Living in Uganda has been one of the most overwhelming experiences I have had. You are constantly being slapped in the face with starvation, AIDS, preventable diseases and death. It’s easy to get discouraged all of the time when there is no way around these things. Someone takes advantage of you because you are white, a girl dies from malaria because her mom can’t pay the equivalent of ten dollars for treatment, and a boy gets overdosed on drugs at a health clinic. Right when you feel like you have done something righ, someone else comes around the corner and rips your heart in two. It’s hard, it’s really hard. I’m speaking to myself when I say that when westerners think that they can come over here and “change the world,” they are wrong. This has been a constant battle that I have dealt with for the past eight months and still dealing with now. I think about how I need to change Uganda just because the corruption is so relevant in these people’s lives. I want the men to stop sleeping around all day while the women do the work. I want hiv/aids to be swiped out from this country. I want a child to be able to live from a common parasite. I want all of these things even though I know that it won’t happen, at least not in my lifetime. I want, I want, I want, I want. It’s really all about me at the end of the day. I want to change the world! I get so caught up on the big pictures that I miss the little redemption stories that are right in front of me. I miss the kids faces from book club when they go swimming. Or the Muslim man who gives prayer to God during a Christian service. When we look at the big picture, of course, of course we are going to get discouraged. Because the big pictures are up to the Lord to decide, not us. It’s not on our time when we find a cure for aids. It’s on his, and on his alone. There will come a day when there will be no suffering or death, but until then, my job is to be his hands and feet and work on the little things that he calls me to do. The little things that is right in front of me even if i can’t see them. The little redemption stories that truly show his grace. The little stories like Caroline and Josephine.
If you don’t remember these girls from a previous post I put up, their names are Caroline and Josephine who have had a sadly normal, but devastating past. Their older sister Jovia is a child of grace and the reason we found these twin girls. We went for a check up on Jovia when we found these two bundles of joy. They were 10lb three year olds who were staring death right in the face. We found them just in time to be able to put them into a children’s rehabilitation program for mal nourished kids. They slowly began to regain some of their strength. Then they left the program and went back to their home to begin growing with their Jaja and Jovia. Months later a man who came on a mission’s trip a while back decided to sponsor them to build a house. This was especially wonderful news due to the fact that their house was slowly disintegrating. After months of building the house, and our relationship with the jaja (grandma) and Jovia, it was time for them to move in…and of course, that required a celebration. Caroline and Josephine are not fully recovered yet, but are getting there. Jovia is 7th in her class and the jaja is starting a self sustaining garden with plenty of vegetables for her girls. Their story is beautiful and is also great reminder that the Lord our God does things in magical ways. This family is forever changed because He has provided us to help them. I don’t believe that it was because our skin was white or that we being Americans, and having more money than most, should do the right thing. It was by his grace alone that they now have a concrete house to live in and a community that loves them. It was by His grace alone that jaja has a garden so she can provide the right nutrients for her girls. It was by His grace alone that we get the privilege to witness this transformation.
Caroline and Josephine are as cute as can be. Caroline is all smiles. She cannot stop laughing and being as cute as can be. Josephine, well, she is a little old grandma. She is grumpy and cries every time she sees a white person…but she is healthy and far from the state she was in six months ago, so we can take little tears here and there.
It gives me chills just to think about the family six months ago and now. The little things are the ones that are sustainable in these people’s lives. The joy and the life that has been set to flame in this family is breath taking. The smiles and the giggles that Jaja and Jovia and Caroline and Josephine produce are contagious. But just from little acts of kindness though. We don’t have to wonder about what will happen in ten years down the road because the little things that we did for them and they did for us are so substantial.
When I look at the big pictures and then get discouraged and anxious, I think of Caroline and Josephine. I think about the little things that get us through one day at a time. Not the next day or what’s yet to come. Not the wonders or worries, but the rejoices that brought us to today. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and I know I’m not there yet. But I do know that Caroline and Josephine are happy and healthy; just as a three year old should be. The Lord has done some miraculous things in their lives that I cannot compare to. He is the only true redemption in this world.