jOyFuL progress!

I blogged a few weeks ago about a mother of six that lived in a small hut in a village near Jinja. She had a son that was 10 named Shariffe and he was tending to everything because the abandoned mom was tending to two sick children. One child had malaria and the other one had pneumonia. We visited Fazirra again and took her some food and medicine. I was so happy to discover the children playing and looking healthy. I was also happy that Shariffe was not around because he was in school. It is so rewarding to meet a family and see them progress in many ways. Fazirra is attending a weekly Bible Study that I am involved with and gave praises for God's provisions. Fazirra's perspective is that she is blessed. Her children are getting better. She has food and she is getting healthy (she is HIV positive) and she is beginning to understand the joy in her heart. I am learning alot from her. We had a great talk about how much we have in common as single moms with various trials. Our only difference is our birthplace. Our biggest similarity is that we both need Jesus.

I am in another small group with some teenage pregnant girls that have been abandoned by family, their village and society. I talked with Lydia who is 15 with twins. She told me this week about the families in the village where she lived. When the twins were born, everyone thought they were cursed. The witch doctor wanted to take them to try and cast out the evil spirits but she did not allow it. Lydia said that many times, the witch doctors kill twins. There are some tribes that think they are blessings and have a huge party to celebrate their birth. Other tribes think that twins and triplets are curses. Unfortunately for Lydia, she was in the tribe that did not realize she gave birth to a double blessing. Lydia lives alone and takes care of her twins. She is learning responsibilities and each week I see more and more joy in her eyes.

I also blogged about a 14 year old girl a few weeks ago that we reported to the officials because she had been abandoned by her family and was taking care of her sister's baby. Maureen is the mother of the baby. They lived in the village of Nyenga but when I went there again this week, they were no longer there. I had hoped that this would end with a happy ending and I'm so thankful and joyful that it is. Maureen is attending the Bible studies (probably because she gets a bag of food) but she is hearing about the Lord. She is 18 and lives alone with the baby. Her 14 year old sister is in a boarding school. The baby has gained weight and looks very happy and healthy. It is so rewarding to blog about situations and then to be able to report such positive progress.

What all of these stories have shown me is that progress is happening because of intervention. Most of the hurting people need help. They don't know what to do or even how to begin to get to the next level. I have seen so many situations of intervention improve situations. They don't need hand outs. They need direction.

I'll be visiting a village next week and taking a little boy to visit his grandmother. This little boy's name is Richard. Richard's mother died and the father abandoned him. The grandmother wants to see him and I am prayerful that in the future she will take her grandson back. This is another example of an elderly woman that needed intervention.

Oddly, one of the most rewarding visits that I have had was today at the prison. I visited the prisoners that were on death row. There are women and men there separated by sex. Some of the women have babies that live there with them. I went with a missionary couple to purchase some beaded coin purses. The money goes to the inmate's families and helps them with needed items while incarcerated. It was a joyful atmosphere there today. They were in the courtyards with music, drums, dance and songs. A large amount of them have become christians. The prison allows the missionaries to visit weekly and give bible studies because they have noticed a drastic change in the attitudes of the inmates. This intervention added prisoners to the Kingdom!
I am looking forward to the board members arriving in just one week to see what all the Lord is leading us to. I am also excited about the teams coming this summer. They have so much to experience and it is a joy to see us all grow in Christ together. When the focus is on the needs of others, life is jOyFuL!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58: 10