This is a quick follow-up on James, the ten year old hearing impaired boy we delivered to the deaf school in Mbale, Uganda.

We have made several phone checks to see how he is doing. The first few were consistent. He is placed into the low primary group where they first teach sign language. He looks around at all the little kids, gets upset that he is sitting with them instead of kids his own age, and so gets up after 15 minutes and walks into the next higher class with kids his own age and plops down.

IMG_0386He stays in that class for a little while until he realizes that he can’t understand anything they are signing, and then he just gets up and goes outside. Our biggest problem with James was his habit of going wherever he wanted whenever he wanted, even in crowded downtown Mbale, and we spent a good deal of our time corralling this highly independent wild child. Now they are chasing him down and convincing him to return to classes several times a day.

James, as far as I know, has not spent a moment in a classroom in his life, so he has a huge adjustment to go through. Additionally, he hasn’t ever sat through a church service, probably since he was a tiny baby, if then. On one of our “where’s James adventures” on the island, we finally found him across the road from where we were, and he was jumping with the charismatics in a Catholic church service. He apparently could either hear the high pitched music, or some parts of it, or could feel the vibrations. When Alfred found him, he was enjoying the highly energetic style of this charismatic meeting and was dancing up a storm with the best of them. I think the Anglican approach he will find at this school will be a bit too tame for him.

Needless to say, we have been concerned about his adjustment. The head of the deaf department, a charming and capable teacher named Catherine, told us on the phone that he has made it abundantly clear that he wants to return to our care, even though we basically just drove him to Mbale and he was with us exclusively only a few nights.

Having said all this, we received a report from Catherine yesterday that he has now formed a bond to her, has eaten IMG_0415with her at her home several times, and has indicated that he wants to sleep there in her home, which she does not allow but rather escorts him back to the dormitory to sleep with the other children. Nevertheless, he is there at her to pray for his adjustment and urge you who are concerned for him to do so as well.

I have been going back and forth to my church planting seminars reflecting on the James project and all that has been accomplished in these last few weeks, from his rescue from obscurity on a distant island out in Lake Victoria, to our reunion, to the journey off Buvuma Island with him, to the shopping spree in Mbale for all his school supplies, to our hurried departure in the night from the school while the deaf children distracted him long enough for us to leave. I realized the other day that I have been involved in something epic here. And the adventure with James is only beginning…

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