Every month The Shepherd Center budgets for an outreach to the boys who are still on the streets in Kable town, but we are unable to enroll in our program.
This year we decided not to hold an outreach in November, and instead saved our money in order to provide a special Christmas gathering in December.
After passing out a few bananas, our staff shared a Christmas message with the 24 boys who showed up for the event.
Then the boys enjoyed a soccer game together.
After the game, we shared a big meal together. Eating meat is one of the big components of what is considered as a good Christmas here in Uganda. So we made sure that these boys enjoyed plates piled high, including meat.
Another common aspect of Christmas in Uganda is receiving new clothes. So, with the money we saved up, we were able to purchase each of these boys a t-shirt and pair of jeans from our second-hand markets. They were so happy to receive them. When they tried on their new clothes, many of them looked like new boys.
If you thought these boys were happy to receive some new clothes, you should have seen the reactions when we added a bar of soap to use for washing clothes and bathing. Some were literally jumping up and down after receiving this gift!
During our time together, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the shepherds in the Christmas story. In that time and culture, shepherds were not too different from these street boys. They were often overlooked or even despised by the general population. They were poor. Many were probably young. Surely they were often dirty and smelly. The angels found them out with their fields at night, meaning they slept outside, not in a nice and safe home. The similarities are many.
People that society often sees as unworthy, God chose to be the first so see the Messiah. And He used them to spread the word that indeed He had come to earth, just as He promised.
As I watched these boys listen to the Christmas message, and enjoy a nice meal, I was reminded of the reason we had brought them together. May God work in their hearts and lives, revealing Himself to them, just as He did to those shepherds so many years ago.
We always try to include some of the boys who are enrolled in TSC to participate in the outreaches. They take on various responsibilities: registering the participants, serving food, assisting in games, share testimonies, etc. It is good for our boys to remember where they come from and how far God has brought them. We always pray that seeing their former companions in their current state, will give our boys motivation to stay committed and take advantage of the opportunities TSC provides for them. One boy we brought along this time had been on the other side of these outreaches just a few months ago. We took him off the streets in September, and now you could not imagine that he was ever a part of that group.
This time I brought my children along to help as well. They often see me interact with the street boys in town, because they come to talk to me when we are shopping and things. But they hadn’t attended an outreach with me because they are usually at school when we host them. On our way home, we discussed what they observed. My boys quickly mentioned how the street boys were well behaved and very appreciative of everything we did for them that day. It is true that the more we interact with this group of boys, the more and more these observations are indeed true.
Thanks so much to everyone who contributes to and prays for TSC, making it possible for us to be involved in this ministry!
Merry Christmas from the Streets of Kabale to your home!