The past week has felt like a medical week - in and out of the doctor's office. Many of the kids and women needed help with medical care and were diagnosed with viruses, TB, typhoid, malaria, the flu, sickle cell disease, HIV, dehydration and ulcers. Those are the ones that I remember. Some "think" the witch doctor has cursed them and some have been afraid of getting shots because the witch doctor has convinced them that they will die. Food, medicine and education are the biggest needs consistently. Those that are being educated are reaping the benefits. One lady received a job because of graduating from the business class. One lady received a job in the Internet cafe because of her good English. English classes are amazing at HEAL! Some of the ladies are learning to speak English right along with our toddlers in preschool. The sewing class is thriving and the new bibles have made all the women happy! Many are not only learning to read, but also reading their bibles daily. Everyone is learning and everyone is happy about it. That is how we are wired. To learn and then to act on what we know.
One thing that we know for certain is that there is huge need for family restoration here in Uganda. Most of the families that we work with on a daily basis consist of abandoned women and children. Most of the stories start sounding the same. They all make as little as $60 a month. They all have multiple children, mostly not in good health. They all need school fees and food and medical help. They mostly do not have a husband that helps.
But today, God showed us another sign of hope. The guard came to me and said that someone needed to see me at the gate and that Harriet was with him. Harriet is the young mother that works with us and I met her through the Crisis Center over a year ago. I walked to the gate and met the father of the children that I have written so much about; Nakato and Babyire are the twins and Joshua is the little boy with sickle cell disease that has had two surgeries. I met the father. He was quite handsome and well dressed and wanted to have a discussion. I grabbed Juliana (our administrative manager/translator) and we all sat in the meeting room just talking and getting to know each other. Robert and Harriet used to be a couple. They have the three children and he decided to leave them when things got too difficult. He is a Muslim and has several wives. Robert told me through tears that he has seen Christ in Harriet. He has seen his children and how happy they are. He shared how his children are so healthy and happy and that he misses them. He expressed tearful love for the family that he longs to have. He misses Harriet.
God is moving in Uganda. Not only is HE working in the family unit but also HE is still in the business of reconciliation. Robert told me that he wants to be a Christian. We talked about what that means and he is coming back to discuss more. We are hooking him up with some awesome Ugandan mentors. We also talked about how God was going to use him to be the father he is supposed to be with these wonderful children that I call my grandchildren. I noticed Robert smiling as Trey walked in and the girls ran into his arms. I'm hopeful that their dad is running into the arms of Jesus.
Nakato grabbed my hand and led me over to her daddy. She wanted me to sit by him so I did. We smiled and talked and Nakato jumped from my lap to his lap laughing. Then she would run over to her mom laughing. We are all the same. We want to be a part of a family and we all want our family members to love each other.
I'm not sure what will happen from here but I am sure of the ONE at work! So many people ask me "what about the men?" And, today, my answer is this: God is working on the men. God is using the women and children here that are changing - that HE is changing and the men are noticing. This is HUGE. This is exciting! And this is forgiveness and reconciliation at work right here in Uganda.