We visited Lydia’s jjajja last week, which is always a pleasure. Lydia was a little baby when her parents died. She was given to the care of her grandmother who has raised her. She’s a born again Christian. I enjoy her presence because she is calm and loving. Lydia is eager to visit with her and always feels sad when she leaves. She was so blessed to have been in a home with such good love. As we visited last week I asked her if she’d like to gather her friends around for a bible study. Her face brightened and she smiled and I could see though we don’t share the same language that she would like that so much. We arranged for Monday at two.
In true American style we arrived fifteen minutes early feeling late. We were a little worried she hadn’t gathered anyone. But when the villaagers heard the van they slowly made their way to our little gathering under jackfruit and banana trees. We laid out hand woven mats made of papyrus and set up chairs along with a wooden bench. All of the women were more comfortable reclining on the ground on their mats.
I admit this was a fantasy come true for me. I’ve always wanted to say please go gather your friends and we’ll sit under the shade of a tree on mats and learn God’s word together. The experience was far better than the fantasy.
There were children crying, chickens roaming with their baby chicks and a hovering rooster. Naked children rested in their mama’s laps, babys breast fed, fruit flies got in my eye and the breeze blew the banana leaves just so they made a kaleidoscope of light on our gathering. Twenty people gathered to learn from God’s word in the middle of a Monday afternoon. I was so honored to be there with these beautiful people.
What strikes me most when I am able to teach a group in Uganda is that we may live world’s apart but so much of our lives are the same. And we all use the same word of god to build our lives upon. I find that utterly heart stopping. The two hours I was able to sit with them and share about the topic, Truth, was thrilling for me. I would put this experience as a top ten in my entire life.
I am humored to remember when I first became a Christian at age 22 I begged God please not to do something crazy with my life and like take me to Africa to preach to the people who don’t speak my language. HA! He must have laughed so hard knowing that was exactly his plan for me. It took me twenty-two years for God to prepare me for the opportunity to do it. I never would have guessed I’d beg for this experience. Do you see how much God can change a person?
The Lugandan word for Truth is AMAZIMA. (ah-mah-zee-mah). I would like to name a baby horse amazima and call it zima. The truth in this country is a rare jewel. Few tell it, few live it, and God’s word is all they need to know it. I felt included in their community there, welcomed and embraced. They let me be one of them. When I look into their beautiful faces I feel like I am one of them. I have been a serious student of the Ugandan culture for over two years and I finally feel as though I understand. I might even fit in now that I have a family there.
I can never doubt that sharing from God’s word has impact. It is the most powerful force in the hands of man. Coming together to understand it together is great joy, a thrill, so much so that we were all elated for hours afterwards. Jjajja was unhappy with us because we refused to take her only chick as a thank you gift. She said why can you come give me gifts and I can’t give you anything. As we dropped some of the jjajjas at their home one of them gave us a nice supply of fresh avocados!
I’m so excited that I get to do this two more times this week! I believe reaching out to the people beyond our home is the future of this ministry. I saw so many little babies’ today either naked or wearing rags. I’d love to bring a stack of baby clothes. I’d love to be able to help these widows who are also caring for many abandoned or orphaned children. Could we some day begin more families? I’d love to fundraise to give every woman a new lugandan bible. We bought new bibles for all of our jjajjas. Looking at the crowd gathered today most of them without bibles, I thought surely I could do a fundraiser to buy enough lugandan bibles to put in the hands of everyone who wants to read one. I’d love to visit the poiice station and give bibles to every police officer.
I didn’t tell you that Friday night when we were waiting late for Eddie to get released, Robert and Phiona began to preach the gospel to the police officers! Why wouldn’t Robert consider stopping by now and then and having a bible study if they aren’t catching bad guys? At fifteen dollars a bible here, I am sure we could buy many many bibles and put them into the hands of people hungering for the Amazima.
When I am here in Uganda I want to stay. When I am home in America I don’t want to leave. It is so hard for my heart to live on two continents at once.