As much as I don't enjoy the feeling of being sick, there is something beautiful about being cared for so thoroughly as I was this past week. On Wednesday morning the beginnings of malaria began and I slept off and on throughout the whole day. Joel and Emma came over and cleaned my house thoroughly for me, knowing I wasn't feeling up to it. In the evening when Ivan came over I was at my worst in terms of a high fever and weakness. He decided i couldn't wait any longer to go to the clinic and we went to town to get me tested. The results came out positive, i definitely had malaria and was sent home to begin medication. We walked outside and as Ivan went into a shop to get me some juice i fainted on the sidewalk. All i remember was looking up at about 6 different Ugandan men all making a commotion and helping me up, telling me i needed to go to the clinic. From that time on i was admitted and put on IV. Even after a few minutes of having the first bag of fluid i was feeling stronger and better. But malaria is a funny thing... one minute you might be feeling okay, but then the next minute you are feeling terrible again. For those of you who have never had it and wonder what it is like I will explain the symptoms i had. You have a constant headache, your joints all begin to ache (this is often a warning that malaria is coming), you get a fever, cold sweats, temperature changes (one minute you're feeling cold and shivering non-stop, the next minute you're hot and need a fan blowing on you), terrible diahrea, vomitting, extreme weakness and no appetite for food (which is a sure sign to me that i'm sick as i never have a problem eating... ha ha ha), and, of course i fainted as well. As much as the sickness was not at all fun, I think rarely i have felt so loved as the way my friends cared for me in that hospital room all through the night. Ivan running up to my house multiple times to get me things (and even making me homemade chicken soup when i was feeling better), people visiting and praying for me, even just showing concern. I thank God that i was able to experience a beautiful thing, even though it was through a difficult trial of illness. I was released from the hospital the next evening after I had received my 4 bags of fluid that my body needed, but now, days later, am still recovering.
I have to give God the praise! I was in quite a predicament this past week with trying to get my visa extended (it had already expired without my knowledge). It was my own mistake, as i had assumed that the visa had been issued for the same amount of time that my first one had been when i was here years ago... Well, thankfully God provided a contact for me that helped me to get another one without too many issues. I'm grateful! I'll be watching the next deadline date very carefully!
Computer and Bike:
Another answered prayer is that God has provided Rays of Hope with a laptop! My mom brought it for the ministry when she came and recently we were able to buy an internet stick so i can have internet at home. I'm so grateful as the internet here works quickly and I can use it anytime i want. We also realized the great need for transportation to get around the village when we're up there and so it was decided that we would buy a motorbike to help with that (it is more like a dirtbike). Francis is enjoying having it to get around Jinja at this time and i know it will be useful as we make our trips up to Kaberamaido.
Ministry sometimes shows up on the doorstep:
One day i was home in the morning and a lady showed up with her little boy. Her name was Mariam and his was Reagan. She was young, i later discovered that she was only 23 years old, and had one lame leg. After some questioning, we realized she was looking for school fees for her 6 year old son to go to school. God really gave me compassion for this woman and my heart went out to her and so i agreed to help her son to get back in school, though financially was not sure how I'd manage... I just trusted that God would work things out. As we visited with her for the morning she talked about how she wasn't sure what to do, she had thought about giving the boy to a children's home as he often could not understand why there was no food in the house. As a job she would buy tomatoes from people and then resell them at the market which made little money. As i thought about it i really felt badly for her, that she couldn't work in the garden even if she wanted to with her disability. How difficult life can be in this society for a normal Ugandan, let alone someone with a disability who has a son to care for! A thought came to my mind... for Rays of Hope we're selling necklaces... maybe she could learn to make those and we could buy them from her to sell as well as ones that we will make ourselves. Well, it just so happened that a girl I knew from GSF orphanage had spent the night at my house the night before and knew how to make the necklaces! Mariam was happy to learn so that very day, as Ivan went to the school to pay the child's school fees, we bought the supplies and Mariam learned to make the necklaces. She went away that day with some hope, which in the morning had been lacking on her face.
A few days later we got a call that she had been kicked out of her home (the landlord had discovered that her son was in school and believed she had come into some money so kicked her out because she was behind on her rent), but Mariam had a friend gracious enough to have her and Reagan stay for some time. I visited her at her friend's home and saw that she was doing okay.
Some days past and Mariam showed up on my doorstep once again. She pulled out some of the necklaces that she had made and they were beautiful! Her first beads she had made were very imperfect but she improved quickly and the necklaces she was producing looked lovely. I encouraged her and bought the three really pretty ones she had. Mariam beamed with pride. It felt good to give someone a way to help themselves. She went home planning to finish more that she had began working on and soon, i believe i will see her on my doorstep again. It is her desire to move back into her place soon. Please pray for her that she will be able to do so and that God would continue to bless her new small business.
Rays of Hope:
Right now we're waiting on funding so we can begin building in Kaberamaido, and Francis is working on re-registering the ministry here in Uganda once again. Please pray for us that God would touch people's hearts and the funding would come through as well as all the paperwork that requires wisdom on this end.
We have started a weekly prayer/bible study every Thursday night at my home. Ivan, with his 5 years of seminary, has agreed to prepare and lead the discussion each time as I host and provide my home and the snacks. So far the turnout has been great, between 10-15 each time. It has been a really good time of digging into God's Word, discussing and learning from one another and praying about the many needs we see day-to-day. A special thanks to my mom who brought me 3 worship DVD's. They have been useful and very much enjoyed at the study!
Samaritan's Purse Water team:
A wonderful opportunity has come up for Francis and I. Samaritan's Purse is sending a team to Uganda in March to build and install the bio-sand water filters and we have been given permission to join so we can accumulate some of that knowledge as well. I am very much looking forward to this time... to reconnecting with Sarah (another former Sam's Purse employee i know who is living in Uganda now and will be leading this team), and with meeting new people and getting involved in this great work.
This month has been especially difficult for finances for me, with my visa being due, with my hospital stay, still trying to pay for my car insurance in Canada (it hasn't sold yet)... I find my fleshly self worrying about money, and then the spiritual part of me stepping back and saying, 'NO, i have to trust God, as i know that God always provides in his time'. This, in fact, is what i longed for in North America, to be dependent upon God, even in this area. Well, now i have to be. Still, it requires prayer.
So please pray for me that God would provide month by month for my needs, and that God would help me in whatever way he chooses to to get rid of my debt as well that i still have outstanding in Canada. I thought it was by my car selling in Canada but it still hasn't sold... I trust God knows what's best and it will happen in His time.
A friend coming?!
I may possibly have a friend coming here to visit me in May... my friend Heather. Please pray that this works out. It would be a gigantic blessing to see someone from home. I'm not a person who misses home very often, but lately i find myself longing for Canada a lot... maybe it is the power always going off in my house, maybe it is the fact that my brother and sister in law just had a baby girl i won't see until September, maybe it is the fact that i was sick or the fact that i still feel scattered with ministry in that not a whole lot can happen yet with Rays of Hope. Either way, I've been longing for home.
Well, that is about it for now... I'm glad to have finally caught up on this blog... the rain has not stopped all morning long, so without a vehicle I am housebound today, as are most Ugandans... my plan was to visit the Sonrise babies today as i am missing them terribly, get some groceries (as my house is empty of them since my illness) and wash some clothes, all of which were veto'd today by the rain.
Well, thanks for reading... thank you for caring, and thank you for praying.
I love and appreciate you my friends,