Wednesday, September 07, 2011

It is time ...

Really ... it’s time to go?!

I have asked myself that question over and over the last few days, as I have panicked thinking I still have so many libraries in which I would like to return and spend time. In fact, just a couple of days ago at 4:30 in the morning, I convinced myself that I just couldn’t leave now. The airline ticket would have to be changed! About 5:30, I remembered all the work that is being done - and needs done - in Austin in preparation for the next shipment. Funds need raised, and books must be collected and prepared. I am so thankful for the group that has continued working on books in my absence. Bless them big time.

What an astonishing summer! Libraries of Love has completed four new beautiful, well-stocked libraries. We are now serving over 30,000 students in 24 schools, thanks to our wonderful donors, volunteers, and supporters. The librarian and head teacher (principal) meetings were an amazing time of bonding. Plus, an unbelievable amount of learning/teaching took place. Total successes! Walking onto campuses and seeing children in classes, and sitting around the grounds reading books, has been a joy. Those kids may never realize the immense amount of time and effort required to provide those books, but they do understand that they have books because people in America love them.

Thanks to our previous ‘travel’ volunteers, 3 students are in college, two university students just graduated, hundreds of students are receiving free school lunches, 120 children received new shoes this summer, and many, many students have had school fees paid. These are just tokens of the many different way our volunteers have changed lives in Uganda.

A mixture of happiness and sadness is settling in now that I have started packing to leave. It will be great to spend time with my friends in Lithuania - AND, I am anxious to see my family and friends at home. It is sad, of course, to be leaving my friends in Uganda, and our work here. I will miss the six children that I have spent time with this summer, my home church, and the wonderful people who have made me part of their families: Wilber and Sarah Okumu in Mbale, and Noah and Jane Semugoma in Kampala. They have opened their homes to me for extended amounts of time. May God bless them for their kindness to this muzungu.

Please know that Libraries of Love is truly changing thousands of lives one book at a time, on a daily basis. Just as important, it is ‘more than just books.’ Love is being shared and long-term relationships are being established.

Thank you for sharing my journey. As always, each day I am thankful for God’s call to this beautiful country and these wonderful people. I will send one last email after I return home on the 21st. Love and best wishes are sent to you from my other home.


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