One of the days we were in Uganda, we were able to visit the nearby village. Dennis, the local pastor, recently had started going hut to hut to get to know the community and share Jesus with them. I was a bit nervous- house to house?- but Ugandans love it. Immediately they invite you in, grab you a chair and offer you a drink. No formalities. No small talk. Right away you jump in and hear their stories.
The first hut we entered into broke my heart. Tears still run down my cheeks when I think of sweet Betty and her daughter Deborah. Betty must have been late 20’s, maybe 30’s, skinny as a rail and sitting on her mattress in the middle of the hut. She had aids, and was quickly deteriorating. She had medication, but it was past the point of being helpful; she was dying. She only had been eating a cup of porridge each day, and although her daughter was there to take care of her, she and her brother both had aids as well. We laid hands on her and uplifted her to Jesus, for strength and comfort. We left the hut and I stood aside for a few minutes to catch my breath. Okay, tears gushed. It was surreal. You hear those stories, but I had never actually seen someone dying from aids, or someone on their deathbed. I felt so helpless; there was nothing I could do but pray for her. There wasn’t any medicine we could have given her to help. And yet, this is reality for Ugandans. It’s not unusual. That’s why they can talk so freely about salvation and life and death, because there in Uganda it goes quickly.
The rest of our time in the village was sweet. We walked through the cornfields, met families, ate mangos right off the tree, and laughed with the locals. We held baby pigs (so cute!), sang worship songs with the church, and prayed for one another. I saw the beauty of community, the blessing of opening your heart to new people, and the joys of simplicity. One thing I love about Ugandans is that they are all about people- far more than things or tasks. I think that’s what Jesus desires- to work hard, yes, but also to be okay if we’re interrupted. To see others’ needs and serve, even if it’s inconvenient. To ask questions, get to know peoples’ stories and to boldly ask to pray for them because there’s blessing in that.
Here are some photos of our time in the village: