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 interested in more than just your cooking Joy, don’t worry about posting other kinds of content. We’re with you regardless! My beautiful baby daughter died in 2010. I found through Compassion I can sponsor a girl who is the exact age she would be. That makes my heart feel good. Safe travels.

  2. What a beautifully written post! I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you sharing this experience. To be honest, at first a part of me was like, wait where are the cupcakes, but hearing about this type of experience is the kind of thing that sticks with me and I’ve definitely been thinking about your journey this week. (And that’s my own run-on sentence contribution. :)) Thank you.

  3. Proud of you for being bold in your faith. First time commenter but long time reader & listener. Emily freeman goes to my church. Don’t know her personally though. Uganda has been on my heart this year after reading kisses from Katie & stuff from Jen hatmaker. I believe it’s making the way I live change for the better. Way to step out in faith even if not all your readers agree/care. Your treasures are in heaven.

  4. Joy, I love to read about what you are cooking…but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when you began posting about your trip! Being transparent about my faith is something that has been difficult for me at times and I appreciate your honesty-it encourages me to stand firmly in my faith too. Thanks for sharing a little more about yourself!

  5. I have never done this…. Well, hello Joy. I’m a spanish girl, I live in Madrid and I have been reading your place for years… I admire your way of cooking, your writing, and above all, what you transmit when I read your words… I have never writen on a place like that, but I only wanted you to know something: I use to read your website about twice a week (or even more if I see the notification saying that you have posted something knew :) ) but since you said that you were going to Uganda, and the reasons why you were doing it, one of the first things that I do in the morning is to get into your website to see if you have writen something knew, or to see if you have posted new photographs, and I repeat it in the afternoon or at night, because I want to see more!!….And the whole speech is only to say to you: please, don’t stop talking about it!
    Your words are close to my heart…

    I’m sorry for my English…..

    Regards from Spain and (I’m sure but) enjoy your adventure!!!

  6. Joy,
    I have enjoyed and been challenged by these posts. I support a child through Food for the Hungry and these posts are inspiring me to connect by more than just sending funds. Thanks for the food and the thoughts

  7. This is truly a very small world. I read your blog on the reg and have made countless dishes and treats with your recipes. You had me at tomato cobbler oh-so-long ago and I’ve been a silent student of yours ever since. And today you have a link to Shaun Groves site! Crazypants. I grew up with Shaun and his wife Becky. So happy to see that you said yes to the Uganda trip and I’m very excited to read more posts like this! Most likely, while waiting for my next batch of bleu cheese biscuits to bake.

  8. It’s such an honor to know you, Joy. You have a heart of pure gold — and I’m sure your cupcakes are pretty good, too. I love when bloggers show the “other side” of themselves, the part that people don’t always see. I think it makes the exchange more conversational, more real.

  9. I come for the cooking but you almost have my convinced to sponsor a child. My children are adopted internationally and I loved how your fellow blogger sponsors a child in her children’s name when they turn 5. I always feel like the organization is taking all the money and none really goes to the children. You almost have me convinced this is a good organization….their site is down right now but I am looking because of your trip/posts.

  10. Life can’t always be just biscuits and gravy (or chocolate syrup, whichever) and this trip you’re taking, we (your readers) are taking it with you and I am so happy that you have chosen to share this experience. I’m not currently in a position to travel to Uganda, but someday. Your compassion and faith shines through your pictures and your writing and that is pretty darn cool, like bacon wrapped in bacon cool. Thank you.

  11. thank you for following the tugging in your heart and saying yes! i have the privilege of sponsoring a little girl named Kushi in India through Compassion. her birthday is coming up, so i’m very excited to see what she’ll get with her birthday money.
    thank you to opening up our eyes to these beauties in Uganda. xo

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