I have so many red dirt stains...
Stains on my heart. Stains on my mind. Stains on my clothes. Stains on my shoes. Stains on my backpack. Red dirt stains everywhere. I never want them to leave me. I want them to stay forever.
Our team consists of 12 people (including me) from the thiboduax / Houma area! Some are medical people, some here to teach and preach, some here to minister in prayer, some to play with the children while medical missions are going on, some to work on the new buildings that have just been built - but all of us share the heart for the orphan and the needy with the main purpose of sharing Jesus with them!
It's honestly humbling and I just don't know how to quite put everything I have seen into words! I don't know how I will ever do it justice! But, I will keep trying!
I pray I can explain these red dirt stains for you all. I pray my message can convey the huge needs here. It will take a few blog post to explain everything, so consider this only part I !!!
So, as I walked onto the grounds of the Kekebu Village in the district of Budaka and I heard the sounds of the African children and village people singing in their native tongues in an open air brick church house - tears filled my eyes and my heart leaped in joy. I couldn't get off that bus fast enough. I looked around the bus and noticed one of our team members - Ronnie Mablie eyes completely full of tears! The feeling is so unexplainable - it's something no pictures or stories could ever prepare you for! It's something that is personal for each person and I know now what my husband and family has been talking about! The sounds of the children singing to us as they greet the Mzungas (that word is Luganda for white people), the intoxicating smell of stinch, the sight of the children's faces as we got off the bus, the touch of the first Ugandan child to my hand, oh every sense was on over load for me. My heart was on overload - you can't possibly come to this place and not fall to your knees in prayer. They treat our team like we are royalty and it is a common practice for them to bow down and kneel at your feet whenever they greet you. First of all I am not anything special. I have a heart for these people so I raise money all year for them, but that doesn't make me a celebrity in any means. But, to these beautiful Ugandan people they want to show how thankful they are for us - so they bow down to us! At that moment I wish I spoke their language because I would have told them "it should be opposite - I should be bowing down to you." When you have people in such great need and they bow down to you - that just does something to your heart - well at least mine. It made me think of God - and when we are in such need and all we know is to bow down at his feet and pray - it brings him such joy and an overwhelming since of pride, love, and desire to bless us even more! That's how I feel - they appreciate us so much - it makes me want to work harder, fight harder to spread the message of refuge 127, and never complain that I am too busy to make a difference in these great people's lives!!
(When we arrived we had church in here! In Africa - you dance and sing in church - and nothing like what us Americans do in church! Basically, you get down!! The children sing and dance and then the adults get up and sing and dance! Even the African men can move and grove their bodies - it's really something to see! Lol!! Me and my sister in law Mandy have been practicing, but can't seem to move our bodies like them!)
Each day of the mission our days are split - first part is prayer and church service and second part is serving the needs to the village and orphan children. The site we are at is the original site Mandy and Shay (my brother in law and sister in law) visited many years ago when they first traveled to Uganda. It's in the middle of a village, surrounded by small huts, small brick houses, a village church, various buildings for the orphans to live in and eat in, and some school houses for children of the village and orphans.
After church service, I have been working with the Ugandan doctor refuge 127 hired, another team member - Paula who has been a nurse for 30+ years, and Elijah who is one of the Bishops sons who is currently in medical school in Uganda. I will need to do a blog post about the Bishops family - because they are all amazing people and I have fell in love with them all! The bishop is over various orphanages and boarding school sites and is a pastor to multiple churches throughout east Africa. I have been dispensing medicines, working with a translator and listening to the needs of the people. My heart is to serve people. I never get tired of serving people because Jesus doesn't. The lines of people waiting to be seen never seemed to end. They came early in the day and waited and waited and some were not able to be seen the first day. That was heart breaking, but we are here all week to serve. The first afternoon - I made it a point to learn all the Ugandan medicines that were being used - another language - completely different medications than America - but with God he makes all things possible! I was in a very small closed in room with no air condition and medicine all over! It was a hot mess - literally!! So, two team members helped me organize everything in alphabical order so when the doctor spoke to me in Luganda I would know what medicine he was referring to! Also, the way they write scripts are completely different than in America! So, I had to learn that to! It was a crazy first day, but I learned an incredible amount that day. Before long - I was starting to see the same patterns of illness in Uganda - the same complaints over and over! Sadly, they didn't realize that the majority of their medical problems are due to the lack of clean water intake and improper nutrition. Their is no sanataization what so ever!!!!! They have no access to toilet paper so you can imagine how bathroom time goes. Then they go and eat and they have no forks or spoons - and everyone in the village eats with their hands!!
The pharmacy! The small hot room where I meet with hurting people - not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually also!
I can write a post about all the needs of this place, but I can't get caught up in the American ways of doing things. Because in America we have access to everything - a doctor when we need, medicine when we need, clean water, clean clothes, food - so naturally we don't go to God first because we don't even think twice about these things - we just have access to them! This experience has taught me that just because god has blessed me with access to so many luxuries - I should never put that before God. He must be my first consultation before a doctor.
Today I got to speak to the village people and the orphans and I told them that - when the medicine runs out, or the money runs out, or the food runs out - they have to remember that God is the great physician, he is the great provider, and the supplier of all things!
I know this place has stained me forever, but those stains will be a reminder of why I have to keep pushing and why I have to keep working harder and harder to raise money for refuge 127.
The next few post will be more about the work we are doing here and what God has been doing over this trip!
Psalm 63 "oh god, you are my God; early will I seek you; My flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water." Mandy read this one morning before leaving for the orphanage - she had opened her bible and this was the first thing she had read. Water is something you can't live without and so many adults and children here don't get enough. They do have a water well, but it's questionable on how clean the water really is from there! Another stain to my heart, but another purpose for refuge 127 to look into!
Thanks for following along! Love y'all!