Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There is one thing that was consistent at every place we visited while in Uganda...their greeting.  They were not satisfied with a simple hello or a nod...they wanted to make sure that each of us knew that we were welcome.  They would usually stop to shake our hands, look into our eyes, and say "You are welcome here".  Many of them even skipped the handshake and went straight for the hug.  And when they hug in Uganda...they really hug!
When we visited Royal Hope Academy the children even lined the road we were walking in on and sang a special song to welcome us to their school.
I am not sure I will ever forget the night we pulled up to Canaan's.  We were late getting there and it was already dark.  Even still the kiddos swarmed the van and were waiting with arms open to welcome us.  What I didn't expect was the adults...I knew that we were late and were causing the children to be up late and I also knew that if it were me I would have wanted to get this greeting thing over with so I could just get all of the kids in bed and actually have a few minutes to myself before bed.  This was not the case.  The adults were mixed in with the kiddos hugging and welcoming us with just as much enthusiasm.  It was mama Rebecca that touched my heart that night.  When we hugged she told me I was welcome there, I thanked her and apologized to her about being late...what she said next has stayed with me even weeks later.  She pulled me back looked into my eyes and said..."You are home here, you are never late at home."

Papa Isaac with Mama Rebecca

Those words have continued to roll around in head and have had me thinking...isn't that how it should be in our churches?  Shouldn't we be greeting others by saying "You are welcome here" or even better yet "You are HOME matter how messed up, no matter how alone you feel, no matter where you have are never too fill in the blank for home".

My sweet friend Jennifer shared with me that she had been working on this very thing with her kiddos.  They have been practicing with one another at home on how to greet people.  She reminded me that in Proverbs it says that a cheerful look brings joy to the heart and that pleasant words are like honeycomb sweet to the soul.

How often we forget that the simple things like a smile and pleasant words can brighten a life.  So we practiced this morning and we will continue to practice this skill that the people of Uganda have displayed for us so wonderfully.

You are welcome here...Oh, may the Lord remind us to share his love and grace with those around us and not to just keep moving through our busy lives.


eva said...

Thank you. I needed this today :)

Nana's Nuggets said...

Thank You Jenna for a simple message, that yet is so profound!! I LOVED THIS!