Monday, September 23, 2013

Be Strong and Courageous!

The other night thieves tried to break into our house. We have metal bars on every window, so it's almost like trying to break into a prison. It was around midnight, somehow they had managed to begin to pry the bars away from the window so they could enter and grab whatever they wanted. Thankfully we heard them and scared them away before they were able to accomplish what it is they wanted, and they just stole a bicycle from the shed and some of our hen's eggs. The next night someone picked my tennis shoes off the front porch at 8:30pm, while Ruudy was sitting near the door. Seems crazy, when both times we were obviously home, they were quite bold and daring. I was kind of shaken up by it at first, I couldn't sleep well that first night, half asleep trying to hear any funny sounds, and dreaming of the completed break-in, etc...
BUT... God has not left us or forsaken us, He is with us, and cannot leave us. He has been quietly speaking to my heart reminding me that the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy, and wants us to fear him and become paralyzed by fear. But my Father, He comes with His peace, and allows me to run under His wings of protection, and tells me not to be afraid, that He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world.
Lately Ruudy and I have been feeling a growing burden for the youth in our area, particularly in regards to sexual purity and intimacy with God. Also, one of my musl:m friends just accepted Christ. We think as we continue to pursue these ministries, the enemy is not happy and is pulling out all the stops to make us back down and paralyze us, to think twice about moving forward. In church on Sunday we read from Joshua 1:5-9, which reads:

"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Wow! What promises. My heart is encouraged with this reminder. People are missing out on the full inheritance in Christ when we are paralyzed with fear.  I can confidently tell the enemy to bring it, knowing that he cannot touch me, and I am not alone. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus, I am not looking to the right or to the left. I am studying Him continually, I'm obeying Him, not fear.
Be encouraged with me friends. What the Lord has called you to do, it is worth it, no matter what opposition may stand in your way, no matter what the enemy tries to do to sabotage His plans, it is worth it to move forward in obedience, keeping your eyes fixed on Christ, we run the race with endurance. Be strong and courageous!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Loving people the way they are

This is my first post on this blog in here, hope it will make a good read. I was prompted to write this blog following our recent adventure towards trying to love them as Christ would; despite of their circumstances. Ruudy.

After my parents died when I was about two years, I grew up in different homes, going through different kinds of abuse and mistreatment, but God saw me through all of these. A few months ago, it came to my attention that one of my aunts (my paternal uncle's wife; the guy who tortured me most and would beat me until I bled) was sick, diagnosed with cervical cancer and none of her children, nor the husband was interested in trying to treat her because cancer treatment is quite expensive. Memories flooded my mind of the days when I used to stay in their home. What caught my attention was that, she never at any time beat me, even though her husband would torture me but then again, she also never tried to rescue me from the beating (I don't know whether because of fear of her husband or in support of the beating). I tried to look for a reason to hate her, but I couldn't find any.

One time Beckie and I were visiting the village, she gave us her papers to look at and take for further research on treatment. However, the most beautiful thing is that, we shared the gospel with her and she received Christ! And today, three of her sons have followed suit! After Beckie contacting her friend from the states (Nancy, I'm sure), she advised that this aunt needs immediate attention otherwise, she would probably die within two years. We had financial problems ourselves and we knew if we were to help her, it would cost us a good number of thousands of shillings and then, maintaing her in Mulago Referral Hospital would also cost us something. But then after carefully praying about this, we looked at her situation with love and we sent her to the cancer hospital. Her sister escorted her there but then left her after just five days! For the last three months, she has been going through Radiotherapy alone, without anyone taking care of her, not her husband, not her daughter or any of her sons, but the Lord did! Surprisingly, she could't speak any other language apart from Ateso, which is not spoken in Kampala, but somehow, the Lord led her to people who helped her throughout! She didn't get any chance to sleep in the hospital ward while there, instead, she had to sleep outside in the cold all this time because there was not enough space in the ward.

We visited her twice in the hospital and lo, she was always happy to see some faces she knew. Today, we received her back! The first phase of treatment is over, she will be returning there in about two months time, and we know, God is faithful to His word and He is already healing her. She is so glad that she got help from an unlikely source when her own, couldn't help.

However, she told me a very heart wrenching story of two old people who were taking care of themselves at the cancer institute. The man had cancer and his mistress had HIV AIDS together with cancer! They were all sick and sleeping under the verandah with no care taker to help them out. The old lady couldn't get cancer treatment until she started on HIV treatment. She went to the HIV section and they kept telling her they were full and couldn't admit her for any treatment until either someone died or until someone got discharged. Her case kept getting worse and worse. The man got discharged from the cancer Institute and they agreed that the old man should go back to the village and convince their son to come take care of the old woman. The day the old man left, the old lady's health started deteriorating further and by 2 pm, she was fighting with death, alone under a tree, without anyone to give a helping hand. Fellow patients informed nurses, who came, loaded her on a stretcher to try to take her to the HIV section again, but it was a little too late, she died! The hospital had no records of this old lady, no phone number to ring, no nothing. Her body was taken to the mortuary and till this day, nobody has come tracing for her, neither the old man, nor the son, came back and over two to three weeks have passed since she died. Our aunt says she was terrified, since she was also there by herself, but also thankful, that she had us to rely on, to call on and this touched me, how our simple act of love, mirrored so much, in our aunt's life.

I took a photo of her with Beckie today in our home, and the smile on her face, can tell it all. Truly, Love is the greatest! Sorry I wrote it too long, but hope you learnt something. God bless you. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

a lady & her chicken

The other day we headed out to a certain village to collect some bamboo from a distant relative's place. As we were driving there I remembered an old man that we had brought home from a burial a couple of months ago, who pleaded with us to come visit him and his wife at home in the near future as some people were trying to grab his land and he wanted us to see where he stayed. He was the cousin to Ruudy's grandfather.  So we decided on our way back home to pass by. When we arrived we parked at the neighbor's house and then walked over to their place. The neighbors had two big "modern" houses, and then a couple of huts. Then when we reached the grandparents house they had one hut that they sleep in, cook in, store food in, and some animals also sleep with them. There was also a half built small two room house on their compound. They said that their roof was leaking, it may cost only something like $20 to repair. They said that the neighbors, who are somehow related, said they would build them a place, and take care of them in their old age. But it appears that it's just a ploy to grab their land.
Ruudy & I with the grandparent, their hut is behind us
The house they are building, looks like it's been trying to be built for a long time, and they haven't even provided a bed for them, and yet these guys are now left with only a small piece of land. It broke my heart to see the way these guys are living. Especially when I saw where they were sleeping and then the half built house that laid their vacant, only used to bathe in.

The couple's bed

The kitchen, which is in the same hut as the bed

the clothes and food storage
  But one thing that blessed my heart is the old lady. I had gone to pick my camera from the car so I could take a photo for them, and when I came back I saw there was a chicken sitting on her lap. Now if you're familiar at all with chickens, they generally are afraid of people and run away the second they sense anything moving near by them. But this chicken was just resting on her lap. I smiled and she told me the story, through Ruudy. The chicken's mother had died when it was just born, and so she began feeding it and communicating with it. Now the chicken has become her friend. She can call it and it comes, they can go to the garden to dig together, it sleeps right next to her bed at night. And I'm thinking in my mind, if only she had someone caring for her the way she cares for this bird. She never had any children, so there's no children to care for her, but it hasn't stopped her from caring for the ones God puts in front of her.
Tata with her orphaned chicken
It was a beautiful lesson of love. No matter how loved we feel as human beings, we have that love of God that is pure and real in our hearts and can manifest itself through us, even when we don't feel like it. His love overcomes. EVERYTHING. Period.