Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the laws of Christ.
During my first month in Jinja, another intern and I were invited to visit Masese, a slum in East Jinja where many of the women in the James Place Programs live. As we enjoyed some amazing brown rice and beans with a friend named Betty, a woman from the pottery department, a neighbor said a quick hello as she walked home from church with her grandson. They exchanged a few quick words in Luganda as Betty gave her friend a plate of food to take home. We were blown away by her small but generous act of kindness. Even though she didn't have much, Betty shared what she had without question or complaint.
In the past six months, I've seen the staff at the James Place care for each other constantly in big and small ways. I've seen them offer a hand with cleaning, feed each other's kids, take care of friends who are sick, and spur each other on to be better mothers, friends, and workers. I've been blown away by the kids and their overwhelming love for their siblings, friends, and caretakers. I have been the recipient of so much care and generosity from people who, from a material point of view, have little to offer. I have learned what it means to "bear one another's burdens".
I am so grateful for the James Place because it provides jobs and income for women, it helps vulnerable families stay together by providing low cost childcare, and ministers to local children (among many other things). However, I believe one of the most important things the James Place provides is space. Space for true community where people love each other so much they bear each other's burdens. Space where Jesus can step in and make his power and glory known.
My prayer for this place is that Jesus continues to be ever present in the relationships between staff, interns, women and children. I pray not only that their physical needs be met but that everyone who walks through our gates would see a glimpse of God's compassion and kindness. I pray that we interns and supporters may know how gracious God is to let us be a part of his redemptive work in this world.