Ok, so does anyone actually read my blog anymore? If not, I don't blame you. Our internet has been out for weeks and going to the internet cafe to sit and wait has been on the bottom of the priority list, as you can imagine :)
I don't even know where to start to tell about all that God has been doing in our lives since I last wrote. I know that my words aren't even close to adequate to describe His goodness and love.
A week ago today, I turned twenty one. I sat in awe as I celebrated with 14 beautiful girls who call me Mommy. (Ok one actually calls me "Maamaaaamammaaa") I wondered why God chose me, little ole twenty one year old me, to be entrusted with so much. There is nothing greater than the responsibility of raising a child to love Jesus. Except maybe raising 14. Words are escaping me. Two years ago today, two we moved into this home. In the last years I have learned more about Jesus, about myself, and about life than I ever could have imagined. I am so thankful. So, so very thankful for the life you have given me Jesus, for entrusting me with so much when I deserve so little...
Last Thursday as I was meeting with some women in the village of Masese, one of them got a call from her brother that there was a child dying near the local steel mill and did she know anyone who could help... So it was off to the steel mill where I met the sickest little boy I have ever seen (I know, I know, I say that every time, but I am serious.... God just gears me up for it a little at a time...) David looked merely dead, breathing shallowly as I took his naked, 15 pound, 4 year old body into my lap. His mom was "scrapping", or digging around the steel mill for nickel-sized pieces of scrap metal that she may be able to sell for 2 cents. As we waited for her to come back, I felt sure that this child was going to breathe his last at any moment. When she got back to their closet-sized home, she explained that her husband had left her for another woman last year when she miscarried (often viewed as a curse in rural villages). Since he has been the only one providing an income for her, David and her other 3 children, and since she had never been to school, she began the practice of picking scrap metal. In just 30 minutes in her yard, WITH shoes on, I cut my feet twice... It broke my hear to think of all the physical pain she was having to endure every day as she cut her hands and feet trying to find this metal that may sell for enough to buy them a small sack of corn flour. She cried as she explained that they had not eaten in three days because no one had wanted to buy her metal. I felt certain that David would not make it through the night, and I am guessing I do not have to tell you what happened next. I scooped him up, put him in the car and took him home where my sweet, loving girls welcomed him with open arms, and we gave him all the ORS and Pediasure he wanted :)
The next day at the hospital, we found that David had sickle cell anemia, which was worsened severely by his chronic malnourishment. While they gave him his blood transfusion, I was very thankful for a doctor that, though he may not know it all, knew more than me. I watched David like a hawk all weekend, making sure he had lots to eat and drink and all his medicines and vitamins at the right time, but he continued to weaken after the initial improvement following his transfusion. He cried all the time as it hurt his little body to sit, to stand, to lay... just to be. He finally gained the strength to stand, but shook the whole time. This morning, when his feet began to swell, I took him to the hospital where I asked that he be admitted. Though they won't do anything different, I imagine, I want his mom to be able to sleep with him and I will feel better with someone who knows more than me about sickle cell supervising. Please pray for sweet David tonight...
At the same time all this was going on, three of my children have had very high fever's and Patricia has had severe pneumonia (they are all doing so much better now, thank you Jesus.) Sleep was infrequent for this Momma and I had a lot of time to just ponder the fragility of life. We are but a vapor. I think we know that we could die tomorrow, or worse that our children could, but do we really KNOW it? You know, LIVE as if we know in our hearts that we are just a breath, that we will wither and fade like the grass and the flowers... I know there are days when I don't. I am not meaning to be morbid, simply realistic. Because I know that if I lived like I really KNEW this truth, if I treated everyone as if they were David and might be taken tomorrow, I would love better. I would hug my children tighter and hold them longer. I would tell people thank you more often and I would tell God thank you more often. I am thankful that as I care for sick children often, this is something I am reminded of often, and I pray that it would change the way I life my life.
Francis Chan wrote, "How we live our days, is how we live our lives." I had to read it several times as I let it soak in. Because it is true. So often we find ourselves waiting for a specific moment, a specific call, something special. For what? How we spend our days... that will be our LIFE. Because today could be it. If Jesus came back today and said, "Let's go!" would we be ready? Would we be doing what we want to be doing when we meet Jesus? People say to me often, "You are so lucky that you found your calling, that you know your purpose in life." This statement boggles my mind. I AM so blessed to live the life that I do. But it isn't rocket science. God did NOT part the sky and shout out to me, "Katie! Serve my people." I read it in His word. You can too. We can all see as plain as day that Jesus says the number one commandment is to love the Lord and love your neighbor. I happened to move to Uganda and love those neighbors, but that is not the point. As believers, we should already KNOW our calling; it is to love the Lord and love our neighbors by caring for them in whatever broken state they are in. When He said that "the poor will always be among us" I don't think he meant that as an excuse not to worry about it but as a reminder that there is ALWAYS a neighbor, no matter where we are, in a worse condition than we are. I can only believe that God created us to make this world a little better. That he designed us in love to show that love to others. I just don't know what everyone is waiting for.
I am so thankful for my sweet children and their beautiful example of loving their neighbors and welcoming them into our home without blinking an eye. When my head is thinking (don't judge me ;) ) "Oh my goodness. God? Do you really think I can handle one more? I was just starting to get used to Josephine being here and the meds schedule she is on... are you really giving me another one?" My girls do not question. They see a baby who needs love and carry him off to feed, bathe and dote on him as if it is the most normal thing in the world. Shouldn't it be? While I am starting to feel overwhelmed, they are feeling overjoyed at the prospect of helping someone else. Oh, what I learn from their beautiful hearts... As I remember the brevity of my life, I pray that I can live more like them. I pray that this whisper that is my time on earth would change the whispers' of my neighbors, would strengthen and enrich them.
So hug your children a little tighter and hold them a little longer. Say thank you to people more often and say thank you to God more often. Love your neighbor well today. We will be trying our best to do the same over on our side of the globe :)