Good Evening (my time)!
I’m sitting at my computer listening to Christmas music, wondering how the past five months have flown by so quickly! We only have 2 ½ more weeks in Uganda and I’ll be back to Texas in less than one month. As excited as I am to get back to see my friends and family, I’m soaking in every moment the Lord has led me to here in Uganda.
This past week was full of many “God, you are incredible!” moments and so much joy! On Tuesday, our team went to the local hospital to pray for the patients and families there. We split off into groups of three and four and visited different wards. My group got to hold and pray over the premature babies, and we were also able to visit with and pray for the mothers and babies in the post-delivery ward. The hospital would not be anywhere close to meeting health, safety and security codes in the US, but then again the US isn’t anywhere close to being a third-world country. Most of the women we met were young and had just delivered their first child. We prayed that God would encourage them in their roles as mothers and that they would seek His help, as most of the women mentioned they would be raising their baby on their own. We prayed for the babies, that God would continue to grow and strengthen their little bodies and that He would protect and shield them from any work of the enemy in their homes and communities. When we asked one woman what she would call her baby, she said he didn’t have a name and proceeded to ask me and my friend Courtney if we would name him. We know that a person’s name is special and meaningful and it was not something we wanted to take lightly. We told her we would be honored to name her baby, and that we knew God actually already knew what her baby’s name should be so we wanted to ask Him. There, at the foot of her bed, we asked God to tell us the boy’s name. After a couple of minutes of waiting and discussing, we were in agreement on a name. We felt like he should be called David. We explained to her that David was a brave and mighty warrior who trusted in and followed God’s ways. David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) and it was our prayer that her son would also be a man after God’s own heart. We don’t know if she actually named her baby David, but we were honored that she asked us and grateful that the Lord led us into that conversation.
On Thursday, half of our team went to the local prison and I went into town with my friend Jon to visit two guys that he led into a relationship with Jesus earlier in the week. We ended up talking with them, about their lives and more about who God is, for about two hours. When we got back to the base, we saw a group of children who had just filled their water jugs and were about to carry them back home. We asked if we could help and they looked at each other sheepishly and then whispered, “yes” with big, white smiles. We walked down the road and came to their small, mud and sticks home where we were greeted cheerfully by their older sister, mother and grandmother. They immediately grabbed two wooden stools and started cooking maize for us. They sat on the ground and as we talked, the oldest daughter, Olivia, translated for us. The mother of the family, Florence, said she was so happy when she saw us walking back with her kids. She said most people would just look at them and think “those are dirty kids” and keep on walking. We assured her that when we saw her kids we thought “those are some cute kids!” We visited them over the next three days and learned more of their story. Florence has seven children, two of which are her nieces. When her husband died, she was left with seven children and no land. Her brother-in-law has allowed her stay on his land until he needs it, but that time is quickly approaching. Florence’s father also passed away, leaving her mother, Christine, as a widow with no place to stay. Christine’s other children would not allow her to stay with them and Florence was the only one willing to take her in. One of Florence’s children, Simon Peter (10 yrs old), has sickle cell anemia and doctors have said they don’t expect him to live past the age of 26. Florence asked if we would pray for strength for her as she raises her children and cares for her mother. She’s also worried about where they will go when her brother-in-law comes back for his land and asked us to pray that she would be able to get land for their family. She said she knows that God will provide, He always does, but it’s hard at times. I’m reading a book (for the third time) called Kisses from Katie and Katie describes the people she has met in this city the same way I would describe Florence’s family when she says, “Materially speaking, the people who began to fill my life were the poorest I had ever met and yet they overflowed with the riches of the heart. They lived in houses of sticks or stones and mud; they slept on hard dirt floors. But they did not blame God for this or ask Him for more. They knew their circumstances were due to the brokenness of this world and they simply praised Jesus for keeping them alive through it all. They believed in His goodness. They lived with love and passion, caring for one another and for me and deeply appreciating the simplest gifts life had to offer: the happy giggles of children, the smile and warm greeting of a friend, the beauty that surrounded them, a chance to work when possible, a helping hand when needed most.” On Saturday night, three of the girls, Prossy, Peace and Jackie, wanted to dance for us. They ran into their house and tied potato sacks around their waists with straw. I watched their joy overflow as they sang, clapped, danced and giggled, and my eyes began to overflow with tears. It was a beautiful moment and one that I will always cherish. On Monday night, four of us brought dinner over to their home to eat with them. Dinner was part Ugandan and part American and it consisted of a food called Rolex, Coca-Cola and Oreos. We danced, sang, laughed and shared testimonies of the Lord’s goodness for over two hours. The time that I have gotten to spend laughing with and getting to know this family has been the best time of my DTS. Florence’s family says that we have blessed them, but I know that they have impacted and blessed our lives so much more!
Safe travel as we take a 9-hour bus ride to the village we’ll be visiting. We leave on 11/26 and are scheduled to return on 12/4.
Our team’s health: Two girls on our team got malaria last week. We’re praying that they would recover quickly and that the rest of the team would continue to be protected from it.
Florence’s family: Strength and joy throughout each day and for the provision of land.
Continued opportunities to share the truth and love of Jesus: The Lord has been faithful in leading us into conversations with people to share the truth about Him and we are simply praying for more of those divine appointments.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite pictures from last week.
#1: Courtney and I praying over the premature babies at the hospital
#2: Visiting with the two guys that Jon had the privilege of leading into relationships with Jesus
#3: Jackie, Peace, Prossy, Florence and Christine performing a song/dance for us
#4: Dinner with Florence’s family: (top left to right) Florence, Peace, Molly, Prossy, Peace, Me, Jackie, Courtney, Olivia, One of many chickens running around, Noah, Jon, Simon Peter and Christine
#5: Peace and me after dinner
#6: Prossy, Jackie and Peace dancing for us after dinner