Who is Testing Whom?

February 24, 2004

Girlfriend,

It sounds like DSC01991 (Small)God is up to much there — and yes I have tasted His faithfulness here today as well.  I needed to get Sponsor reports and Quarterly reports done on 6 of our children and so I spent the early morning at the computer putting those together. I actually enjoy writing them,  noting how the children progress over a 3 month time period.  I try to imagine a sponsor reading the report and work to craft it with words that communicate each child’s spirit and personality so that the sponsors feel a personal connection.

At 10:00, I took Teopista and Molly to SOS for Molly’s second immunization shot.  Immunization takes place in a thatched roof, concrete floored gazebo.  The serious and sullen nurses bring out a table and place it in the center of the floor.  They also bring coolers with syringes full of vaccine.  They hang this thing from the ceiling that looks like the canvas seat of a Johnny Jump-Up hooked to a vegetable scale.  Each Mom is supposed to put her child in that to read, remember and report the weight to the nurses when they are ready to begin the clinic.  The mothers and guardians are also responsible to put the vaccination records in a stack on the table as they arrive and then sit on a concrete wall waiting quietly until they are called by the nurses.  That stack order determines when you get called up.

Wisely, the head nurse begins the clinic by turning the stack over so that the first to be called was the first to arrive.  Each time I have been, I have noticed several mothers who come “late” (although I am learning that there is no such thing as “late” in Africa) and who slip their cards on the bottom of the stack.  You can’t believe how my heart battles in those moments!  My mind begins rehearsing, “That’s not fair, I was here first.  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 to rearrange the stack and put it in proper order.

In moments like these I do see more clearly what  a product of my culture I am!  We impatient Americans know the value and the fairness in lining up and waiting your turn!  Or at least we know the value in everyone else lining up and waiting their turn.  Well, that is not part of the value system in Uganda!  I am learning to appreciate the differences rather than yielding to the strong desire to do training seminars on cueing up. The saving thought I had was a little voice that seemed to say, “Lissa, I didn’t send you  to teach or transfer your cultural norms– I trusted you to go and spread the fragrance of Christ!”

SophieFull (Small)Today, something new did happen while we were at SOS. Sister Immaculate gave the young mothers a family planning talk — not in English but in Luganda.  I saw Teopista, who is a 45 year old widow, smiling and shaking her head.  I asked her what was going on and she said, “JjaJa, this talk is too late for me and for you too!”  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.  I knew she was up to something because her voice was animated and her faced glowed with joy and she kept saying, “Yeh-soo.”  On the ride home she said, “JjaJa, it has been a great day! I told those young women that they had heard how they could make their own plans about families but I told them that what they really needed to know was the One who has planned all things in the universe!  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.  It has been a full day, while the clock says 8:15 my body says, “missionary midnight!”   DSC01358 (Small)Today, Carolyn and I went to Sanyu to pick up Sophie and William so that we could get their blood tests in Kampala before traveling 45 minutes to Kakiri SOS to get physicals.   Sophie is severely malnourished and somewhere close to 2 years old but looks the size of a 1 year old.  William is an 11 month old who is an active charmer. I’m calling him “Budda Boy” since his distended stomach almost makes his little legs disappear.   He was abandoned with a series of head lacerations which might have come from ritualistic ceremonies done by a witch doctor or just from evil parental abuse.  DSC01383 (Small)The scars are fading and are less noticeable than when I saw him in November.   With the medical tests complete, we had to take them back to Sanyu and wait on results–I hate it when we have to return these children–it feels like betrayal of trust.  Back in the car, we headed to Nguru the government run babies home and picked up 3 1/2 year old Martin to bring him here to live. Our Sharon came from this orphanage too and it is a place that I wished could be emptied immediately.

Martin is a sweet little boy who has a lazy eye due to muscle damage from malaria.  Dr. Musoke thinks it will improve without assistance or treatment.   DSC01412 (Small) 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.  He wailed when we put him in the motorcar but then quieted down and just watched everything all the way to Rafiki.  Upon arrival, we introduced him to Mama Flavia and watched as he played with the children and ate a good supper.  His eyes look at his surroundings as if he cannot believe what he is seeing.  I will never tire of bringing children here and seeing them embrace the gift of being personally cared for. DSC01405 (Small)

If the test on Sophie is clear–and it may very well not be–we  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.  What joy is mine in helping women find jobs that allow them to support themselves and helping children have a promising future of nurture and guaranteed education.

How is the writing going for Luke 19?  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.  Teach it dear friend–God will have women who need the words you speak tomorrow right there to hear them.  Thanks again for visiting with me last night.  Your words helped me several times as I spent the whole day in the car being beaten by the roads.

Love to  you dear one,

lissa

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