Monday, December 17, 2012

Kupendwa (to be loved)


A friend of mine used to be frustrated that there were so many NGOs and missionaries in Uganda- but God spoke to her one day about how He has brought people from all over the world here and is rising up Ugandans to do a mighty work of healing in this country.

I get excited when I see an organization doing things well. Last week, Rachel and I stopped by Kupendwa, a word that means “to be loved” in Swahili. The woman who runs this ministry, Amy, was concerned about the prevalence of orphans in Uganda. As she spoke with the locals, she realized that many children are orphaned when their mothers die in childbirth due to a lack of sanitation, knowledge about birthing, or access to advanced medical care. This organization provides for spiritual, physical/health, and educational needs of women in several slums and villages in Uganda and runs a maternity home for pregnant teens to support them in their choice to keep their infants, and protect them from further assault, abuse, and other difficult situations in their lives. 

a little man
Amy invited us on an hour-long ride to a remote village with her crew, over very bumpy dirt roads, dodging huge speed bumps that scraped the bottom of the van, and passing pineapple bushes (no, they do not grow on trees). We arrived and were warmly greeted and made to introduce ourselves to approximately 30 women, several children, and a few men who joined their wives for the meeting.

pineapple bushes
Amy’s mother shared a devotional from Galatians 6:7 about how we reap what we sow. Take corn for example; you plant a kernel and end up reaping the same kind of thing that you sowed (more corn), you reap later than you sowed, and you reap much more than you sowed. This can apply to qualities like anger and kindness as well… if you sow kindness among your family and friends, you are very likely to reap kindness later on and in greater quantity than you sowed.

During the short devotional we passed out a meal to everyone who came to the meeting, and then the women had a health lesson from the Ugandan midwife who works with Kupendwa. She shared practical, applicable lessons to help mothers keep their homes sanitary (ex. stop throwing trash and dirty rags and anything you don't like under the bed), and taught them about how to care for their infants now and after they are born (nutrition, AIDS education, resources for birth complications, a free birthing kit for mothers who are in their third trimester, etc.). Birthing kits are vital for women who may need to go to a free clinic, since nurses will not help them unless they bring their own gloves and medical supplies. This was followed by a short prenatal checkup for each expecting mother, and the midwife helped me feel a baby’s head and let me hear the tiny, fast pulsing heartbeat!

I admired the humility of the local pastor. He did not stand out from the crowd, dressed in a blue full-length construction worker’s outfit, and covered in dust, as he worked on a project in his community. This pastor is the reason that Kupendwa visits this village- he asked them to come because of the horrendous high rates of child and maternal mortality, and gives up his living room for the prenatal checkups. As we visited, he explained that the high-quality water filters next to his house are free for any family in his congregation who builds a few items for sanitation: the men must build their wives a pit latrine, dig a rubbish pit away from the home (not under the bed), and a dish drying rack outside of their hut. This pastor and congregation live out their faith in very loving, practical ways!

Our van was almost flattened by an overflowing, heavy-laden sugar cane truck on the return journey. The driver fell asleep on the long journey alone (a very common reason for accidents here) and careened into the side of the hill. It was one of those moments where the power of prayer becomes so tangible (“Jesus, Jesus, protect the truck. Save the driver’s life- don't let him die!), and I could just see God’s hands straightening the truck after the enormous load was inches from taking the whole truck down in both directions. We were grateful for God’s timing and his mercy in not allowing our driver to pass the slow moving truck at this dangerous moment.

ones who I will miss dearly
Right now it is Monday afternoon, and I just went to the market for some treats for the boys for my last night in Uganda. Tomorrow afternoon I start the long trek across continents, going back in time 11 hours (my flight plan estimates the entire trip to be 6 hours). Please pray for traveling mercies, and for the boys, uncles, and aunties during this transition.

Peace to you,
Lindsey ( :

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smart paper ties
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another use for old mosquito nets: football nets!

Bible study on identity in Christ

His word is sweeter than honey

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