Reach Up Reach Out – Mission Recap – Part 2
We then departed to Mable which is farther north to stay at a Hotel and finish all the preparations for the big party day. The day before the event we went to Tororo to visit Pastor Ruth and her staff of 100 women at SMILE. Our job that day was to get everything stored and ready (2,000 backpacks filled with gifts) along with different colored t-Shirts for each of the age groups and genders. We also got to hang with several of the hundreds of orphans that were at the facility that day.
After this we lined up the 100 women and washed their feet like Jesus taught us. Then we did their manicure and pedicures. While this was going on, Alex Moreno grabbed me and said there were a few sick women that needed our prayer. I felt excited, because I knew God was going to do something powerful. One lady came to us literally crawling because her feet were deformed. So, she either used a specially made seated bicycle to get around or she crawled on her knees. As we looked at her knees they were all cut up, bruised, dirty, it was very sad. She said she had a few pains here and there, including her knees. As we prayed for her, I felt the faith build up in me to believe for a miraculous healing of her feet.
We started claiming God’s promises in the word about healing. She began to feel much better, but her feet were still deformed. She eventually said thank you (asanti) and crawled away. I felt bad. I was expecting a miracle. But then I also felt peace that God would heal her in his timing. So, I let it go, and approached the next woman who needed prayer.
She had said she had a severe pain in her stomach and was wrenching over, basically crying. We immediately began praying over her, and as we did, her pain got worse. It was if our prayers were having the opposite effect. So, I began to pray quietly to myself to ask God what was going on. Immediately I sensed God showed me in my mind a picture, or I heard him tell me that she had a generation curse, sort of like someone in her family line had put a curse on her, like a witch doctor or something. I then questioned God not sure if I was really hearing correctly. Right away I sensed an urgency from God telling me to identify this and cast the demonic curse or demon out. I had also seen a very clear picture in mind of two demons standing on each side of her pulling a chain around her mid-section and squeezing the life out of her.
So, with this sense of urgency and obedience to what I believed the Holy Spirit was showing me, I stopped us all from praying and told the lady what God showed me, and that God wanted us to take authority in the name of Jesus to cast these demons and this curse from her life. After this was translated to her in Swahili, she agreed and said he believed God would do it. We then told the demon to leave her and declared her free from this sickness in Jesus name. Then she instantly relaxed and smiled and was healed. This all happened so fast I was blown away. My faith just shot up about a dozen notches. We all then hugged her, and she walked away healed.
Then the day came for the event. The Bull had been slaughtered and made into stew in very large vats, together with rice and some veggies. We had also helped sponsor to pay for some merry go round type rides and those gigantic blow up jumping things, you know what I’m talking about…I forget what they are called. They also brought in a DJ along with some musicians and instruments (djembes my favorite). As we arrived that day, we came in our bus and as we entered the gated facility, we saw about 3,000 kids outside wanting to get in, but not allowed. These kids had walked for up to 5 miles to come to this event. The problem was that we could only allow 2,000, and there were already 2,000 kids inside the compound.
Wow, I was again blown away. As we entered the area and exited our bus, I was immediately mobbed by probably 100 boys, they all wanted to touch me, pull the hair on my arms (apparently men in Uganda don’t have hair on their arms). They began to shout and jump, and eventually I did too along with this hoard of boys. They wanted me to take their picture (many have never looked into a mirror let alone seen a picture of themselves). At some point I looked around the walls of the compound surrounding us, and as they had barbed wire on top of these walls, there were several trees nearby on the outside with several boys just sitting on the branches watching us. Eventually I went outside with Alex out the front gate to see all the kids standing outside that couldn’t get in. I wanted to say it to them. But instead they started throwing rocks at us, so we had to duck inside.
Well this went on for a long time, until it was time to sit them all down in their designated age groups and put on the show. The show was a few speeches (I made one about the importance of Fathers and told my story of not having a father), there was a lot of music, dancing (I also joined the dance contest, but was badly out danced by these kids…wow, they can dance). I spent some time teaching some of the boys how to play the djembe, and ended up playing with some of the musicians and received some fist pumps from them (to which one of our Watoto team members told me what an honor that was to receive).
Then all the kids were set loose to play on all the rides. But basically, during this whole day I was constantly surrounded by boys needing me to pick them up, swing them around, hold them, take their picture, learn Swahili, and just hang. Because again, there is no men in the lives of these boys. I felt everything being sucked out of me, all of my energy, my strength (did I mention how hot it is on the equator), and my life. But you know what, it felt GOOOOOOD. I was getting dirtier, more stinky, and germs everywhere, eww right? No, it was glorious. By the way although I did get my necessary shots for this trip, I not only didn’t get sick, but I felt even stronger as I was doing God’s work.
Then came the time to eat Bruce (the Bull). We first organized all the kids back to their perspective areas and line them up in an orderly fashion, then proceeded to bring the food to all of them. Then we all sat down and ate together. It was amazing. Later, after that it was time to present all the kids with their individual gifts. Same process, line them all up and distribute. Everything went great until the group I was handing gifts out to ended up about 30 backpacks short. After some confusion and deliberation, we then found out that that the local men who were hired to assemble all the rides had stolen these 30 backpacks. We then brought in 2 of the policemen that were outside guarding the gate and they tied up the three men together with rope with all three standing with their backs to each other and their hands behind their back tied all together. They then had to sit before Pastor Ruth who sat on a chair acting as their judge and jury while the police waited for her verdict. She questioned them, and shamed them, and afterwards it was determined that two of them were sorry and repentant while the other was the leader and was not repentant as he kept lying. Pastor Ruth then forgave the two and the police released them, while they hauled the one guy away. Local justice. We then interestingly found some gifts in a bag we forgot about in one of the storage rooms, that gave us enough gifts to hand out to the remaining 30 boys. Interesting how God works this stuff out.
Once the party was over and we cleaned everything and got ready to leave, we then gathered around Pastor Ruth and prayed over her for strength, protection and blessings. It was a powerful day that impacted me tremendously. I left feeling a sorrow for these children in these slums, that were just a fraction of the slums throughout Uganda and what I would surmise to be in the neighboring countries. For I knew that several of these kids would have their backpacks stolen from them after they left our compound by older kids or adult males. They would go back to their poverty-stricken existence. Several of these young girls that we were ministering to would eventually get raped and impregnated and some would get AIDS. I knew we had made a powerful impact on them and showed them the love of God not just in words.
I know we gave them some hope. But I also know that there are good people in Uganda like the Skinners and Pastor Ruth who have laid their lives down to bring this hope and restoration to these people. I know there are also many great stories to tell as well. Stories of children who were left abandoned and then were rescued and nurtured and educated and have become great people, productive members of the Uganda society. I do know that God can do anything, he just wants us to get off our bums and be obedient to whatever it is we are called to do to help solve the problem.
I like a quote from one of my ancestors Edmund Burke that says: “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good MEN to do nothing.” So, when I say MEN I mean MEN. Because one the things that affected me the most during this trip was the absence of men. The men are the problem in Uganda. They have shirked their responsibilities as leaders, as fathers. So, what is needed is MEN to come to this country (not just a mission team of 17 where 14 are women). Men who will be an example, be a father figure, and train the next generation of boys to become real men. This curse must stop not just in this country but in every other third world country where the men are the problem and instead become the solution. How does this happen? If you are reading this and your heart is not moved to do something then either you are already doing something great somewhere else, or your heart needs to be worked on a little by God. Don’t worry, if you allow God to do this, it doesn’t really hurt too bad, it actually hurts good if you know what I mean. But really all I am saying is men need to stand up and be like Isaiah in the Bible, and say “here I am Lord, send me.”
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