We’ve driven these long village dirt roads hundreds of times to get to the Sozo land, but this drive was different. The roads seemed less bumpy, the distance felt shorter—maybe it was just the anticipation to finally arrive at “home.” So much excitement filled my heart as we entered the property gates. Getting out of the van and walking towards our newly finished homes was surreal. This was the moment for which we dreamed, prayed and prepared for many years.
In the Bible, the number eight represents “new beginnings.” After eight years of renting homes to provide a place of nurture and safe shelter for the precious ones entrusted to our care, March 30th, 2019 marked a day of new beginnings for Sozo Children—the day we made our move to our new homes. Our eight new family style homes we own sit on 28 beautiful acres of lush Ugandan land. How sovereign that God would allow us to enter into our eight new homes at the end of Sozo’s eighth year, a milestone made possible by God’s faithfulness through friends like you who graciously support our mission!
The property was quiet that day—the builders and loud machines were gone. A feeling of peace blanketed the property, and I knew the quiet would soon give way to shouts of excitement as the children would enter their new homes for the first time. Anticipation grew as the vans filled with our children drove up. I watched as they ran into their new homes with joy-filled shouts, beaming with pride as they saw their new rooms, their beds meticulously made—ready to welcome them home.
Winnie, one of our primary-aged girls, jumped to embrace everyone in excitement—a moment I will never forget. If you’ve met Winnie, you know her enthusiasm is contagious! She was overcome with emotion to know this new place to call home was so beautifully built and decorated with her in mind.
Going from 20 children and several moms to eight children with one mom in a home allows for more intimate conversations, fellowship, and shared meals as a family. At first glance, a day on the land may look similar to life in the rental homes with chores and a daily routine. They start the day with morning devotion in each home with their mom. Daily chores and cooking are done together in the afternoons, and some may walk to Kid’s Club to spend time serving and sharing Christ in the local village. In the evenings, each quad gathers for a time of prayer and devotion in their Amaka (Lugandan word for “home”), the house situated in the middle of the quad where the dad lives.
There is something inspiring and humbling as I sense God’s presence covering our 28 acres of land. Today, there is a closeness our children were not able to experience before living together on the land as a Sozo family. Our children are now living in community with plenty of space to run and play together, to grow their own food, and to dream of what is yet to come. If you visit Sozo in Uganda today, you are likely to see children playing games at God’s House—our worship pavilion. Some will be sitting around the kitchen table studying, and others will be racing to fetch water from the well—the one they deemed the best water, where they can drink freely without fear of contamination. Above all, the atmosphere is one of laughter and joy, where these young ones once vulnerable and often overlooked by a broken world, are being restored day by day through the love of Christ.
Most rewarding of all is to see and hear how God is using the children of Sozo to help transform the community around them as they serve in Kid’s Club or visit with families in the village. I’ve made it my declaration for the past year, and it is even painted on a mural on an exterior wall at Sozo Trading Co. in Birmingham, “What You Do Matters.” Friend, my prayer as you read this letter and see these photos is that you will know the impact your support of Sozo Children is making to fulfill our vision of All Children Thriving, All Communities Transformed. With your continued friendship, we enter this new beginning living in our new homes on the Sozo land, grateful for what God has done and expectant of all He is yet to do!