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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scars


When I was in Uganda in June we visited a new hospital in the Entebbe area.  As we sat there I was observing the multitude of issues the children had, from deformities in their legs to cleft palate, to burns.  There were a couple of little boys that came in with their upper bodies healing, somewhat, from burns. A friend who was with me said that a large percentage of the burns seen in Uganda have been intentionally done by stepmothers or other relatives.  I don't think that was the case with these two boys but we are helping a young lady who most definitely was set on fire on purpose.  It is horrible to suffer from burns, it is even worse when those burns were caused intentionally by someone else.....it is even worse when you are not taken for treatment for those burns and then, four years later you have no visible breasts and your arm is melded to your side making it unusable.  To further add to the pain, this young lady suffers chronic infections and bleeding from some of the areas that never completely healed.  As a social worker I wonder where the justice for this girl is. I wonder where the punishment is for those who inflicted this pain, and those who ignored the suffering.  As a Christian I am appalled by the evil that lashed out at her in this way, and I am compelled to do all I can to help her, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Her wounds go deep in every way.  This was done by an older sister who was angry because she didn't want to do her chores.  This was ignored by a family who didn't want to get the older sister in trouble.  This was ignored by extended family who knew this had happened, the pain she continued to suffer, and yet, they did nothing to help.  Only recently, when they wanted to appeal to the heartstrings of the generosity of others through sponsorship for school, was she ever brought to us.  That, in itself is a blog story for another day.  This young girl's pain goes back before the burn, and continues beyond the burn today.  Her father abandoned the family when she was little. Her mother died a few years ago and she lives with extended family.  Her older sister continues to be violent toward her and the family does not intervene.  We hope to get this young lady to safety and are working on medical care for her even now.  Please pray for her, for her safety and her healing.  Please pray that God will provide a safe haven for her from the years of pain and abuse.  Please pray for her older sister and her family, that God will change their hearts.  Please pray for us as we partner with doctors and individuals to help this precious girl.....God is our Great Healer!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Suffer the Little Children

 (Picture of multi-purpose room at Eseza's school)

People often ask how I can go to Uganda and see the things I see, and not break down.  Well, I do, at times, break down.  But the things I see, the things I experience while working with women and children in Uganda, are things that God uses in my life to break my heart for the things that break His heart.  He uses these experiences to grow my faith, to humble me, to keep my heart tender.  The new picture you see as our header is of a precious little family of children.  The oldest girl, Eseza, or Esther, is only 6 years old.  Those are her three little siblings with her, Tracy, Viola, and Senfuka. Their mother and father both worked in the stone quarries making about fifty cents a day.  The two parents together making less than one dollar a day to feed this little family!
Eseza's mother died this past year.  She was at work in the stone quarry when some of it collapsed on her.  The father, being left with 4 small children, and having to continue to work, pulled Eseza out of school to care for her younger siblings while he went to work. He works all day, every day, 6 days a week. This little 6 year old girl roams the neighborhood with little little siblings, and no food.  Daddy comes home in the evenings and then tries to find what he can to feed them on the little money he makes.  I know that I would have trouble feeding my family on that amount of money.  You see, Eseza had been in one of the schools with whom we work on our sponsorship program.  I visited that school recently, on my June trip to Uganda.  I was able to talk to the headmistress who graciously took me to this child and her home.  These beautiful little children are who Jesus talks about when he says "suffer the little children to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven".  Children have a very special place in the heart of our Saviour.......we should give them a special place too.  Mercy Uganda is working closely with this school to provide a way for this little girl to return to school, and for her and her siblings to receive food and care.  The father agreed to let the children live at the school with the headmistress as caregiver, and Eseza able to learn again.  This arrangement is not perfect.  The school really does not have a boarding section yet, rather, all the children who are orphans there sleep in a multi-purpose room, used as a classroom by day, and lodging by night.  Some do not have mattresses or mosquito nets as they can't afford them. They sleep on the floor with no protection from the mosquitoes that carry malaria.  Food is in short supply.  However, the headmistress, precious lady that she is, and her dear husband, have a small garden where they grow food to help feed the children.  Mercy Uganda is working with them for ways to expand their ability to provide food through more agriculture, and through livestock that we hope to be able to provide over the next several months.  We are also working closely with them to help tie into the water system to provide more, and better water for the children, and are looking to the future for how we may help them expand through building an orphanage.  Yes, some of these are far into the future, but some are now, things that we can do to make a difference even in small ways as we seek God's guidance and provision in caring for His little ones.  We are prayerfully working with the father of Eseza and her siblings, so that he will be encouraged to be an active part of their lives and their care, and that he will come to know the Lord who loves him, and loves his children.  Please pray for Eseza and her family, for the headmistress and the school. Please pray for Mercy Uganda as we seek to honor God in our work with them.  Please pray, too, about how you might be a part of this ministry work with this little family, and many like them.

















(Eseza, Tracy, Viola, and Senfuka in front of their home)