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Monday, March 29, 2010

God, the Great Healer

(The pictures above...a beautiful, disabled girl in Karamoja; Grace, a 4 year old orphan with AIDs and open sores; and Kato, a 13 year old orphan with a severe leg deformity....we are working on providing surgery for him).
The pictures in this blog are only a handful of the many with whom we are involved.....
A person could easily become overwhelmed by the needs of the precious women and children in Uganda.  Hunger, clothing, shelter, clean water.......and medical needs.  Those alone can be an emotional weight around your heart.  We see so many children with AIDS, children with serious malnutrition, deformities, malaria......and the list goes on.  The same is true of the women, and often they are left to raise their children on their own, while struggling with medical issues......many have lost their husbands to diseases, many of the medically needy children are orphans.
This is one of the things that drives us to keep on keeping on when we feel emotionally spent, when we feel physically drained......when we wonder where the next dollar will come from when we are providing medicine, or emergency medical care, or needed surgery, or even ongoing help to those whom God has placed before us.  One thing I know.....these are God's children. He loves them.  He cares for them and will provide what they need......that means He will also provide what we need as we minister to them.  It is such a privilege to know these children, these women.  It is such an honor to be involved in their lives as we seek to be instruments of God's love in their lives.  Please pray for these beautiful children of God....please pray for us as we seek to minister to their many needs, their sometimes overwhelming needs......there are no needs too big for God!
The hands of Rose....a beautiful lady around 50 years old who has a quickly progressing, degenerative form of arthritis....she has gone from fully active, to nearly bed ridden in 3 years.
                                                                          Beautiful Rose 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Join Uganda in praying for Mercy Uganda

 This is Alex and Irene, and their little boy Alpha....dear friends to Mercy Uganda
 People wonder what draws me so deeply to Uganda......there are many things, but I must say that one of the most profound things is the faith of the Christians there.  A few weeks ago, before my January trip to Uganda, I felt discouraged and even shared with others that I felt I only had a half of a grain of mustard seed of faith......I too easily forget just Who is in charge.  I too easily forget that God owns the "cattle on a thousand hills".  I too easily forget that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell in it".   Our dear Ugandan friends, who have so little and experience so much pain, suffering, and loss, seem to remember those important things so much better.  They see God's work in Mercy Uganda in ways that I cannot grasp.  They see what God is, and will be doing through this ministry......sometimes I can't see past the little bank account we have.  Mercy Uganda is honored to have such dear friends who are committed to praying for us.  Please read our ministry liaison's information below.  I pray that it will encourage you to join them in praying for us.  We need your prayers!
 A beautiful group of children from the church that Alex and Irene attend.....our prayer warriors!
the information below is from Lauren, our ministry liaison for Mercy Uganda, who is currently living in Uganda...
Our dear Ugandan friends, Alex and Irene, along with members of their church have committed to praying for Mercy Uganda.....we need those prayers, and covet yours as well.....we want to honor and serve God through Mercy Uganda.....

Tonight Alex and Irene brought some people from their church over to my apartment to have a prayer meeting for Mercy Uganda.These really are some prayer warriors--there's so much faith behind their prayers. Some of the specific things we have been praying about are the following:

* That God will show our ministry the needs He wants us to meet
* Wisdom in who we as an organization trust and associate with (there is a lot of corruption here)
* That God will provide land for Mercy Uganda to start a guest house and other projects
(the guest house is a project we are seeking God's will will provide an income for the Mercy Uganda which will be used to minister to those whom we serve there.  Mark and Laura are prayerfully considering if this will be how and where God wants them to live)
We're going to be meeting at my apartment every Friday afternoon to pray for Mercy Uganda. You can join us if you like. It starts at 5pm Uganda time, 9 am Central time ;-).
Please pray for us........

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Child Sacrifice and a Sovereign God

You may have seen the news in the past few weeks about increasing child sacrifice in Uganda.  It's hard for us in America to imagine a place where witch doctors sacrifice small children, but they do and we need to bring them to light.

Our sponsored child, Frank, was abducted by witch he is...

You can read all about him here.

Frank was taken by witch doctors while walking to his grandfather's house.  Many times I have tried to imagine the terror of one of my children not showing up at their destination and having no idea where they were or what had happened.  I can't imagine what must have been going on in Frank's mind and the terror he must have felt knowing what these vile people had in store for him.

Now witch doctors choose children because they are pure and perfect.  Upon examining Frank, they discovered a scar on his stomach from surgery he had as a young child.  He was rejected and probably ran all the way home to a very relieved father!  

What the witch doctors considered an imperfection was in fact our sovereign God's way of saving his life.  It was no coincidence that Frank had that scar!  God has a plan and purpose for Frank's life and witch doctors can't stand in the way of God's plan!

Please pray for the children of Uganda.  Pray for their parents as they keep closer watch on their precious children and live in fear of them being abducted and killed.

And please, pray for the witch doctors, that they may come to know the One who made the only perfect sacrifice. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Give Up On Children

Sometimes it is easy to turn our heads when we see a child in need.....when we see a child who needs more help than we, perhaps want to offer.  When I first saw Lawrence, he was a little boy with a crossed eye, naked, and very dirty.  I rode past him every day, not thinking about what is really going on in his little life.  Then one day, as I rode comfortably passed Lawrence, the Lord spoke to me.  It wasn't an audible voice, but I knew He was getting my attention.  I was suddenly drawn deeper into this little boy.  I really saw him for the first time that day.  I became burdened to know more, not because I am such a caring person, but because God cares, because God loves Lawrence He wanted me to love him too.  
Most of you know that over the past year we have been working with doctors to find out about Lawrence, to learn what his needs are, physically, emotionally, mentally.  Test after test was done on little Lawrence and they all came back saying that there was nothing neurologically wrong with him that would prevent him from eventually, with the help of therapists, to learn to eat and talk.
We also found out that his eye could be corrected with surgery.  What good news! What a blessing!
The day in February of this year that I left Uganda to come back to the U.S., our ministry liaison in medical and health, my dear friend Henry Mello travelled 6 hours to Mbarara with Lawrence and his grandmother for Lawrence to have eye surgery.  We were thrilled that this was going to become a reality for Lawrence.  He was taking a step forward in his journey for health.  
The other day I found out from Henry that the eye doctor did not do the surgery because Lawrence
is "mentally retarded".  Now, this doctor had never met Lawrence before, and did not know any of Lawrence's history.  How easy it was to label him as mentally retarded and then not provide the needed surgery.  This made me sad and angry.  First of all, who said that Lawrence is mentally retarded?  He is a 5 year old boy who had a fever from malaria at age 1 that left him unable to eat or talk, and then had a grandmother who lacks the knowledge or resources to find help for him from the start.  He had 4 years of no therapy, no teaching, no medical assistance, no one to help him or his grandmother get help.  That does not make a child mentally retarded.  And even if he were mentally retarded, does that make him less deserving of something in his life that will improve it?  God did not place Lawrence before us for him to be labeled, given up on, and then forgotten.  God loves Lawrence and has a wonderful plan for his life.  He is already responding to therapy, our ministry liaison is working on providing nutritious foods for Lawrence as well.  
Lawrence is a beautiful, precious child of God.  I will never give up on him.  I am convinced that God brought him before us to help him.  That is what we will do.  I serve a God of miracles, a God who loves His children.  Who knows.....Lawrence could one day become a great preacher!!
I want to be there to hear him preach.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

When God Opens Doors

                                                   A little girl in Uganda, going to get water.

I never cease to be amazed at how God provides for His children.  I am always in awe of how He opens doors for His work.  As you know, last September when I went to Uganda, I visited a small remote village called Kalangaalo/Kyamagemule.  They have no running water, and no electricity.  The poverty and extreme need in this village led me to prayerfully seek what God wants for the people there.  Water......a basic need, something they so desperately need..this seemed to overwhelm my thoughts. That was it!  This sweet village needs clean, accessible water.

When I got back to the U.S. I began to research and make contacts for a well to be drilled there.  I spoke to a number of individuals in Uganda and the U.S. Water Mission Uganda even did some survey work.  Their systems were found to be too large and expensive for this area.  We also learned that, due to the rocky terrain and the need to protect the aquifer, a well would need to be mechanically drilled.  We began getting quotes, with help from friends at Water Mission, and missionaries in Uganda.  For $10,000.00 we could have well drilled.

L toR..Nancy Jinks and Laura Knetzer receiving a check from Doug Merkle at the Kiwanis  Club of Panama City.
  Thus the challenge raise $10,000.00.  We had the privilege of being invited to speak about the well project to the Kiwanis Club of Panama City, Florida this past December.  They were were very interested, supportive, and encouraging.  Upon my return from a trip to Uganda in January and part of February, I was contacted by the Kiwanis Club with news that they were donating $500.00 toward the project.  What makes this story so compelling is this: the day in December that I spoke, there was a young man who had just joined the Kiwanis, his name is Colin.  He brought his fiance' that day.  Her mother happened to be visiting her from California.  When this young lady got home, she told her mother about Mercy Uganda.  Her mother went to our website, e-mailed us, and is now one of our dear child sponsors.  She then went back to California and told her husband about Mercy Uganda.  He and his company have now offered us a $5,000.00 matching funds gift for the well project. So, for every dollar we receive, they match it, up to $5,000.00. What a blessing!  How awesome that God caused His blessings to flow in such a way!

During this same period of time we are invited to attend a missions conference at First Presbyterian Church in Demopolis, Alabama, February 26th-28th. It, too, was such a blessing.  During that conference, a kind gentleman, and member of that church donated $500.00 toward the well project.  The Lord continues to provide what is needed for Mercy Uganda as we seek to be used by Him to provide a well for Kalangaalo/Kyamagemule.  Every day I see God opening door after door.  Every day I have to say thank you Lord for Your love, Your provision, Your care for Your children in Uganda.  Isn't God amazing?