She lies naked on the cold cement floor of the local "hospital". She is unable to walk and has been this way for a while. Her bedsores are untreated, and her tattered piece of foam is soaked through with urine that trickles across the cement, the stench almost unbearable.
I bend to greet her, taking her withered hand in mine. Her cloudy eyes light up and a smile shows rotten teeth as she struggles to pull her thin sheet over her exposed body.
"The hard work has made her old before her time," the nurse tells me. He claims she is 60, but her cloudy eyes, white hair and rotten teeth suggest otherwise.
Two weeks ago she was raped. She was unable to walk...unable to escape...unable to defend herself.
Someone brought her to the health center where she has been lying, alone, since then.
"Her children live away...there is no one to cook for her, no one to care about her. If we
were not giving her porridge every day she would have died by now," the nurse tells Misty and I. "We just need someone to cook for her...we will provide the food if only they can cook it. But there is no one. No one will help her," he says.
I am overwhelmed with anger as I drive home. Raped...this old woman who has nothing and no one. This old woman who is helpless and alone...defenseless...crippled...raped...
I can't wrap my mind around it. I can't fathom the evil in this world. Once again I struggle to hold onto hope...the promises of God...
"For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever." Psalm 9:18
"For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight" Psalm 72:12-14
Precious is their blood...precious is their suffering. These are his lost sheep, those he left the 99 to find: the poor, the needy, the broken, the hungry, the lonely, the abandoned...they are HIS. His children...He created them for himself and loves them more than his own life. He died so that they could have hope.
THIS is the good news, the gospel.
There is hope...hope for the hopeless. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow, hope for eternity. There is a better life now...one of love, peace, and healing...one where you can be forgiven and learn to forgive...one where griefs are comforted by one who is familiar with them...one where we can live in freedom from guilt and shame...one where we can know the One who knows us intimately and loves us still.
And so tomorrow we will go back. We will bring food. We will bring clothes. We will bring soap and blankets. We will bathe her and feed her. We will smile and chat We will bring hope, His hope.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
'For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered,'
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:
I've been reading many of Paul's epistles lately over and over, and one particular thought sticks in my head..."my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9 When I read this I think it is saying that God's strength can be seen when things are accomplished by means in which we are weak. Still, I cannot look around and see this to be true in my own life. I wonder if it takes a touch of humility to let your weaknesses be exposed to such an extent. Yes...I think this must be it. To allow God to work in our weaknesses we must let our guard down for all to see them as they are. Our culture and our society teaches us from day one to manage our weaknesses, become efficient enough in those areas so that they are never exposed. Paul seems to say "use your strengths" (Eph. 4:11-13) and "let your weaknesses be seen" 2 Cor. 12:9-10.
Being in Northern Uganda, I have plenty of opportunities to let my weaknesses be seen. I can't even go to the market and buy food with the language proficiency of a 6 yr. old. Do I use a translator when I have a chance, or do I struggle to make a simple sentence on my own, knowing that I will get all the verb tenses wrong? I naturally gravitate toward doing things in which I am an expert, but I constantly feel God pulling me into places where I become the idiot. I pray for humility almost every morning, and I can see that God is trying hard to answer my prayer...and this prayer will bring Him glory. There have been many struggles lately, but as I look back on my struggles I see only beauty in them. It is the days when I take the easy road, hole up at my house, or dodge the inconveniences of life that I know I have quenched the Spirit's desire to work in me.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings - Kenneth
(since I have your attention, here are a few prayer requests)
- We are training possible leaders for house churches this
week on Tues. and Wed. Pray for good communication
and the Spirit to be at work.
- There is a man, Lokiria, who has elephantitis from the waist
down and is in bad shape. He has developed bad lifestyle
habits to deal with his condition and the pain. Pray that
God will use us in his life.
- We really need medical personnel to work with us. We even
had a friend here give us some money to fund that work
but at the moment we have no one.
- Luke 10:2 "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few,
therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth
workers." Help us ask!
* thanks for the prayers.
Kenneth and Kristi Williams
The Williams Family
Kenneth and Kristi
Nevaeh, 18 years old
Rikot, 18 years old
Ezra, 17 years old
Zion, 16 years old
Izzy, 14 years old
Selah, 12 years
Acuka, 11 years
Benaiah, 8 years
Jubal, 5 years
Jireh, 1.5 years
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