Sometimes there are occasions when I travel to the capitol city, Kampala, and return back to the mission house in one day. It’s a very long journey, usually about a 12 or 13 hour trip. On those days I try to take some of my friends along with me as it makes the journey much more fun. Especially when I get to take those who have never been outside of Busia and never traveled to the capitol city. Such was the case on Sunday as we escorted our new Helping Hands Missionary, Pastor Loren Hildebrant back to airport for his return flight to the states.

This trip Eriya and James went with us.

Eriya and James…loving their new cowboy hats!

I love watching as those who get to come along see the big city for the first time…shop for something new for themselves (never dreamed they would chose cowboy hats…but they loved them)…make their first visit into a grocery store….and eat their first slice of pizza.

Eriya’s first bite of pizza ever!

But what I love most of all is the conversation we have during those long riding hours.

James and Eriya are 18 years old and have been orphans for a very long time. They were both first born in their families which is a big responsibility. The first born takes the responsibility of the younger siblings when the parents die. Both James and Eriya have younger brothers and sisters who live in other places because they can’t take care of them, but they have not forgotten them or their role as these others children’s caregivers.

As I asked them about their siblings, both of them replied that their goal is to get their education so they can earn a living and build a house where they can be reunited. Both of these young men have tender hearts and love their younger brothers and sisters. They miss being together.

The conversation eventually turned towards their parents. They told me they love to tell stories about their parents that make them laugh. So I am listening intently as the stories are being shared, and all of sudden James gets quiet and the deepest look of sadness takes over. He said, you know what I don’t like to think about….I don’t like to think about that our parents didn’t know God before they died.

I had no words of wisdom or comfort…I sat in total silence as my mind was trying to comprehend what these boys live with every day…that their parents died and went to hell and they will never see them again. They can get their education, reunite their siblings and try to ensure no one else goes to hell, but they will never be reunited with their parents.

As the days have past since James and Eriya shared their hearts with me, I find myself thinking about those in my own family and my friends who are playing games with their eternity. They know the truth…they’ve heard it over and over again…yet they continue to turn their backs on the very One who created them and gave them life. If the Lord should come back today…they will not go with us…we will be forever separated. Please pray for those in my family and my friends that need to get their lives in order and prepared for eternity….

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa