Africa was never on Amanda’s radar. She loved Latino culture and always thought she would end up in Mexico. All of that changed the day that she heard a former child soldier speak. She was captivated by him and thought his smile lit up the whole room. She wondered how he could have, not only survived, but be so forgiving, warm, and genuine. She realized that is was because of the people that stepped in for him and loved him enough to help him heal.
Soon after, her research on child soldiers led her to the LRA and Uganda. Something about Uganda stuck and even though she had a full time job as a high school Spanish teacher, she began looking for jobs or volunteer opportunities in Northern Uganda. Nothing seemed to be working and she was beginning to doubt her calling to Uganda, until a university student came to her classroom to talk about her study abroad experiences.
By no coincidence, the student had spent a semester in Uganda. It was that day that Amanda’s fate was sealed. She began making plans to visit Uganda for a month in the fall of 2010. As she was planning her trip and seeking God’s will in her life, her teaching career was slowly unraveling. During a really difficult year, she realized that she didn’t want to teach forever but thought she would teach for one more year, before returning to school to complete a PhD program. As doors opened, and quickly closed for her to transfer schools and then accept a new position, Amanda realized that God was pushing her to take a leap of faith and just go.
She quit her job teaching and moved to Uganda the fall of 2010. She didn’t know what to expect, or if she was going to like it, but she knew that was where she was supposed to be. Working with former child soldiers was still very much on her heart, but the connections she was hoping to make once in the country were never made. Returning to the US in one year for school was also the plan, but God clearly had other plans for her. She found this incredible group of boys that called the streets home that quickly consumed her time and made her fall helplessly in love.
During her time with the boys, she realized a huge need that wasn’t being addressed. The oldest boys on the street were constantly being overlooked when someone was willing to help. It was in the relationships that were being formed, over much time and patience, that Amanda knew she couldn’t leave the boys she loved so much to a life on the streets.
LOT2545 was registered as a 501c3 in the fall of 2011 and life began loving the Least Of These in Uganda.
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