One afternoon we visited Veronica at the Comforter Center. I hauled a suitcase of books to add to the library I began for the women who come to visit her. I also carried with me some money that we received from selling the Ugandan beads in the name of her cause of stomping out abortion in Uganda. We shared with her some of the funds given to us to use in ministry from our friends and family in Uganda. When I gave it to her, she squealed and her whole spirit bounced as she said, “We serve a big God.” Indeed we do. It’s important to remember though that even when we don’t get what we want or hope for we are still serving a Big God. His character doesn’t change according to our circumstances.
We squeezed into the waiting room and waited for Veronica to appear from her office. She walks with a cane support. Her smile and presence fills the room with energy and warmth. She flopped into a chair and removed Kira from my arms and hugged her squealing delight for God’s blessing on us all with Kira’s presence in our family. As she inspected and squeezed our daughter she remarked to my family in the room that last year when I said I was going to adopt a child, she thought I was joking. She never believed that I’d do the work and follow through with it. I told her, now you know who I am, when I say I am going to do something, I do it. She nodded. “I know that now.” Too many times in life we are so full of words and deplete of action. My continuing prayer is that I reserve my words to say what I truly intend to do and accomplish, and not waste the precious gift of someone’s listening with idle chatter or empty promises.
So when I say I am devoted to raising Kira to be all she can be as a child of God, as a Ugandan, as an American, and as a LaTorre. You can assume I’m not joking. Then multiply by ten. That’s my style.
The comforter center has been redecorated, and re-organized. There was once a desk in the entrance and now it has seats for the girls who visit to wait the invitation from Madame Veronica to visit her office. Aside from the waiting room is Joy’s office. They cut a hole in the wall so we can see Joy from the seating area. I went in and introduced myself to Joy. I was so happy to be reunited with her. I met her briefly last year but since then our lives have been intricately woven with God’s love. When I said, “Joy it’s Tonya, Jack’s mom, he is the boy who put your Andrew into school this session.” She only said hello and she did not meet my eye contact.
There was a moment of confusion for me. I really was lost. I didn’t know what to think or do and I wondered if I had made it bigger than it was, as we have anticipated this reunion with a feverish pitch. She was quiet and shy so we kept our greeting brief and polite. Soon after Veronica explained that since Joy had suffered hospitalization in October for meningitis she has lost her sight and her memory. I didn’t know if I should feel better or worse. I could only say a prayer that the promise the doctor has made, saying her eyesight and memory should return, will indeed be returned to her as they have said.
Veronica summoned Andrew from his play and he appeared tall and slender to us. Jack and Andrew were then introduced. Jack did a fundraiser all of October selling pumpkin bread he made to raise money so children here in Uganda can go to school. Andrew wasn’t able to attend school for the first time this year because his mom’s medical bills were too high. Jack offered to pay for Andrew’s school, not just this year, but he offered to raise the fees every year for the boy. (in case you missed the story, Jack raised 2700 american dollars to put children here in school.)
Andrew and Jack shook hands and they both seemed to feel rather shy with everyone looking at them. I wish they had plenty of time to hang out and play together. We will have to arrange that. I’d like to have Andrew come stay a few days with us at the house while he is on school break. I hope we can do that. I want the two of them to feel like not just friends, but brothers.
A client came to the door seeking the services of Veronica’s pregnancy crisis center. In five years they have counseled five hundred girls to both know Jesus Christ, and to change their mind about having an abortion. Five hundred babies were saved. If that information doesn’t run chills down your arm then check for your pulse.
Veronica ushered us all into her office which is larger than it used to be and so comfortable to sit in and have a catch up chat. She explained that they have no money to start out the year with but they are faithful to God to provide. The pigs that were given to them to raise aren’t thriving because they can’t hire someone to take care of them. The taxi service won’t work because taxi drivers are corrupt. Our driver confirmed this as his family had three taxis and their drivers would say they didn’t work all day even when George had seen them four times on the road. They were pocketing all the money. It is strictly believed here that you can’t trust anyone unless they are family. So her plan to somehow raise money and be self sufficient is to run a hostel of apartments for students so they have regular income from the rent. They hope to find supporters who will offer up the eighty thousand dollars for the building. She has a big faith. And we all know God will provide in exactly the right way.
I asked her to explain to my Mom and Emily and the boys what her work is with the girls and how she helps women in the villages manage their monthly cycle using beads to avoid pregnancy. She claims it works for everyone she’s given it to use. We were impressed. George explained it to some others and they all agreed they would go get these beads when they get married.
At the end of our meeting we passed around hugs and wishes for a wonderful Christmas as we made another date to come back and visit again. Veronica had a girl waiting to speak with her about some personal matters. We can all pray that the girls who walk through that iron gate and into her home will find the love of Jesus and the support to believe that what God has created no man should destroy.