Isn’t it just like God to take what you are learning and give you the opportunity to apply it almost immediately? That’s how I feel about the day we’ve had. Today we went to a remote village in the TESO region of Uganda called Nagariam, this is an area that has been devastated by drought, famine and violence. They live in constant fear that the Karamojong (a nomadic tribe that is considered primitive) will attack their village murder the men and rape the women and children. HIV/AIDS is also a tremendous burden on these people and has caused an orphan crisis of epidemic proportions.
Well back to my opening statement…last night our devotions were on compassion which literally means to suffer with (from the latin Cum and Passio), and I used the example of the Good Samaritan to outline my thoughts. Well fast forward to lunch time today and we arrive at Nargarium and almost immediately our team spreads out and begins to explore the village and talk to people. Two of the guys on our team happened on a scene unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced. As they entered the village they saw an old woman laying in the dirt with open sores on her feet, filthy, desperate and wanting to die. To complicate matter a younger women (who we later determined was her daughter in law) was screaming hateful things at her as she lay there waiting to die. People walked by as if nothing was wrong with this scenario but the guys from our team couldn’t.
They returned and got the two ladies on our team, unsure of how, or even if we would be able to help. They headed back to her hut to see how they could help. This presented a unique opportunity and an uncanny parallel to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Those who should have helped didn’t and a stranger in the land stepped up to the task.
The ladies were able to clean her up as she hadn’t been bathed in over two weeks, they dressed the open sores on her feet and hands and if just for a moment relieved her pain. They saw a huge transformation in her demeanor, she went from asking to die to smiling and thanking them for helping her. What a powerful moment in their lives, they lived out the passage where Christ says whatever you have done to the least of these you have done unto me also. It is still difficult to process and I believe that it will take quite some time to work through.
The remainder of the day was great, this is a place in great need and we were able to do a few basic things that will have a dramatic and long term impact. First we were able to help bridge the gap between now and when the site will be sponsored by providing 80 days of food for ~300 people...literally the dollars that you gave saved lives. Secondly we were able to repair one of their three wells (all three were not working). The village of 4957 people have clean water once again. Thank you Lord for your provision for the people of Nagariam.
I am excited to see what God has in store for us, and I am thankful to be a part of partnering churches with orphan communities here in Uganda.
More to come…