This Place We Share


Kampala, Uganda

I think about you a lot.

I think about what you might want to see on your breakfast table… maybe something with cinnamon and oats.

I think about your best friend’s birthday, and what kind of cake you might make her.

I think about how you’re nervous to make a pie crust, and I want to show you how to do it so you can make my dad’s Sweet Potato Pie.

I think about you a lot because you come here looking for sweet and delicious, colorful and fun, and I want to make that for you.  It’s a honor to do that.  We have a deal:  I make biscuits and then you make biscuits.

Then Shaun Groves wrote, inviting me on Compassion’s blogger trip to Uganda.  I’d visit children, families, and church centers every day and learn about how Compassion really works, then I’d blog about it from Uganda everyday for five days.

The answer was easy:  No.

I told myself that I was thinking of you when I declined Shaun’s offer.  I told myself that you only wanted to see cupcakes and cocktails and the occasional picture of my cat.  I told myself that on this little piece of the Internet you wouldn’t want to hear about my faith, about children in poverty, about how you can totally help because I totally help and it feels really rewarding and it’s really important. I didn’t think this was the place for that, though it is, strangely, the place for run-on sentences.

Kampala, Uganda

A year passed.  Shaun came knocking again.  Again I wanted to say no, but my heart wavered because my heart knew.  I knew that I wanted to tell you about how much I love getting letters from one of my sponsor daughters, Stella in Kenya.  I knew that I wanted to tell you that I sent Stella a gift of money for her birthday and every bit of the humble $20 I sent her went straight from Compassion to her.  She bought a dress and six hens and wrote to thank me.  A dress and six hens!! Stella is twelve.  When I was twelve I probably wanted a Caboodles Makeup Case filled with glitter.

So I said yes to Shaun and his trip to Uganda.  I said yes for both of us because we’re in this together.

I recognize that this week on Joy the Baker might be weird for you.  I totally get that.  I thought about you might feel alienated, guilty, downright annoyed.  Listen… that’s ok. I understand that place.

I didn’t want to talk about it.  I didn’t want to talk about the good that Compassion does to cultivate the mind, body, and spirit of each of their children here. But knowing what that really looks like, knowing how Stella thrives, and  how Gloria‘s family rejoices…. now I won’t stop talking about it.

Today we visited the Katwe Slum in the capital city of Kampala.  It’s the toughest places my eyes have ever seen.  Despite the circumstance, these lovely people marched us into their slum and up to their church with a full band praising.  Imagine the best thing ever.  Yes, it was.

Tomorrow I want to tell you about Hajara. Her poise and confidence will change the game.

Kampala Uganda

You can say no at first, too.  I understand that.  I just need you to know about these special humans and the difference you can make in their lives through Compassion.   Just let it rattle around in your heart a bit.  Maybe make some biscuits. When you’re ready (and maybe you’re ready right now) little Reagan and Julius are ready for you.

More from Uganda from Chatting at the SkyThe NesterJeff Goins, and Shaun Groves.

Compassion provided me a link to share with you.  I am in no way compensated for your sponsorship or donation.  I love you and I’m glad you’re here with me on this journey.  

142 thoughts on “This Place We Share

  1. I am so happy you are blogging about your faith and your trip to Uganda. I dream of doing what you’re doing now and I hope to one day be as brave as you are and take the leap.
    I come to this space for more than biscuits so keep it up, Joy!

  2. It’s so sweet of you to worry, but ‘alienated, guilty, downright annoyed’ is definitely NOT how I feel while reading this week. More like ‘teary, loving, inspired.’ (Six hens and a dress!) I’m a longtime lurker round these parts, but today I absolutely want you to know what a bonkers awesome thing you’re doing here, and how crazy great it is that you’re lending your voice to such an important organization. Well done, you! xo

  3. Cats and biscuits aside, I’m so proud of you, Joy for pursuing your JOY in sharing others stories and celebrating them through photos that make my eyes tear up and giving of yourself and your blog so that their faces and stories could be known. Thanks for taking the risk and saying yes. Thanks for letting your life be changed and inviting us on the journey in a small way with you.

  4. I have never visited your blog before this trip. I came because I love Compassion, love these trips and the stories they tell. I am even more personally invested in this trip because of my love for Uganda and the fact that I had to decline coming along with you.

    I never really thought about what your regular readers might be thinking about all of these posts.

    I do hope their hearts are stirred, I hope they realize that a small financial sacrifice and some time each month to write letters can do live changing things for a family an ocean away.

    I am praying that your readers have hearts that are opened by what you have shared. Thank you for saying yes and for giving us a glimpse into what you are experiencing!

  5. It’s so funny that you should post this right now. I was actually pondering exactly this earlier today, “I wonder what her readers think of these posts? I hope doesn’t alienate anyone…” But I’ve just realized that (um, duh) I AM one of your readers, and I have SO enjoyed hearing about your experiences in Uganda. I’m so glad you said yes to Shaun. And that you’re sharing your thoughts with us in a voice that only Joy the Baker has. Fist bump.

  6. I’ve travelled around Uganda, more as a tourist (gorilla trekking, hiking, white water rafting etc) and without looking for it, seen just some of what you’re seeing. You bring a voice to something that needs it. Thank-you

  7. Thank you for sharing this Joy, it makes me love your blog even more. Please do share more of this amazing adventure/experience with us, I want to know all about it!

  8. I am so happy for you and Iove where your heart is and your faith. I am praying about being a sponsor for compassion. God bless you.

  9. Joy, thank you for sharing these experiences with us. I love you because you are quirky, relatable and honest. I read every post of yours and they always bring a smile to my face. These last few have brought tears. Good tears! You’ve reminded me of things I shouldn’t forget and give me the courage to help others. I didn’t know how great of a writer you are until this week. My husband I will be praying about sponsoring a child. If nothing else we’ll do a one time donation. Thank you!

  10. first you fill my head with wonderful ideas to feed my family. then you fill my belly with delicious ideas that have come to life. now you’ve filled my heart with compassion and the dedication to selflessness. thank you for sharing

    1. We must be compassionate in this often-cruel world. We have nations of haves and have nots and many don’t seem to have any concern for anyone but themselves throughout the world. Thanks for showing us the other side of the world.

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