The room is quiet as the video comes to an end, I turn my eyes to the stage where my youngest daughter stands, microphone in hand. I see her take a deep breath, close her eyes for a second and say “Thank you for coming to our 2nd annual orphan luncheon…”. Immediately I get goosebumps, and my eyes well up with tears.
You would think after 2 years, multiple events, and many speaking engagements I would be used to seeing her up on the stage sharing her story. But I’m not. To me she is still my baby, my little girl. But the young woman I see on stage has grown in confidence, she is walking on the path that God has laid out for her, boldly stepping forward in faith, knowing that He is right by her side.
Two years have passed since she sent the infamous email. We have traveled to Uganda twice since then. She has raised almost $20,000 since then. She has received awards, proclamations, and recognition since then. There have been newspaper articles, magazine articles and keynote speeches since then. She has grown, and blossomed into a strong, confident young woman since then.
I watch her “work the room” talking with people, shaking hands and introducing herself. Where is that young girl who was always glued to my side? I close my eyes and smile. In my mind I see her walking the red dirt roads of Uganda, remembering the way she seems at home in a country thousands of miles away. My heart soars as children run up to her fighting to hold her hand, touch her, be near her. I watch as she runs and plays with the children, always a baby on her hip or on her back. I see her sitting in the village, or in the Acholi Quarter, talking to women, hearing their stories, soaking in their memories. I see her more at home in the slums of a third world country then I see her in her own neighborhood.
People ask us all the time, “doesn’t it bother you that she wants to move to Uganda when she’s 18?” My answer is simple, “No, because I know that is exactly where God created her to be”. There is not a doubt in my mind that God has his loving arms wrapped around Mallory, I know He smiles and looks down on her with pride, I know without a doubt that one day she will hear the words we all hope to hear, “well done my good and faithful servant”.
Mallory is an ordinary teenager in every way, she loves to be with her friends, giggles and swoons over One Direction. She hates to clean her room, and can come up with every excuse under the sun when asked to. She loves to stay up late, and sleep in late in the morning. Math is her least favorite subject, and she spends countless hours watching YouTube videos.
What she doesn’t do is complain about going to school each day, because she has learned from her friends in Uganda that it is a privilege to go to school and receive an education. She sees her children in Uganda wearing worn and tattered clothes so she thinks twice about wanting the latest fashions. She has sat in their modest homes void of the luxuries that we take for granted here so she knows the difference between need and want. She has seen the effects of starvation so she thinks twice when her tummy growls because its almost meal time.
Mallory loves fiercely and hurts deeply. She is honest and proud. She looks out for her friends, and reaches out to the kid in her classroom that others seem to ignore. Mallory chastises us when we say a bad word, or talk negatively about someone.
I can see His light shining through her. Her faith makes my faith stronger, her confidence in what God is doing in her and through her strengthens me. That is what it is like living with a world changer, because she is not only changing the lives of children halfway around the world, she is changing everyone she comes in contact with each and every day starting with me.