Truth & Slashing
We have just completed our 3rd week at the Institute. Our morning sessions are intense as we dig deep into why we are the way we are, why we think the way we think, what are fears are and what lies have we believed to cause those fears…all the while coming back to the Bible to see what God says about all these things. What is TRUTH. It’s amazing to take the time to think and examine and realize that I really do have a lot of fears and I really have believed a lot of lies, or half truths, which are even more dangerous than lies. And I really do think I am right! It’s been difficult to see myself for who I really am in the light of God. How complacent I have become. I can see clearly what I have used in my life to distract me from pain and difficult situations. At the same time there is hope because of God. I was encouraged to read in Hosea 2:14, 19 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” This was a reminder that God is gentle and He longs for my heart. He desires more for me than I desire for myself even. My head and heart are full and I am still sorting, but it is good and it is necessary.
On a lighter note, we have been placed in one of the seven family groups to joint them in their activities. Our family group is the Jonathan family and they have 7 girls and around 15 boys. We joined them this morning to work in the garden with the older kids, ages around 8 and up. We were clearing the tall grass for the cows because they are preparing the field to plow. So we used a tool called a “slasher” because we slash the grass away with it. I love how Ugandans think! It makes total sense to call it a slasher! I am horrible at slashing! There were little girls about 9-14 who were slashing circles around me. They make it look so easy. They hold the tool with both hands and swing it back and forth at the base of the grass and slash it away. I had to hold it like a golf club and swing at it. Of course they were gracious and didn’t laugh at me…they even thanked me for helping. I had to laugh inside at that one, but at least I tried! Taylor was a natural “slasher”! He did a great job. Trevor gave it some effort and Tobyn whined and had a poor attitude. We are still working on him and it all seems worse in the light of the other Ugandan children who are quiet and obey and work with happy hearts. We are ALL learning a lot here! I really enjoyed our time with the kids today and I think our working together broke the ice to have more of a relationship.
This same family will be going to another village about 5 kilometers away from New Hope to share music at a church. I look forward to another different church experience tomorrow and getting to know the kids even better. I think it will be neat to see them in action and may help us form friendships even faster. At the same time, we are seeing the orphaned heart in action. One little boy, who has befriended Taylor, has a habit of forming new friendships in order to steal from them. The family parents talked to us and we are honoring them and keeping the boys from spending time alone together. It is sad, but he needs God to work in his heart and heal that wounded part of him, or he will keep isolating himself from others. Another young girl is very quiet and withdrawn and I wonder what her story is. What kind of rejection and abuse has she experienced in her young life? What does she believe about God? I hope she will allow me into her life a bit so she doesn’t have to carry her burdens alone. God knows her story and He loves her more deeply than any person could. There is so much hope in Christ.
Last weekend we visited the local market, about 5 minutes up the road by car. We met a young man who works here at New Hope and we had the privilege of meeting his grandmother. We saw his home; really just a concrete bedroom and he took us to meet his grandma who also lived in a concrete bedroom. They do their cooking outside over charcoal and live such simple lives. I am struck over and over by their joy. His grandma was so pleased to meet us and welcomed us warmly. She shook our hands over and over and lingered as she held our hands. Oh how I wish I could have understood her, spent the afternoon just learning what her life has been like. She had a twinkle to her eyes even though her dress was torn and her body was exposed. She was a dear woman.
Also walking around in the same market was a little girl around Trevor’s age. I will never get this image out of my mind. On her back, riding piggyback and sound asleep, was a little one about 1 year old. This little girl was taking care of her and all she had on was a shirt. The older sister (if they were even related) held her bare bottom and they were just walking along the dirt road on a Saturday afternoon. The market is in full swing on a Saturday afternoon and there are people everywhere. It’s just a shock to see children with so little, really not aware that they have so little, just doing what they do…taking care of each other. It was a precious sight in a way. I hope they were walking home to parents who love them.