When Olive was born, she had no home. Uganda would not claim her, even though she was born on her soil. The US would not acknowledge her, even though both her parents are US citizens. We had to collect forms and paperwork and then submit then painstakingly through the US embassy in Kampala to get her citizenship and passport. We came to find that we were the first people to ever request a birth certificate from the government office in the Napak district. Most locals just use the card from the hospital or an immunization card. Birthdates are often a guess. Zion went through the same limbo period when she was born. Both times it reminded me awkwardly, vividly of the fact that we are strangers in this world.
I’ve had other reminders of the same recently in instances where justice seems elusive and bribed to silence. There is a family who has regularly attended our church for our entire time here. There is a blind grandmother, a mentally disabled daughter and a granddaughter born from rape. They have no close relatives to help care for them and no means to do so themselves. However, they come faithfully to prayers every Sunday, the daughter leading the grandmother with a stick along the winding dusty paths. The granddaughter is beginning to grow up and can thankfully cook their meals, fetch water and handle the basic household tasks. Last month, a strange man took the daughter by the hand. He led her to his home. There he committed again the crime against her body. His name and face are known, but the witnesses are not credible in this system. Leah, a mission member, worked to have him arrested and get the daughter the medical attention she needed. Within a few weeks he was incorrectly released and began harassing the family again. Even daily calls are not resulting in the police following through on their promise of renewed custody. You can imagine how vulnerable these women feel, and how much justice has betrayed them. Please pray for this family! Pray for justice, pray for protection, pray that the church will know how to support them.
There have been multiple instances recently to remind me of how depraved this world is: attacks, robberies, assaults, selfish political agendas. Tina, a single woman serving here with us, and I are discipling a few girls about sexual purity. I’ve challenged them to tell us when marriage begins for a Christian in this culture. It’s a difficult question to answer when historically men have taken wives by raping them in the fields. Even young couples will sleep together before letting anyone know they want to be married as a way to force a marriage with a poor man who can’t pay a large dowry. This is particularly tempting for Christian youth whose parents are more concerned with the bride price than the husband. Once the woman is pregnant, the couple might be beaten, the woman might be forced to leave him if the family insists, or they might just get their way and negotiations will begin. Please pray for this study. Pray for wisdom for Tina and I to know what and how to teach. Pray for the girls that they will understand what sexual purity is and how to put it into practice in their own lives. Pray for the Karimojong men, that they would flee sexual sin.
All is not in darkness and sin. I’m continually reminded of God’s goodness in His protection and provision for my family. Each of these failures of the world is an opportunity for us to shine a light, to point to Christ and long for glory. This has been a good season for our mission team, working together, supporting each other, honoring and encouraging each other. The church continues to grow in its maturity; men are being trained in ministry and leadership. Schools will hopefully open in the new year, but the closures have allowed us time with youth who would otherwise have been mostly raised by boarding schools. My daily routine and even glum thoughts are not infrequently arrested by the beauty I see around me. I’ll stare into my daughters’ faces just admiring the curve of their cheeks, their innocent remarks, the twinkle in their eyes when they smile, and their selfless generosity. I’m reminded we serve a powerful yet intimate God who wants to be known by us and has made himself known; a Father God, who sent His son to die on our behalf; a Son God, who willingly humbled himself and died; a Spirit God who is Love. His is the final victory.