My sister Myquillyn and I shared a room until I was in fourth grade. We nailed stuffed animals to the wall next to the bed we shared and giggled when we were supposed to be sleeping until Mom would fuss at as from the living room to quiet down.

sisters on a planeWe grew up with cats having kittens in the shed, a tire swing in the backyard, and grandparents living right around the corner. Mom brought out the white tablecloth for birthdays and our friends  lived right next door. We basically played outside all summer until Mom called us in for dinner.

But then, at the end of fourth grade, our family moved from that little white house on Gladstone Avenue in Indiana to a little yellow house on Greenway Drive in Iowa – six hours away.

Leaving the place we had always known for a place we knew nothing about was scary in the fourth grade. But one thing made it less scary – knowing my sister would be there, too.

Not a lot has changed in twenty-five years.

kampala, uganda

When Shaun asked if we would be willing to travel again with Compassion, he sent one email, addressed to the pair of us because he is a smart man and knows two sisters are better than one. It took us a few weeks to decide for sure, not because we doubt Compassion, but because we doubt air travel and things of that nature.

In the end (or the beginning depending on how you want to look at it) saying yes was a lot easier knowing she would be there with me.

When you are uncertain, it helps to have someone remind you what is true – someone who knows you well, who sees you, and keeps track of you – not just your body but your soul.

My sister does this for me in life and she does it for me on this trip. And today I realized it’s the same thing Compassion does for children.

Today Wess told us that Compassion commits that every child will be three things: known, loved, and protected. 

Sounds a lot like having a sister.

Compassion Bloggers Uganda 2014 - Day FourI was feeling weary this morning when we arrived in Katwe, a slum neighborhood here in Kampala. Myquillyn, Wess, and I were heading back to the home we visited yesterday, the one where the joyful mother gave us chickens.

As we made our way up the hill where Joseph and his mother Rose lived, I remembered the words from the t-shirt I had on, a phrase from a song called BloomYou bring beauty to the darkest places.

I wanted it to be true today.

Yesterday when we first met her, Rose was embarrassed that she wasn’t dressed more for the occasion of our visit. She kept putting her hands on her head, smoothing out her skirt, motioning behind her to the one room she shares with her son Joseph as if she wanted to change her clothes. We weren’t able to stay long then, assuring her she need not change and we would be back tomorrow.

Today, she was ready and she dared not utter any such apology for her appearance. Because this:

Compassion Bloggers Uganda 2014 - Day Four

Compassion Bloggers Uganda 2014 - Day Four

roseAnd there it was, the beauty in today’s dark place.

We sat down with Rose and heard her story through a translator, learning she has a life-threatening illness and has worked hard to secure Joseph’s future. Rose knows, loves, and wants to protect her son. I can’t think of a better partner for her than Compassion, an organization who makes it their goal to ensure every child is known, loved, and protected.

But here’s the twist: though she is sick, Rose is not despondent. She is determined, faithful, and prepared. She trusts God, has a heart of deep gratitude, and a dignity that I don’t understand but fully experienced in her presence.

Her hope was timid, but it was there. Because Joseph has a sponsor through Compassion, Rose doesn’t have to face her uncertainty alone.

When you are uncertain, it helps to have someone remind you what is true – someone who knows you well, who sees you, and keeps track of you – not just your body but your soul.

My sister does this for me. Compassion does this for Joseph and Rose. And you can do this for a child today.

Beauty already exists in the darkness. Do you want to be part of it? Here’s some beauties to choose from.

Since Myquillyn and I visited the same home today, she’s sharing Rose and Joseph in her own Nester way. Visit Nesting Place to read and see more about sisters, family, and what makes a home.

More From Uganda

A Message From 13 Year Old Pastor Amon for You by Shaun Groves

The One Thing I’d Tell My Mom by Joy the Baker

Letting Go of the Right Dream by Brianne McKoy

The Worst Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making by Jeff Goins

And you can read all the posts from Uganda on the Compassion Blogger page.