Uganda Child

While we were in Uganda, we had the privilege of ministering in a church at a worship gathering. Tim shared his personal testimony, as did Debra. (Tim has a gift for speaking - there's some preaching in his future. Shhhhhhh - Don't tell him that I'm giving him up.) Debra's testimony is moving in any setting and the Ugandan congregation responded powerfully to her story of God's faithful grace. Amanda shared a song. And I was able to speak from God's word.

We loved their abandon to worship. They danced and sang to God with devotion. We loved the traditional lunch we were served after the gathering. We loved the songs and dances shared with us after lunch by the orphans. (Lunch was meat cooked in broth, rice, matooki (a banana relative), shaved cabbage with dressing, and pineapple.) And what fun we had spending time with the kids at the end of our stay, just dancing and lavishing affection on them.

The orphanage houses as many as 200 children. The school is also open to day students and there is a total of 800 students at the school.

When we were just about to leave for our Ugandan home in Masaka, our missionary - Scott called me over to meet a young girl who I could see was standing on crutches and leaning against an external wall of the church building. As I got closer through the crowd of children, I noticed that her right leg had been completely severed above the knee.

Scott began to tell me the story of this orphan, that she had lost her leg in a terrible Boda Boda accident (remember, a Boda Boda is a motorcycle taxi). In fact she could easily have lost her life in that accident. In close proximity she also lost her surviving parent to HIV disease. She is now a member of the most vulnerable group of children in the world: invalid orphans in a developing nation. Scott went on to explain that he was in a tight spot where she was concerned, since she is technically too old to enter the orphan program through normal means. He expressed that without a sponsor committed to her up front, he would have a tough time getting her accepted into the program for any more than temporary shelter. To sponsor her will cost about $43/month.

I boldly said that I would make sure that she had a sponsor and am waiting for the paperwork to be sent to epic on her behalf. I cannot remember her name. I have been praying that God would remind me of her name but I haven't yet remembered. I can't wait for the paperwork to come so that I can pray for her by name.

This case is just one in which the missionaries of World Outreach Ministry Fellowship go above and beyond to make sure that cases that might likely fall through the cracks of most programs are followed through on. We saw time and time again how the personal contact with missionaries instead of impersonal contact with some faceless program resulted in life and soul saving follow-through. It is so much more than a program. It is more than even a ministry. It is a calling. And the commitment of our missionaries to people instead of statistics is phenomenal.

Missions works much better than secular social action. It works better because people responding to God are more motivated that people pursuing a goal.

Pray for this child. Pray for out missionaries. Pray for your mission either right where you are, or wherever God might want to send you.


"By the Hand of God"

While in Uganda, we met and ministered with a man named Justice. To get right to the point, I'll shorten the story significantly.

Justice is in training to become a Dr. He is employed by the mission and his education is being paid for by an American sponsor so that his services can be directed specifically toward the medical wing of the ministry in Uganda. Because we were a part of 3 1-day HIV/medical clinics during our time there, we got to know Justice fairly well.

In one discussion with Justice, one of our team members asked him, "Justice, how did you get out of the poverty of your village and break that cycle?" Justice took a deep breath, and knowing some of his story from the missionaries, I was expecting him to describe how he came to work with the missionaries as a cook, how he met his wife, how he was inspired by the missionaries to pray about medicine, and on and on as any American Christian would do to answer that question.

O was to be left hanging in that expectation. Justice exhaled and said with profound humility, "it was by the hand of God." And he was done. He didn't say anything else. No elaboration. No explanation. No story. No background. That was it.

Now if your experiences in life are anything like mine, you have had some Christian somewhere give you an answer somewhat like that with supercilious pronouncements of faith. To which I always respond with an internal rolling of my eyes. (I do this on the inside so that no one will see how spiritually immature I am.) I do this because I know that this person has just decided to brag about their spirituality to cover up their pride in the physical accomplishment they are describing.

With Justice there was none of that. It was obvious to all of us in the conversation that he genuinely had no other explanation of the events that had led him to the situation he was in than that it had to be the hand of God.

Well, if I can be so humble as to remove my own pride in earthly accomplishment, I might actually see the hand of God more. And if I see the hand of God more, I might actually be humble enough to actually give God that kind of credit without either using the word supercilious or by being supercilious.

By the hand of God!

haughtily disdainful, as a person or a facial expression.

Another Uganda Story

Well, I've been back for several days now and have been meaning to post a few stories here ever since my return. I'm sorry I haven't gotten to it until now. Jet lag + 24-hour flu = slow blogging.

We were able to see the final installation of the well that so many of you helped to pay for. On the day we were there, the installers put in the pump mechanism after testing the depth and volume of the well. (There will be a strong supply of water for a long, long time.)

This location is just outside of the main settlement of the village of Makoomi. As part of our ministry here on this day, we also provided an HIV and health clinic. We were also guided to the current source of water for the village. We went for a 10 minute walk, further away from the village and found a capped off artisian spring with a cistern. While we were there the water was flowing steadily.

There were 2 boys filling their jerry cans with water for their home. They stepped into the murky cistern and let the water from the pipe flow into their cans. (I should say the little one did, while the older one looked on.) We followed the boys part way back to their house and carried their filled cans for them (right on Rico and Jordan). It was on this journey that our missionary revealed the full benefit of this well installation to me.

We were there at the beginning of the dry season. The pastor of the church at Makoomi shared that as the dry season goes on, the spring will get continually less productive. Eventually the water will trickle out of the pipe and a couple of things will happen. 1 can will take up to 30 minutes to fill. The villagers will line up to fill their cans. In their society, the older people will get preference over the younger and so children sent by their parents may spend several hours waiting to fill water for their home. Many children and adults alike will give up on this process and journey down to the marsh to fill their cans with swamp water (another 15 minute walk beyond the point of the spring). It is during this time that many families go without necessary water. They use less and less to drink, reserving their precious water for food preparation. dehydration leads to illness and further complications.

It is from this spring that the school operated at the church receives its water. And with just the spring to supply water to the village, church, and school, one ministry vision for the area had been put on hold. An orphanage: Homes of Hope.

This village is near a handful of other villages and the school and orphanage here would rescue many children from death, illness, and a hopeless future. Not only has the provision of a constant clean water source on the campus of this ministry provided a village of a few thousand with reliable drinking water and better health, it has opened the door for the orphan home to be built, rescuing children from death, neglect, and abuse.

In Uganda, water changes things. I think Jesus knew that when He talked about himself as living water. Jesus changes things... Well, He mostly changes people.

Thanks to so many of you who are the missionaries who provided this well through prayer, financial support, encouragement, help, and in 1000 other ways. God did it through you. And His name is honored.

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