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Africa Inland Mission
August 20, 2013 11:40 am

DSCN5636Men go abroad to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.  –Saint Augustine

“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” by Dr. Phil Brand and Philip Yancey became my reading companion for our journey through the east of Uganda. I highly recommend that you let this book be the escort to your morning tea/coffee (Ugandans use the term escort for whatever food item is going with their chai). I found this work on J’s living room bookshelf as me, Aaron, and Emily settled in to her home in Kampala for two nights. I had no idea that its contents would directly relate to everything we were going to be doing and sharing over the next week. The book describes 4 different sections of the body; the cells, bone, skin, and motion. The doctor recaps many of his experiences with patients both physically and spiritually. In each of the four sections, he relates the physical parts of our body to the workings of the Body of Christ. I will not spoil it for you. Read it =) “To be a member is to have neither life, being, nor movement, except through the spirit of the body, and for the body” –Blaise Pascal

DSCN5641

We began our assessments in Kampala on Tuesday morning. J brought us to a small church in a hilly village for a follow-up. We were expecting to have a meeting and some discussion with the pastor. But, here in Uganda, we have come to learn that you must be very open and flexible. Seven of the church members had gathered and requested that we give a message from the word. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit was with us and we all shared (some more than others!). Aaron now has a moving message about ‘the least of these’ that he ended up sharing at the church we went to on Sunday morning too. J continually encouraged listeners to be the loving body of Christ wherever we went. I shared how God has been teaching me the importance of the spiritual over the physical. Emily talked about every single person being made in God’s image. After our sharing, J began her questioning and teaching. She charged this church body to become models of Christ’s love by going out in to their community to find the children with disabilities and love on them with unconditional care. It was a long and very moving experience for me to see how J works with these church bodies. They have many rational fears, but that does not mean they are excused from exercising Christ’s love for the ‘least of these’. Our next stop was to pick up wheelchairs for two children at Good Shepherds Fold in Jinja (our location Thursday through Saturday). We had quite a time fitting them into the back of J’s car. Emily and I ended up sitting on one seat for the rest of our time in Kampala! Lastly, we visited a mother and her child, Raymond, at their home. I have never seen a mother so at peace with her child having a disability. She spoke with so much love and strength about the power of Christ. This was especially moving because Raymond is a seventeen year old boy with Cerebral Palsy. He is non-verbal and completely dependent on his mother and family for his daily care. Raymond was an absolute sweetheart with a smile that makes your heart melt. Praise the Lord for the peace He has given that family.

Wednesday to Saturday- We made a few stops throughout Kampala before hitting the road: one at a boarding school for special needs children and one in Mukono at a home/school for mentally disabled children. We arrived at GSF (Good Shepherds Fold) around 4 p.m. We walked around the large compound and began to meet the MULTITUDE of children. GSF serves as an orphanage and school. They have hundreds of children come from surrounding villages for the education. DSCN5605

But, about 80 children stay indefinitely at the compound in a house with other children and a house mom. There are a few children with disabilities. Our main focus was to assess and love on these children. J had quite a list of to-do’s so we tagged along and helped with whatever we could. The new wheelchairs were presented to Sam (10 year old paraplegic boy) and Matthew (quadriplegia, with some control, secondary to CP) who were continually reminded to take good care of them. Many of the children had gone home for the holidays. But it was very interesting to visit a center that was something like ACHERU, but then again, completely different. The children there have integrated the children with special needs into their lives to a greater extent than we have seen elsewhere. The house mom’s are also very diligent with the extra care required for some of the children. But, just like ACHERU, the children with special needs love to run and play and joke around.

Saturday afternoon we made a short house visit and then spent the afternoon in Jinja before proceeding to our lodging for the night. Mto Moyoni is a beautiful area with bandas sitting right on the Nile River! It was a great place to relax and enjoy God’s creation.

Sunday morning we attended church where Aaron gave the message. The church was very friendly and welcoming. The pastor and his family treated us to lunch at his home. We learned about his life and his work with disabilities. For the evening, we stayed with a missionary family in Jinja. We enjoyed playing Scattegories and watching a movie. It felt a little bit like home!

CP, severly malnourished, pressure sores

CP, severly malnourished, pressure sores

Years of club feetMonday was James’ day! He is our tailor at ACHERU who, when he met J, asked for her to come to his home village and help the children there. Over the last couple of weeks Aaron and I have communicated between J and him to help this assessment to happen…and it did! James even brought Johnson, the orthopedic officer, from ACHERU to address those with physical needs as well. The village was waiting for us when we arrived and gave us one of the biggest welcoming ceremonies yet. I loved seeing James in his home with so many people that care about and depend on him. There were many children to assess; with time being short. I was giving the responsibility of dividing the mental issues from the physical issues. Sadly, this meant turning away families who did not have an issue that we were equipped to assess. We left after dark down muddy and narrow roads. The Lord gave us safety and a successful day! I pray that ACHERU will be able to treat some of the village children in the near future. I also pray for the children who have mental disabilities. For them, there is no ‘fixing the physical problem’,

birth deformity

birth deformity

and that was a difficult topic to discuss with the parents. But, we gave them all we had and the BEST that we had- the news of Jesus.

NOW, we are back at ACHERU and grateful for the experiences of this last week. It is always very hard to explain how are hearts have grown. For me, I have found more of my childish side. Some of the kids I encountered needed someone (in this instance, an adult muzungu) to act a little funny so that they could look past their sorrows for an instant and feel happiness. I am very joyful when I see the seriousness of these little ones melt away. But it also reminds me that I must strive for that smile to stay. And the only way for that to happen is for them to be founded in Christ’s love and his constant joy. This is true anywhere that I am: at ACHERU, in a village, in Jackson, in Edwardsville, at my job…the list goes on and on. We are never excused from sharing the gospel with others, and we shouldn’t want to be. It is our joyful privilege. May the Lord give Aaron and I that passion to continually burn bright for the Lord is dark places.

It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. – Saint Francis of Assisi

In Christ,

-E.B.

2 Responses to “Wonderfully Made”

  1. Susan B Says:

    Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time Emmy. So thankful to read how God is using you and Aaron, with all the unique and wonderful gifts you have to share – faith, compassion, friendship, humor, and physical relief for so many, as well as growing you in the process! Many blessings and prayers for your time there ♥ Miss you and can’t wait to see you…. and you’ll be forever changed, I just know it 🙂

  2. Amanda Pink Says:

    Wow. I love that you are finding “silliness” to be a ministry! It’s so true and seems so right and fitting when finding a child who does not smile. I hate it when children(and ADULTS) are so serious to the point of tears. Maybe that’s why the children were always so captivated by Jesus! They see Jesus in you, Em! Miss you! Love you!

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