Not exactly my idea of fun, but necessary and very - very good!
- looking at the beehive that was donated for honey production
- visiting one of the grandmothers in the HIV+ program
- driving to Jinja with one of the YWAM leaders
- taking the public transport for a while
scaryadventurous ride on the back of a motorcycle - boda-boda, as they call them here (giving me a new appreciation for what our staff are doing all the time) I wasn't even asked if I was comfortable with this, it was just so normal for them and I was coming with them - very bumpy ride... oh my - thank you, Lord, for your protection!
- arrived at a small piece of land in a village where 30 women had gathered - waiting for the 3 of us to minister to them - hey, we were only one hour late...
After giving them some good news (according to Isaiah 61 - though this was not the passage I used) and praying for several, I started hearing some of their stories.
It was - once again - heart-breaking!
These women only started getting together weekly about a month ago. First there were very few, but now 30+.
So hungry for friendship, God, encouragement and a great response to the invitation of JESUS to start a new LIFE with HIM!!
But - oh - their stories...
Just a few examples - and I really couldn't make myself take ANY photos at all - it would've made me feel like I was just "using" them and it felt so not right.
Such beautiful, yet beat-up women!
Not sure about the exact percentage, but a good number of them are HIV+.
One HIV+ grandmother was sharing how she had numerous sicknesses in her body. I was later told that she is taking care of 2 orphaned grand-children, very poor.
Then a tall woman asked for prayer so that she could find a job or some way to make money.
She is a single (or widowed, not sure) mother with 7 children and no support.
She's got stomach ulcers, chest pain, fibroids and something else I forgot.
One young woman asked for prayer for her 5-month-old sick baby, who looked like a 1-month-old.
I forgot some of the others - my brain is shutting down...
A young woman with a beautiful smile stood out to me. She is in the last month of pregnancy, without ANY clothes or other necessities for the baby (I was told later). She has a partner but he doesn't care for her, the baby and their 5-year-old, who she is not able to send to school for lack of money.
Walking to my friend's home after the meeting (good work-out after sitting most of the day!), I found out more stories.
One 14-year-old gave birth last week. She also had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the baby.
My friend helped her out with her own limited finances and was able to get her a few things, including a mattress so she wouldn't have to sleep on the hard floor with her new-born...
There is so much pain and extreme need - and such an appreciation for a little love and encouragement.
It just broke my heart all over - and made the many hours of meetings in the last couple of days (and another one tomorrow) SO worth it!
Bringing help to these women isn't romantic in the least - it's dirty, dusty, tiring and sometimes plain hard work, but that's just fine with me. No romantic side to the cross either...
If we can just come alongside this beautiful ministry and bring some practical answers to the cries of these precious women, loved by God, so very valuable, it is worth it!
Many of them are opening their hearts to HEALER and RESTORER, COMFORTER and PROVIDER - BEAUTIFUL JESUS!!!
Last week, as they were being taught about forgiveness, many said, "How can we forgive?"
There is so much injustice and pain - and YET, the key to their freedom is forgiveness.
Anyways, after finally getting home (missed dinner at the base), showering off a load of red dirt and hand-washing the clothes of the day, it is time for bed now.
FOREVER GRATEFUL for the goodness, mercy and faithfulness of God!