how hard everyone- children and adult alike- works, yet works with great joy and satisfaction, no matter what the task- washing clothes, sweeping, drawing water from the well, teaching, preaching- all done to His glory.

Not prepared for such display of great faith, great love for the Lord, despite the immense struggles these children have endured. Truly, to observe the praise and worship that takes place during fellowship each night, you realize you are on holy ground. The Holy Spirit fills the atmosphere. And it is overwhelming.

Not prepared for meeting Fiona and Sarah for the first time. A dream realized. The hugs, the smiles, the tears, the sharing, the companionship – what a gift. I have a new picture hanging in my office, one of Fiona, Sarah, and me; all of us smiling, arm in arm, in joy and unabashed, unconditional love.

I’m already collecting supplies for next year. I’m in. All in.”
Mary Blehl