Friday began with such excitement. Our final day of teaching and being just women together. Saturday is our last time in Jinja, but the men will join us for a time together to wrap up the week and I think probably leave these precious believers with a challenge to keep growing and to now go out and share what they have learned. Leaving them in the hands of their BIG God will make it easier but I am sure very emotional at least for the American women.
As I prepared for this trip, I was responsible for 5 lessons but only felt like God gave me 4. Unlike my usual type A-ish personality, I did not force the last and what a blessing that has turned out to be.
Unknown to us, this conference was scheduled on a week when the children did not have school. There were so many in the back the first day with no one to entertain them, that Cristin and Shannon have taken them out for the morning session Tues-Thurs and taught them Jesus loves me and another, that slips my mind.
Just before that Cristin Harrell got up to share with them that children are a gift from the Lord, a blessing and a joy. She shared honestly that some times she wants to pull their hair out with them, but that she recognizes her God given responsibility to love them as Christ would, and teach them. So just before lunch about 40 children paraded in, stood on the dirt floor before their mothers and grandmothers etc and sang to them. What a great moment it was. I am praying that mothers will really take the message she gave to heart. Caning is the way they are disciplined and it is harsh by our standards. The older women in the church poke and push and swat at the children to quiet them or send them away. The children don't seem upset by it, but in our small group discussion I did get the question "if we don't want to discipline the way our mothers and grandmothers did, what can we do?" This is such an example of these women and their open hearts to the teaching, the biblical standards and taking the lessons very literally.
Each day we have taken more and more people on the bus with us to and from the village. So everyday I have an opportunity to meet someone new and hear their story. Thursday’s ride home, I got to sit and meet Loid, a girl who is 13. She has a mother and father who are both Christians and 3 younger brothers. I wish I could tell you all the details, but briefly she has a brother Aaron who is 5. Aaron pretends to be a preacher and then says after he preaches, “Sister, it is now praise and worship” One night a witch doctor came into their home and began choking the mother. Aaron heard it came into the room and said “Witch doctor, I’m going to get my bible, I am going to tell my Jesus, You go!” and the Witch doctor left. A few days later, the Witch doctor came and did the same thing to his father. Again Aaron heard and came in the room and told him “Witch doctor, you go again! I’m going to get my bible, I am going to tell my Jesus, You Go!” and again this 5 year old sent the Witch doctor away. Now when the witch doctor sees Aaron in the village, he runs away. Amen and Hallelujah! How awesome is that. And I’m not asking a question here…That is an amazing display of God’s anointing.
And then there is Olivia. A 13 year old girl, who is an orphan. Here an orphan means that both parents are dead. Her's died 3 and 4 years ago. She lives with her grandmother and her younger brother. She caught my eye early in the week and has stayed within my view all week. In the same clothes each day, so she is easy to spot. She sat through each session taking notes and as I scan the room when others are speaking, I have caught her time after time staring at me. The first few days she would drop her head shyly, but after a few smiles and secret winks, she now beams. Yesterday, there was a time when several women had asked if they could come up and sing, not to us, but they just want to praise Jesus publically. Olivia came up and began singing in English "Soon, yes very soon, we are going to see the king" Every verse.."No more crying then, we are going to see the king..." I jumped up like a proud mother, took my video camera and sat on the floor in front like against a post, as she sang with such power andconviction, yet so humbly and I was a mess. "No more crying there..." Jesus help my breaking heart. It is so difficult to give anything to anyone, because they are all in need and such jealousy can occur. But oh my heart. I had a small spiral note pad I brought for note taking and wrote her a note in the back on the inside cardboard cover. Slipped it to her all the while guaging her size with my suitcase...if only.
My next few days will be a journey to visit Ruth, my Compassion child...here's the mapI'm travelling from the Eastern most Advil to the Southern most Advil on Sunday, Monday morning to the pain reliever just north of that, thm to the two toned capsule on Tuesday...look you gotta go with what you've got when your in Uganda, (or CSULA)...gotta run...leaving for our last morning in the village...love you all so. Pray for Olivia...she is a precious amazing young girl.