This past week, many of our babies were sick. Blessing and Mukisa have hardly been here at all. The one day when they were here, I was holding Mukisa when Godfrey came over and started talking to him. I put Mukisa into his arms and as I did, I told him that he was sick. Godfrey then said four words that were so simple but heartfelt that it took me by surprise and truly touched my heart. He simply said, "Lord, heal my friend." They were only four words, but to see him pray out loud for the little man in his arms was a truly beautiful sight. Please continue praying for Mukisa because we just found out the treatment for whatever he had didn't work and he had to be admitted to the hospital.
Then one day this week dear Faimah woke up from naptime with a 102 degree fever. We took her to Dr. Charles where they did a blood test and found out she has malaria. We were able to get her medicine and she is doing much better.
That same day we took little Shariff to the doctor as well. Shariff's breathing has sounded like Darth Vader from the day that I've gotten here and his nose has never stopped pouring mucus. We had a nurse visit our compound two weeks ago and she said it was most likely from an ear infection. We gave him amoxicillin but his breathing continued to be bad. So, to the doctor he went. The doctor is worried that his eardrum might have burst so he put an IV in his arm and for 5 days he has to go get treatment. We still haven't found out about his eardrum, so pray that it hasn't burst and he has gotten treatment in time to save it.
It's awful when any child is sick, but the beautiful thing about this is that HEAL completely covers the medical cost for all of our children. It's so easy to test for malaria and get the treatment for it (a mosquito net would actually help prevent many from getting malaria), yet so many children die in Africa from malaria every day because no one can afford to take them to a doctor (or buy a net to prevent them from getting it in the first place). The World Health Organization says that a child dies every minute in Africa from malaria. Read that sentence again. A child dies every minute from malaria. Your brain takes that in as words but almost doesn't allow you to comprehend what it means. Luckily, we were able to provide the medicine for Faimah and she will not be one of the children dying from it.
On a different note, one of our staff members asked me to pray with her to accept Christ this week. This woman reads her Bible every day, but she finally accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. This was the first time that I've ever led anyone in that prayer, and while I felt inadequate, it was such a tender moment and I was so happy to be a part of it. I was able to read her a bunch of Bible verses first, including Titus 3:3-8, which have a special place in my heart. While I often feel inadequate, God is teaching me that it's okay because He is with me. He has led me to this place and I have followed Him. I've asked Him to use me and it's clear that He is. My inadequacy helps point to God's all-sufficiency. I'm not the one accomplishing these things; it's Him accomplishing them through me.
"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:3-8
Then during our Wednesday trip to Masese for Bible study, a woman who I had never seen before came up to me and started talking to me (I couldn't understand her) and singing. Regina translated for me and said she was talking about how good the Lord is and how the song brings joy to her heart. She then sat down and told me some of her story and asked me to pray for her. She had 12 children but most of them were dead. She felt a lot of pain sometimes. She just happened to be visiting her daughter who lived there; God wanted out paths to cross that day. She explained that through the Lord she was strong. If it weren't for the Lord, she would be dead like most of her children. He is the one that sustains her. He is the one that gives her strength to go dig for work. He is the one who loves her and is helping her through this difficult life. She asked me to pray for her, and I was able to. I prayed and Regina translated as we held her hands.
That day in Masese was the strangest yet most real experience I've had in the village yet. There were women smoking pipes holding babies. And the spot we normally sit in to do the Bible study was taken up by men and women who were drinking hard alcohol at 3:30 in the afternoon. I was able to pray for them the entire time we were there and hoped they were listening to what was being said. We could definitely be heard. The sad thing is that's normal in the slums and the crime rate is really high there. This just happened to be the first time I've witnessed something like that while I've been there. It made me realize how much more proud I need to be of our women in our program because they're surrounded by things like that every day but choose to be better.
No ministry, organization, or business ever runs perfectly. There are always bumps that need to be smoothed and things that could be done better. But being here at The James Place with HEAL Ministries, I can see a difference being made in people's lives. I see children being loved. I see people accepting Christ. I see women choosing to work to keep their children and create a better life for their family, despite the circumstances that they face. I see people relying on Jesus. I see people loving one another. Simply put, love does here.
I'm currently reading Bob Goff's book, Love Does. He's an awesome man who lives an incredible life all for the glory of God. If you are in the Nashville area on December 2, I highly encourage you to attend HEAL's benefit dinner. Bob Goff will be speaking and I wish I could attend! Instead of attending, I will be here continuing to love on our kids, women, and staff. God bless!