Over the past six days I haven’t seen mama because for one reason or another I was just too busy. Too busy, swimming, spending time with friends, relaxing at home, schooling the children, working with locals, or working with the NGO we serve with. I worried about her but for some reason it wasn’t enough for me to set time apart to go and see her. I would say to myself, “tomorrow I will go check on mama”. Then tomorrow would come and I would say to myself again, “tomorrow I will go and check on mama.” This went on for six days. I would catch myself driving by the rubbish heap and I would half expect for her to be there picking food to eat for the day, but she was never there. Which made me concerned, but I reasoned that she has many rubbish heaps that she goes to, so maybe she will not come to this one anymore because she knows we will take her home if we find her.
Today however when Eunice came to work at our house, I just told her we needed to go check on mama. So we hopped on a boda boda and we were on our way. I expected to find mama’s house full of garbage again and I wasn’t sure that she would even be home as it was almost 9:30am now. So I just rode in quiet as we venture to her home. When I had gotten there I could see mamas barefoot, calloused feet hanging off the mat near the door. I was excited that she was home. When we entered her home, IT WAS CLEAN! There was no garbage anywhere. It was neat and tidy. She sat with her two cats wrapped in a blanket on her mat and she was just loving on them. She was somehow different. She seemed lighter, happier, clearer. So I asked Eunice to ask mama how she was doing. She said she was very good. Then I asked Eunice to ask her about the voices and demons and her dead husband that was visiting her and she said they were all gone. She was so happy that she wasn’t hearing the voices anymore and that they were leaving her along. SHE WAS SET FREE! Her joy was so real. I just gave thanks to God in the middle of that grass roofed hut and couldn’t stop smiling at the answer to this feeble womens prayer that she prayed while sitting in a rubbish heap. How amazing our God is and how gracious and compassionate He is!
Mama explained that her head was paining her. Her hair was so matted, as she hadn’t combed in in quite some time. So Eunice and I decided to take her into town and get her a haircut. In the mean time we also decided to buy her a bag of charcoal, so she could split it up in to small portions and sell them for income. The boda driver went to town and bought the bag for mama. She was so happy when she saw him return with it for her. She just folded her hands and gave thanks to God. Their now is an audience here of so many village kids and local women. So we made a deal with the local kids. We bartered with them. If they would take care of mama in the morning, making sure she got fresh water from the bore hole, helping her wash dishes and her clothes if necessary, and anything else she might need, then we would bring them sweets. They were so excited. Then one little boy said, “what about a ball?” He was asking for a soccer ball. These kids play with cavaras (plastic bags) wrapped up into a ball and tied with string.
So I told them if they cut down mamas tall grass around her hut with their thrashers (hand machetes), that I would consider getting them a ball. They were so excited. Within 2 minutes there were 12-15 kids all with machetes, clearing mamas land. They were working so hard.
Eunice, mama and I left the children hard at work while we headed into town to get mama a hair cut. I was so excited to be able to come back with a ball for the kids. It will be such a cool moment.
In the mean time, I released the boda driver that took me in to town so that he could go back to his boda stand and drive more people around. However, I was so high on the goodness of God I decided that I was going to bless everyone that was a part of our journey today. To explain this a little better, when you go shopping here, it is always like farmer market style and you buy everything by the cup or by the kilo. When they are done serving up what you want, you ask them for a bonus and they will always put in a little extra. Sometimes I decide that I will be the one that will give people a “bonus”. Which most likely doesn’t happen all that often to them because they are always shocked when I say that I am giving them a bonus. So I gave the boda driver a very nice bonus because our God does more than we can ever ask or imagine and we cannot out give God. So we gave him a few days wages. He just sat, straddling his boda, frozen, lifeless, shocked. He looked at me and then back at his bonus and he held it out to me. I just told him that God is good and God wanted to bless him. He continued to just sit there. So I walked up to him, shook his and told him thank you. He just smiled and smiled and then off he drove. I just couldn’t help but smile my self. I was bursting, overflowing, coming apart at the seams with the goodness of God. There wouldn’t have been a mountain high enough for me to shout from, out of my sheer joy and God setting mama free.
So Benson, my boda driver and Eunice when shopping for mama to get her a charcoal stove and a solar latern so she could see in her hut after the sun sets. The sun always sets at 7:00pm, so its dark at 7:30. We also had him grab a soccer ball. I then took mama to the barber to get her hair shaved off. She was so excited. We took her to a nice barber.
They treated her so well. I was so pleased. As she got her hair cut, I took pictures and videos and I have to tell you, I sure love this lady. More than words can say. And of course I had to bless the barber for his kindness to mama. So we gave him a nice bonus also. We just told him that God is good and today was an extra special day. He was sure happy. I didn’t think I could smile any more than I was already smiling but I guess I was wrong.
So then I took mama across the street to a grocery store. There is some tension between the Indians and the acholi people because of the way they are treated by some. So things can be very uncomfortable sometimes in the store. So on this day I brought mama in to pick out some juice and some bread snacks, as she hadn’t eaten at all yet today. Being that I don’t speak acholi, I had one of the female workers help me translate to mama what I wanted her to do. She helped mama get two bottles of juice and two packages of cakes/doughnuts. She was so kind to mama. So as we stood at the counter, the owner was adding up our total on the calculator. It went something like this, “this one, and this one, then this one, THIS ONE I WILL LEAVE OFF!” He offered to give us a free juice. Our Gods goodness is so contagious. For him to give that kind of kindness to mama blessed me so much. I think that Gods love that we show to others works in the hearts of those watching and they too are drawn to be a part of something, a part of grace, kindness and love. I was about to break down into tears, I was so overwhelmed by all God was doing. How many lives were being impacted through mamas story. The young lady that helped mama shop, was bagging our groceries. So I had an idea, I was going to bless her too. So I pretended like I was going go get another juice, so I nodded to her to let her know to follow me. So she did. When she came aronnd the corner, out of sight of the manager and owner, I thanked her for the kindness she showed mama while she was shopping. Then I gave her a “bonus”, equivalent to two days pay for her. I gave her a hug, thanked her again. Told her God loves her and wanted to bless her today. She smiled and as I walked away I could here her sharing with her fellow worker as she smiled and held onto the money. Somedays, its like you can’t give enough because you are so overwhelmed by the goodness of God. Today is one of those days.
After this I treated Eunice to some yogurt and we headed off the mamas with all her new treasures and her beautiful new hair cut. She was so happy to not have her head paining anymore. Mama and I rod the same boda boda. She sat in front of me and all I could do was smile as this beautiful woman sat between my legs, just smiling as the world was going by. I would randomly reach up and just rub her back and burst with joy over all God is doing for her. What a beautiful story of Gods love for someone we would see as dirty and unloveable. He truly brings us from ashes to garlands of beauty. Love being a part of the story He is writing.
When we got back to mamas the boys and girls we all there waiting for our return. They saw the black cavara with the ball inside and excitement broke out between all of them. So we calmed them down and explained that we would check to see if they did a good job on mamas lawn. So we had them tidy it up a little more and clear the rubbish out of the grass and they worked hard, partly because I told them I had to leave and if it wasn’t done I would have to take the ball back with me until Friday. Let’s just say there was a lot of positive pure pressure and they quickly got it done.
So then we asked one of the local mums to help us out. We needed to keep the kids accountable to help mamma out. So the mum agreed to keep the ball every night. Then in the morning before the kids can get the ball they would need to get water from bore hole and bring it to mama and then make sure she has everything she needed
. When that was all done they could come get the ball from mum. It was so good to see everyone working together to make sure mama has what she needs.
God is so good. Through our volunteering to help her out, others have joined in the mission and mamma now has many helpers that will make sure she is okay. God is so good at stirring hearts to care for His people. The kids, on the own free will, went into mamas house, gathered all the dishes that we hadn’t cleaned yet, took them outside and cleaned them for her. I was so blessed to watch these young kids take care of their grandma, even though she isn’t their grandma , they were respecting her as though she was. What a beautiful sight. I am drinking from my saucer because my cup has overflowed.
Now it was time to give the kids the ball. They were ready beyond ready as you can see in the photos. I will post
videos my ekyalindtandikwa Facebook page if you would like to see their reaction to getting their first new soccer ball ever. What a great moment. They were so excited that they started playing soccer without removing the ball from the black cavara (plastic bag). Only after we called them back, removed it from the bag, took out the needle to inflate it with,
then they were able to play on. After a few moments I noticed two girls standing by my side. Benson, the boda driver looked at me and said, “we forgot about the girls, we need to get them one of those jumping ropes.” We asked the girls if they would like a jumping rope. They were filled with so much excitement, all that came out was ,”oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!” So off Benson and I went back into town to buy two jumping ropes, a hula hoop and a small ball for them to play dodge ball with. They were so excited. Even Benson and I jumped rope and hula hooped. The kids sure were entertained by that. Now that all the children were happy we decided it was time for us to go home. So Benson took Eunice and I back to the house so we could get some much needed cleaning done. When we arrived at the gate I had one final blessing to give. I gave Benson his bonus. He was so thankful. I just thanked him for being a apart of such a special day and for all His help. Told him how great God us and through the gate we walked.
I couldn’t wait to share how blessed mama was by God. Her being set free and all those people who were brought together to help her out and provide for her. Even Eunice was overwhelmed by Gods goodness. She and I talked about how we doubted God. How when we pray we should expect Him to answer and not doubt. We both expected it to not be well but God showed us that He had been taking care of mama each moment of those six days we hadn’t been there. That he heard her cry and set her free and healed her. I learned that the six days that I stayed away, were for a purpose, the purpose of showing me that it is God that takes care of His people. I learned that I can trust Him to take care of her even after we return to the USA and that is such an amazing peace to have.
Eunice, during our conversation, had asked me if I had seen her wash bins in her home. I told her that I didn’t remember seeing them. She was concerned that someone had stolen them away from mama. So we decided once again, to leave the work of our house aside and go back to mamas to make sure she had the wash bins that we had bought for her. This to was Gods doing. When we walked into mamas she was all smiles and mama Sunday was there with her little one strapped onto her back. I was so overwhelmed again by God that I thought I would be sure to break into tears. Here mum Sunday (sunday is her daughters name. In the culture, once you have had children, your name becomes momma, then followed by the name of any of your children. So I am most often referred to as mamma Isaac here.) Here mama Sunday had taken time to package all of mama’s charcoal up so she could start selling it. She didn’t do it because she had to or because she was gaining anything. She did it out of the goodness of her heart. She committed to helping mama out in the mornings to make sure she had tea and something to eat. Then she would return at midday to make sure mama had something started for supper. Finally, after work she would come and make sure her supper was ready and that she had everything she needed. Mama Sunday works all day and for her to volunteer to take care of a women who is not related to her at all was such a huge selfless act. What God was doing today just overwhelmed my spirit so much. And her pans were all there! I think God just wanted to show us how He was moving in the heart of mama Sunday. I was so thankful He did.
We hugged, mama and I and mama Sunday and I. We told them that we would be back to see them on Friday. Then mama Sunday walked us over to see her home, also a grass roofed hut. I complemented her on how beautiful her home was and thanked her for her kindness and off we went.
The rest of the day I swear I was dancing in heaven. I will never forget this day and how much God did in so many hearts. I was so grateful that he set mama free and gave her a fresh start and so many people to love and care for her. I am so thankful that God used us as an answer to prayer to help his child overcome. I never would have imagined that a year ago there was this elderly, feeble woman praying for God to bring help, and in His heart He as preparing our family on the other side of the world to come and be a part of answering her prayers. I am so humbled by God allowing me to be apart of His plan. I just wept last night as I thought about all the people God as bought into my life, and me into theirs. He is such a good good Father.
May you be encouraged to love deeper, help more, passion blessing and be apart of spreading the love of God and hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Amen