Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Village

I leave for Uganda in less than two weeks. And before I finish my last blog and tell you what God told me to do, I'm going to give you a little background info. on the village where we will be.

The village is outside of a larger village, that is outside of a larger city. There is a mosque near the entrance to the village, but no Christian church. There is a witch doctor, but no medical clinic. People sit in doorways and children run in the streets. Like the children, skinny dogs wander around looking for something remotely edible to fill their bellies. No clean water is found in the village.

322 people per day in Uganda die of malaria. 45 die of HIV/Aids. In Africa as a whole a child dies every three seconds from AIDS and extreme poverty, often before their fifth birthday.

More than one billion people do not have access to clean water.

Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.

More than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.
More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, 300 million are children.

Of these 300 million children, only eight percent are victims of famine or other emergency situations. More than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency. (From Cozay)

All of this is immensely disturbing in and of itself, but what struck me the most was the blackness, evil, and oppression that these children live under. Young children are sold by their parents who can't afford to feed them. Sometimes they are sold out of their parents' ignorance, with promises by a sex trafficker that their child will go to school, receive a job, or have a better life.

Sometimes parents sell their kids because they need money to feed their other kids. Often, children are not sold at all, they are stolen right off the streets where they live as they run, play, or look for food. They are either lured or just thrown into trucks by passersby. These children are sold as slaves, into the sex-trafficking industry, or as human sacrifices. Human sacrifices. You read that correctly. It is real and it happens every day.

Perhaps one of the most impactful things on my last trip was a newspaper article. On the front page of the local paper was a picture of a headless toddler. The story went that the child's father wanted a boda-boda (a motorbike). I mean, he REALLY wanted one. The farmer he worked for told him that for the head of a child, he would give him a boda-boda. This young father severed the head of his only child, his son, and traded it to the farmer for his motorbike.

The child's head was found in a pot on the farmer's stove. When asked about the "pot", the farmer explained that he was making a "potion" to sprinkle around the perimeter of his farm to increase his land borders and make his farm more fruitful.

This is horrible, sickening, and enough to make an italian girl like me have a heck of a temper tantrum. While on this trip I also ready this quote by journalist Andrew Rice: " Some people (Ugandans) worshipped the God of Christianity, some the god of Islam, but they all retained a measure of the age-old belief in the power of nature spirits and in the rainmakers who communed with them." I think this is abundantly clear.

The newspaper article is dated September 30, 2009. This JUST HAPPENED people. How can we turn a blind eye to this? The thing is, maybe you think there are lots of Christians in Africa. Maybe you think that you can't make a difference. But for us who call ourselves the Church, we must take action! This should not be happening on our watch! How will you respond?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Ugandan Prespective

The following post is written by Malinda Hayes, an amazing 18 yr. old woman I had the privilege of traveling to Uganda with last fall. Malinda followed God's call to go live in the village that we'll be working in for a few months. I encourage you to read ahead. Malinda is an inspiration and adds tremendous insight to life there.

Malinda writes: As an eighteen year old I have had things thrust onto my lap that I simply felt I could not handle. I came to Uganda to love children, not to be an administrator. For a short time I began to fall into Satan’s trap of guilt and depression, carrying the weight of all this need on my shoulder. Through a period of prayer, I came to recognize that God has not called me to carry the guilt of not being able to feed the thousands and millions of people of this country. God knows of all these things, and I am not a humanitarian. I am an apostle, so all I can do is share about Jesus and his love, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading on how to help. Also, I realized that I was spiritually starving! There are “churches” in this area, but I do not count them as bodies of Christ, as many of them use unbiblical principles in their services. I have been able to listen to some sermons online from my own church which has been extremely “nourishing.”

After living in my dear missionary friend’s apartment for three weeks, I had this overwhelming since that I was supposed to move back to the school. Now her apartment is absolutely beautiful, with a guard, gate, refrigerator, stove, oven, and even a HOT SHOWER. Yes those things are nice, and there is nothing at all wrong with having them. But I have seen so many missionaries who come to Uganda and shut themselves up in lavish places, and do not live with the people and learn their ways. How are we supposed to minister as missionaries if we come to their country and not build bridges with them? Why even bother? Also, most of what I would consider biblical churches is in the city in Kampala. Where are the missionaries who are willing to start churches out in the bush and villages? Those are the people that desperately need the Word! But many refuse to do this and so these native people suffer. After becoming Christians, they stay spiritual babies, and often mix their witchcraft with Christianity, as they do not have anyone to guide them through the Bible. It breaks my heart. As a white person, why do I have a right to not only spiritual food, but also proper medical care, sturdy houses, electricity, etc., yet these people as my brothers and sisters in Christ seem to have been forgotten and neglected by the Church? My question continues to stay the same… “WHERE IS EVERYBODY?!”

After feeling that God wanted me to move back to the school, I decided to do this. Although I lack privacy, I don’t have Western toilet, and many times my new family laughs at me when I attempt to speak in Lugandan, I know that God is using my awkwardness and discomfort to show these people that I care about them in the name of Jesus. Most of the children are on holiday this month, as school has let out, so it is only a few of us remaining here. Through this intimate time of being together, I am able to love and discipline the children, play with them, and read stories to them before they go to sleep. With the two older girls remaining, I get to stay up late talking with them about anything and everything, let them show me how to cook posho and beans over a charcoal fire, and laugh with them as we wash our clothes by hand together outside. I have been so blessed by this, and it continues to humble me on a daily basis. Although this simple way of living seems difficult, remember what the Bible says-We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us! I hope that somehow this newsletter speaks to someone out there, to give up “self” for Christ and receive a blessing much bigger than human comfort!