February 24, 2004
It sounds like God is up toÂ much thereÂ — and yes I have tasted His faithfulness here today as well.Â I needed to get Sponsor reports and Quarterly reports done on 6 of our children and soÂ I spent the early morning at the computer putting those together. I actually enjoyÂ writing them, Â noting how the children progress overÂ a 3 month time period.Â I try to imagine a sponsor reading the report and work to craft it with wordsÂ that communicate each child’sÂ spirit and personality so that the sponsors feelÂ a personal connection.
At 10:00, I took Teopista and Molly to SOS for Molly’s second immunization shot.Â Immunization takes place in a thatchedÂ roof, concrete floored gazebo.Â The serious and sullen nurses bring out a tableÂ and place it in the center of the floor.Â They also bringÂ coolers with syringes full ofÂ vaccine.Â They hang this thing from the ceiling that looks like the canvas seat of a Johnny Jump-Up hookedÂ to a vegetable scale.Â Each Mom is supposed to put her child in thatÂ to read, remember and report the weight toÂ the nurses when they are ready to begin the clinic.Â The mothers and guardians are also responsible to put the vaccination records in a stack on the tableÂ as they arrive and then sit on a concrete wall waiting quietly until they are called by the nurses.Â That stack order determines when you get called up.
Wisely, the head nurse begins the clinic by turningÂ the stack over so that the first to be called was the first to arrive.Â Each time I have been, I have noticedÂ several mothers who come “late”Â (although I am learning thatÂ there isÂ no such thing as “late” in Africa)Â and who slip their cardsÂ on the bottom of the stack.Â You can’t believe how my heart battles in those moments!Â My mind begins rehearsing, “That’s not fair, I was here first.Â Followed by self cesoring thoughts like, “Hey you are missionary you are not supposed to be whining like a baby!” Anyway, I fight the temptation toÂ rearrange the stack and put it in proper order.
In moments like these I do see more clearly what Â a product of my culture I am!Â We impatient AmericansÂ know the value and the fairness inÂ lining up and waiting your turn!Â Or at least we know the value in everyone else lining up and waiting their turn.Â Well, that is not part of the value systemÂ in Uganda!Â I am learning to appreciate the differences rather than yielding to theÂ strong desireÂ to do training seminars on cueing up.Â The saving thought I had was a little voice that seemed to say, “Lissa, I didn’t send youÂ to teach or transferÂ your cultural norms– I trusted you to go and spread the fragrance of Christ!”
Today, something new did happen while we were at SOS. Sister Immaculate gave the young mothersÂ a family planning talk — not in English but in Luganda.Â I saw Teopista, who is a 45 year old widow, smiling and shaking her head. Â I asked her what was going on and she said, “JjaJa, this talk is too late for me and for you too!”Â She listened politely, but when Sister finished talking, Teopista took off with rapid fire, passionate Luganda, waving her finger and looking each mother in the eye.Â I knew she was up to something because her voice was animated andÂ her faced glowed with joyÂ and she kept saying, “Yeh-soo.”Â On the ride home she said, “JjaJa, it has been a great day! I told those young women that they had heardÂ how they could make their own plans about families but I told themÂ that what they really needed to know wasÂ the OneÂ who has planned all things in the universe!Â I told them they needed to meet and trust the plan of Jesus.”
I, didn’t get this e-mail finished yesterday so I am just continuing on.Â Â It has been a full day, while the clock says 8:15 my body says, “missionary midnight!”Â Â Â Today, Carolyn and I went to Sanyu to pick up Sophie and WilliamÂ so that we could get their blood tests in Kampala before traveling 45 minutes to Kakiri SOS to get physicals.Â Â Sophie is severely malnourished and somewhere close to 2 years old but looks the size of a 1 year old.Â William is an 11 month old who is an active charmer.Â I’m calling him “Budda Boy” since his distended stomach almost makes his little legs disappear.Â Â Â He was abandoned with a series of head lacerations which might haveÂ come from ritualisticÂ ceremonies done by a witch doctor or just from evil parental abuse.Â The scars are fading and are less noticeable than when I saw him in November.Â Â With the medical tests complete, we had to take them back toÂ Sanyu and wait on results–I hate it when we have to return these children–it feels like betrayal of trust.Â Back in the car, weÂ headed to Nguru the governmentÂ run babies home and picked up 3 1/2 year old Martin to bring him here to live.Â Our Sharon came from this orphanage too and it is a place that I wished could be emptied immediately.
Martin is a sweet little boyÂ who has a lazy eye due to muscleÂ damage from malaria.Â Dr. Musoke thinks it will improveÂ without assistance or treatment.Â Â Martin had never worn shoes, never ridden in a motor car and had spent all his days behind an iron fence in buildings that make you cry, playing on a concrete porch day after day.Â He wailed when we put him in the motorcar but then quieted down and just watched everything all the way to Rafiki.Â Upon arrival, we introduced him to Mama Flavia and watched as he played with the children and ate a good supper.Â His eyes look at his surroundings as if he cannot believe what he is seeing.Â I will never tire of bringing children here and seeing them embrace the gift of being personally cared for.Â
If the test on Sophie is clear–and it may very well not be–weÂ will bring her here Wednesday and place her with big hearted Jenipher making her cottage have 7 children. William will be the only child of our new mama Robinah.Â What joy is mine in helping women find jobs that allow them to support themselves and helping children have a promising future of nurture andÂ guaranteed education.
How is the writing going for Luke 19?Â I wanted you to know that as I close my evening I am thinking and praying for the day that is still ahead of you.Â Teach it dear friend–God will have women who need the words you speak tomorrow right there to hear them.Â Thanks again for visiting with me last night.Â Your words helped me several times as I spent the whole day in the car being beaten by the roads.
Love toÂ you dear one,