Entertaining Angels Unawares

October 29, 2003

Hey Friend,

The child we were with yesterday is adorable–his parents are dead and he has been staying in an army barracks with Ugandan soldiers.  The man who took him in has been called up north to Gulu to fight the rebels there.  What that has meant is that Yoweri is being passed around like a football and maybe even taking care of himself.Visiting with Yoweri

When Carolyn and I picked him up to go for a blood screening, he was living at a “restaurant” with people who seemed not to care for him at all.  They must have hoped he would come to stay with us because they did have him dressed and clean so he would make a good impression.

This little boy has lost both parents to HIV and we are praying that his test is clear so he can come here.  We had an enjoyable morning with him,  I could tell that he had absorbed the male influence as he lived the soldier life. Beer sign (Small) As we drove through Kampala, he pointed out every beer billboard to us yelling excitedly, “Look, bee-ah”.  When he urinates he also knows how to aim and hit the target, hitting the center of the toilet rather than the wall and the seat or the floor is no problem for him! That is a skill we are hoping he will share with our other boys–after all it is a training center!  We will take the bad with the good!DSCN3942

We had a school conference at Heritage International school last week.  Casey’s teachers told us she is remarkably adjusted for someone who has been uprooted and brought to Africa.  Her Bible teacher says she regularly puts in prayer requests for the ministry here and that she sees herself as part of it.  She says that is rare–MKs are notorious for resenting being dragged into ministry by their parents.  It was good to hear.

BrighterMolly Carolyn and I are off to Sanyu this morning to set our eyes on a little girl named Molly.  We hope to bring her to Rafiki if her tests are all clear.  Finding adoptable girls is not easy–families will struggle to keep their girls since the future promises a bride price when she marries.  We got the 2004 Rafiki calendars yesterday and our kids are well represented. Samson Kisekka is on the front cover and others throughout.  It was fun to see.Molly1

Oh dear one, in your thoughts about wanting God’s mercy regarding giving–that subject stays in my living here.  You know God has mercifully protected us from taking pride in all that we have “given up”.  He brought us here and placed us in the midst of a people who stare in wide eyed wonderment at all the stuff we have.

I really saw this last week when Carolyn invited a very old woman to come and visit us in the village.  She is a neighbor who lives right outside the main gate.  I keep thinking how rich she would be if she could sell the loofas off her big tree to Bath & Body stores!  This JjaJa (Grandmother) has been very offended that we came and built right in the middle of “her” garden path and have not even allowed her in the gate to greet and visit.  She sat in Carolyn’s sparsely furnished living room looking around and said, “You have many things.  When someone comes to visit they would not have to fear there would be no space to sleep–your floor is very large!”

So to these having a large floor is a luxury much less a washer, cold box, radio, automobile, coffee maker, mattresses, and multiple changes of clothes.  It is very easy to see we have not given up much at all!   Carolyn served her a Coke and she broke out in a huge smile and said, “You have made me a party!”  She is probably in her late 60’s–a real JjaJa– she is somewhat of a character around here and her more upstanding neighbors make fun of her love of banana wine and resist associating with her.  I was glad we did not know it was scandalous to entertain her!  She reciprocated by sending two sugar canes to the children for them to chew on. DSC01433 (Small)

All I know my friend is the grace to give is like all the others–a gift — and I pray that more missions committees will begin to long for the gift rather than fear it.  I also know how huge the temptation to want more is when there is more around–I am not noble in not wanting a larger wardrobe here–I just am hemmed in because there is nothing to be tempted by!  My Ugandan sisters hold my heart in check by saying –“Another new dress JjaJa?”   I have worn the same dresses out of the suitcases we brought for these 3 months.  Now that our boxes have arrived and I have more options, I am ashamed of having so much!   DSC01469 (Small) Well, I need to get ready to take Chloe to the clinic for immunizations.  Carolyn is pressing to get little Yoweri here with us by the end of the week.  We both have been haunted by his face when we returned him to the restaurant.

His mercy —my hope today!  Oh, as we went over John 6 emphasizing that salvation is God’s initiating mercy–that no one comes unless the Father draws him.  Mama Jenipher said, “Es-chuse me JjaJa–there is something I have failed to ask.  I know that it is God who decides who will believe and who will not –but does that mean that it is not the unbeliever’s fault that they do not believe?”  Needless to say, we jumped off into Romans 1 and had a thrilling time marveling at the mystery of all that is revealed there.

Tis mercy all!

Tasting His Prepared Mercies

October 2, 2003

This morning I am lingering over coffee and the Word.  I have arranged this as a day off so the family and I will head into Kampala and see FlaviaWithWillKatoBibirye&Chloewhat we can accomplish today.  It has been a good week.  We have completed the screening, interviewing, orientation, and home visit on our 3rd housemother.  She will begin on Wednesday and we are hopeful that our 4 new children will come here to live on Oct. 6th.  Her name is Flavia (the same name as our new cook) and she is a widow who is supporting her older children who are in boarding school far from here.  I like her very much.

It is time for me to begin the “reporting” phase of my job so I have also spent this morning pouring over the background history of these 14 children so that I can write reports of progress that I have seen in them.  sanyuhomewebJane, each time I read these things a protective “How dare you do that to a helpless child?” response comes over me so strong.  I marvel at how many times in the past I have been able to turn away from suffering orphan pictures with no heart response at all — but He will not allow me to turn away from these.  A child thrown into a pit latrine and pulled out maggot covered, a child abandoned in a taxi park, twins left starving and alone in a house with their dead sibling lying nearby—it is by God’s grace that they were saved from death and so may He grant them to grow up and make a difference in other lives! 

Carosanyu_babies8.jpglyn has developed a relationship with the Administrator of Sanyu Babies Home in Kampala.  Our first children have come to Rafiki either from Sanyu or Nsambya Babies Home. Sanyu was begun in the 1920’s and ministers to about 70 children from infancy to 4 years old.  sanyu-laundry.jpg

After that age if they are not adopted they move to foster care or other orphanges.  Sanyu is affliated with the Church of Uganda but also receives help from philanthropic volunteers from Germany, Austria and the United States.  It is doing a great redemptive work in the midst of an inundating orphan crisis.  I will not soon forget walking into rooms with children lining the walls eating porridge in those tiny little chairs.  To scan the room saying a prayer, “Lord which one out of all of these do you want to come to Rafiki?” eating-at-sanyu.jpg

I finally went out and bought some cookbooks although there are not many available here. Why didn’t I pack a cookbook in my suitcase?  DSC02464Flavia can follow recipes and I was weary of writing them from my head day after day.  We worked together to make Chicken Paprika with Herb Dumplings last night and it was very good!  I am finally getting the hang of the way things taste here so that I can manipulate ingredients to get the flavors I am hungry for.

She is able to do African dishes from her own memory and they are flavorful instead of bland-she did my ironing yesterday and sweeps and keeps after the dust which is a constant chore–red dust blows in through open windows and covers everything in a days time. I asked Carolyn’s house help to come and teach her to clean because that girl is meticulous. 

Flavia learns very quickly so now our bathrooms are cleaner than I could keep them.  I am having to rearrange the kitchen until I buy a stool–she is about 4′ 9″ tall and I have every bowl and spice out of her reach!   She loves listening to Casey’s radio/cassette player while she works.  She listens to music but more often she listens to a Ugandan Pastor who has a radio ministry.

love you bunches,