I sit thinking about the past few weeks and truly am humbled in all that the Lord has taught me through HEAL Ministries. It is simply amazing to see His footprints everywhere that I turn here in this beautiful country of Uganda. The things that have happened here are not because of me. That is because it is not about me and it is not about a ministry getting recognition. It is about God the Father who sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to rescue all of us.
Here are a few stories of how HE has worked here. We have English classes with two very educated wonderful Ugandan teachers. They show up every week and patiently teach the ladies. The ladies are mostly young teenage girls with small babies. Some of the moms have been raped. Some of the moms have been forced into prostitution. Some of the moms just made a bad choice. But all of the moms have been pursued by God to come to HEAL. They teach me weekly about persistence. They teach me about dedication and not giving up. These moms could easily put their babies in an orphanage here but after working with them for the past year and working with the Crisis Pregnancy Center, they have decided to do the right thing. They have decided to keep their babies. I have watched them all fall in love with their babies and give up education to stay home with them. Now, God has provided a way for them to learn English, to continue their education while bonding with their babies. The babies come to the James Place for childcare so that the moms can go to class, work and/or go back to school. God used something as simple as childcare to bring hope to these wonderful women.
Winnie, Vivian and Joyce are sisters. They are 7, 9 and 12. Their mom is a prostitute that abandoned them and fled to Sudan. They do not know who their dad is. They live with their JaJa but she does not want them. They live in horrible conditions. God used a missionary friend to put them in school. They walk about 8 miles to attend the kids club on Saturdays and we send them back home on a boda (motorcycle taxi). I asked them if they needed anything and they asked me if they could have 1000 shillings to get a hair cut. That equals about forty cents. Without a hair cut they cannot attend school. We sent them home with their shillings and a bag of food and I thought about them throughout the day. They are survivors. They do not ask for much and they are ready to serve and learn. They were helping the shamba (yard guy) pick up debris. After kids club they started putting up toys and picking up trash. They assisted the 275 kids by serving water to all of them. They are learning what it means to be a woman of God and that circumstances do not determine who you become. They are very bright, artistic and joyful. Excitement does not begin to explain them when I get out the crayons! They are full of life, appreciation for small things and they remind me of the life that God calls us to. To rise above our circumstances and depend on Him for everything.
About 125 ladies show up every Friday for Bible Study at the James Place. We have been working hard to interview them and get them into their small groups. This past Friday, each lady had to share something in their life that has blessed them and that they have learned through Bible Study. Several ladies talked about how they learned in Bible Study that it is important to love each other and to take care of the orphans. Because of that, several women have taken children in to live with them. I teared up and thought about the family model homes that are so needed here in Uganda. A place where little girls like Winnie, Vivian and Joyce could be loved and receive simple things like food and haircuts. And, here, my friends that I have grown to love in Bible Study have come up with their own family homes. I love them and I love what they continue to teach me about caring for each other.