I sat with the women who make the t-shirt rugs. They are a hard-working, lovely group. One woman, Sylvia, laughed when I told her she will be my mom in Uganda because that's my mother's name. Earlier, as we drove into town, my teammate and I talked about all the stressing out we did about packing and how it was meaningless...utterly meaningless. While we want to represent the ministry, our respective sending churches and Jesus well, the point is in the relationships. What is most meaningful is asking how to cut the fabric properly, or simply, " What is your name?" Hearing these women laugh amidst the joyful noise of crowing roosters and toddlers playing, it reminds me of my own church's worship. When the Holy Spirit is present, the music is prayed over and the instruments and voices are in unison along with the congregation, you know that the offering was fragrant and pleasing. It was the same dynamic today. Just a few short moments ago, I sat on mat cutting strips of cloth (terribly, I might add) listening to the women converse in a euphonious harmony of Luganda and laughter. I sensed that I belonged. It was important that I be accepted.
What have I learned through today's experience? That God is bigger than my control issues/fear of flying and failure. He is bigger than my disappointments and heartache. He is bigger than my anxiety and uncertainty. Yes, He is the mastermind and in the center of all that I deem chaotic, where He sees His perfect will coming to fruition.
And the James Place/HEAL Ministries is doing His will. The joy seen in the faces and lives of His servants is clearly from the Joy-Giver.
The James Place provides a safe place for empowering women and enriching the lives of their children. Business classes, pre-school and Bible study are the norm. Women learn the fundamentals of business, complete with a business plan to be put into practice. They are a group of women with such a determination to succeed and a deep sense of pride in the products and works of art they create. The children are received in a caring and stimulating environment where they learn their ABCs and numbers. Most importantly, they learn about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The worship and Bible study is a picture of heaven. It is a true sense of community, learning from each other as they sing and pray.
And that's what happens here in this amazing place: we learn from each other. Through each moment and relationship built, Bible verse learned and pre-school song sung; we are continually growing as a community of people who love one another.
Amber McNeil - Chicago, Illinois