Our day began as I stepped out of my comfort zone by leading the morning devotion. I chose Exodus 3:11 where Moses feels incompetent to lead God’s people out of Egypt. This scripture I found fitting for the ones where this is their first mission trip but equally fitting for even the seasoned missionary. Each time I gear up for a mission, I start to feel inadequate or question if I’m equipped worthy of God to serve His people. And in true God-like fashion, he not only equips me but he works every detail out perfectly where it glorifies Him. Won’t He do it ya’ll?!
I closed our devotion out in prayer and I asked God to open our eyes to what He wants us to see. To soften our hearts to love like He loves. Also asking, that he keep us safe and healthy. Most importantly, to do HIS will, not ours, but His will so it will glorify Him. I prayed for Him to break our hearts for what breaks His. He did exactly all of that!
We didn’t even make it into the village and we were greeted by the people of Gurru Gurru, a village where all are HIV positive.
I was never prepared for what I would soon witness. The people had what appeared to be olive branches if you will; they were waving these back and forth while singing, praising so jubilantly and with such smiles you could see their abundant love. Me, us, are we worthy of such a greeting? I mean, we aren’t nobility, just every day Americans. We definitely aren’t Jesus and that’s exactly what came to mind, where Jesus was greeted by the people waving and throwing down palm branches. I sat on the bus a bit longer than some, taking it all in as well as trying to register what I just witnessed.
They had prepared their best chairs for us to sit in and placed two tables in front of them with their best cloths on top.
Talk about the Last Supper best. Immediately we are greeted one by one members of this community when I look to my right and see a woman with her hand out to shake my hand but ya’ll she’s on her knees! Immediately, I’m gushing tears which starts her to tear up, no words needed to be spoken, and they weren’t, briefly. Actually, I’m not sure she ever spoke but I responded with “thank you ” “it’s such an honor to be here, thank you for allowing us to serve you.” Yesu mari, means Jesus loves you and I told her this and that I loved her. She hugged me and took my hand and placed it on her throat where I could visually see a goiter on her thyroid. I could no longer contain my self as recently we lost our future daughter in law suddenly and she had thyroid cancer the year before. This is no coincidence our paths were crossing, I firmly believe that. The Spirit led me to place my hand onto her throat and without thinking I began to pray out loud over her, something I have rarely done I’m afraid. Once I was done we hugged and I tried to politely wipe up the mess I made from crying and she got up where I didn’t see her the rest of our visit. This was powerful to me, I had never had anyone on their knees thanking me, again I felt like that’s for Jesus but to her and those in this village, we may as well been the next thing closest to Him.
Distributing the mattresses, bedding, nets and bibles gave me such joy! To see their faces light up like one of our own children would on Christmas morning, was a blessing. To give such tangible gifts as these which are life changing, that would also bring them such comfort seemed so small for the greeting we received. I think I speak for the team by saying distribution, being hand in hand was the greatest gift we could get in return. But to know, as we each lie down in our own beds tonight, that now 100 children will have Sweet Sleep is a gift from God and that moment will forever be etched on our hearts and in our minds.
We closed out our day visiting a recipient and their family in the clay hut. The child is a tiny baby, disabled, the mother is mentally ill and has run off so baby is left in grandmother’s care. I had never expected the tears to flow or my heart to break so badly, seeing this tiny infant, who’s paralyzed knowing he will never walk and possibly one day die on this bed crush my heart but overjoy me so much, knowing he will be in comfort in the meantime and malaria won’t be his killer thanks to the net. My heart is overwhelmed with the love Jesus freely gives each day and his abundant grace and mercy given to us all. I will never forget this day, the best I’ve ever been blessed to share in all my missions. Thank you Sweet Sleep for giving me this opportunity and for loving the very least and often the last of God’s people here in Uganda.