Tears of Joy

Sweet Summer 17: Week 1, Day 2 I’ve been in Uganda with Sweet Sleep President, Madelene Metcalf, for four days now. We have a team coming next week to distribute 800 beds to orphaned and vulnerable children, but before that happens, we’re spending a few days visiting eight new groups in our economic development program. This is a program that creates cooperative businesses for groups of approximately ten women (and sometimes a few men) who are struggling to adequately feed and educate their children. Since its inception, Sweet Sleep has given a Bible with every bed. Our belief has always been that the Bible is just as important a part of the bed, and just as important to finding true rest, as the mattress, blanket, or any other part of the bed. Upon launching our economic development program, it seemed just as important that we give Bibles to the women in these groups. Their businesses and increased incomes will no doubt provide them great comfort and piece of mind as they raise their children and strive to give them opportunities they themselves never had, but again, true rest can only come for them through a strong relationship with Christ. Over the past couple of days, we have had the opportunity to visit four of our new groups and see the progress that they are making. In the course of those visits, we presented each person in those groups with their very own Bible. The reactions were simply amazing. They clapped their hands, jumped up and down, sang, danced, made a noise particular to Ugandan women (if you’ve been here with us, you know what I’m talking about), and wept for joy. They wept. Let that sink in for a moment. Most American Christians own several Bibles, and I am no different in that regard. And I suppose my easy access to the scriptures has made me a little prone to taking them for granted. For these people, the Bibles we gave them instantly became their most prized possessions. They thanked us over and over again through shouts of joy, and through tears streaming down their faces. They feverishly began to open their Bibles and read their favorite passages. They spoke of feeling ashamed to go to church without a Bible, but that now they would proudly walk in with their Bibles in hand. To these women, they had not just received the gift of a book, which in itself would be a treat; they had received the gifts of peace, hope, and life. What a treat is has been for me to witness their joy. Stuart McAlister]]>