- Written by Nelly Sanford Nelly Sanford
- Created: 22 June 2016 22 June 2016
Saint John’s had the privilege of hosting a children’s choir from Watoto Orphanage in Uganda in mid-June. If you missed the concert, we can pretty much promise your evening was less exciting than ours! The children sang and gave testimonials. One member said, “Our altar was rockin’!”—and that was true literally as well as spiritually! We gifted the choir with a door offering of approximately $1,500, many orphans received sponsors and we got some great Watoto souvenirs. The most special thing was probably the children themselves. Below are descriptions from some of the host families and their experiences.
Having the Watoto children as guests in my home was a real blessing. I will always treasure the memories. I found them to be filled with God's love and they show it by their sincere prayers, big hugs and smiles that melt your heart. I was very touched by their appreciation for what we did for them. They are so well-mannered and always willing to help. They left me with a picture of the choir. They put it near my family picture and said “'Now, you have more family.”
The evening meal prepared by our Saint John’s volunteers for the children was delicious. They made food that our Ugandan visitors would recognize from home. It was interesting to try different foods! Thanks to those who prepared it and to all who made this visit possible.
Doug and Annette
God truly blessed us when we opened our doors to these Watoto children. They were so beautiful and valiant, yet so unassuming and kind. As we sat with little Kayingo—who goes by Karen, and Sarah, or Angwech, at our table, they filled our home with fresh and loving air.
I asked them what they would like to be when they grow up. Sarah said quickly that she would like to be a nurse. Karen smiled thoughtfully, exclaiming her wish to be a doctor for children some day. We practiced the word “Pediatrician” for some time, laughing at each others’ voices. I asked, “Would you like to be a doctor and nurse here in the United States?” Softly Karen said to me with such love in her eyes, “I would like to be a doctor for the Watoto children.” I have faith that with our prayers and the Lord’s amazing grace they will find their dreams.
After a rich and enlightening prayer given by their kind matron, “Auntie” Kugonza Christine, we made our way to bed. As I turned out the lights, I could not help but remind myself of the many blessings that have enfolded our lives. The night we had these children join us will always be considered one of them!
Del and Jeannie
Helping with set up, meals and hosting a Watoto couple and two young boys was a great and rewarding experience for us. The couple were the choir director, Leticia, and her husband, sound technician Ivan, who started the Watoto choir ministry. They live in Kampala, fairly close to the beach of Lake Victoria.
The boys were six and ten years old. Sam is the six-year-old whose story is in the Watoto book. He was brought into the orphanage at an estimated eight months old and only seven pounds. The doctors didn’t expect him to live, but he is happy and healthy now. Both boys were very well behaved and mannerly. Ivan said they really discipline the kids so they represent themselves, Watoto and Uganda well. Del asked one thirteen-year-old girl why she hadn’t performed the night of the Saint John’s concert and she responded that it was because she “had made a poor choice.”
Del was impressed by the meticulous set up of the performance space: careful alignment of screens and monitors, even taping down electrical cords so they were not in the way of performers or visible by the audience. We feel this experience has to really change the life of these children. Most never had parents they knew, but now they get to travel the world. This experience has a positive impact on our lives, too!
Joel and Nelly
We loved our three boys, Jackson, Jovan and Enoch, and their Uncle David. They filled our home with laughter and joy. They loved watching videos we took of them on the iPad, never tiring of laughing at themselves. They refused to eat their ice cream until grace was said. The boys recognized the children at Watoto we have been sponsoring for a number of years. When asked what their favorite spot was that they had traveled to in America, the youngest said, “here.” David is interested in going to a bible college when he finishes working for Watoto. He said the most beautiful prayer and blessing over our home and family that you could possibly imagine.
Del and Jo
Our Watoto guests were Daniel (9), Douglas (7) and uncle Jimmy. Jo had prepared sugar free vanilla and chocolate pudding as a bedtime snack. The boys had never had pudding and ate a dish of each. Douglas mixed his vanilla and chocolate together. Daniel recited a bible verse for us before bed and we all had a bedtime blessing.
Daniel and Douglas saw a picture of our grandkids playing on the Wooly Mammoth at Fossil Creek park. That interested them and they wanted to see it. Jo said that we could go to the park in the morning before we took them back to church. They climbed on it and we took pictures of them. Daniel said to Jo, “is that from the ice age?”
Daniel gave us a picture postcard of the choir and wrote:
Thank you for having us hear
Thank you for the break frist
Thank you for the beds
My God bless you.
The Board of Human Needs finds opportunities for the members of Saint John’s to provide a Christian witness by helping people in the community struggling with daily necessities.