When You Find a Home

March 14, 2012
 Imani women laughing

For some reason, before this year, I had never actually watched the African Queen. Which seems absurd from someone who spends most of her time in East Africa. I decided on my sabbatical that this was a wrong which needed to be righted. What struck me most was the determination of Catherine Hepburn.

She had a dream and she was going to hold tight to it, no matter what storm or marsh or rapids she had to face. I spend my life so close to the Nile which that tiny boat traversed down. It reminded me of the wonder in it all.

Of the adventure of living this raw, simple life.

Last month I spent sitting in a snowy refuge watching the icicles suspend from the roof of my retreat. And this month, I returned to my beloved town of Gulu, Uganda, which has changed in my absence, my town born of dust and dirt.

And heat.

I spend a day cleaning the dust from the clothes and shelves. 3 months worth of absence. Dry season here, and yet me, so full of hope.

Because this is home.

This place where if you eat the wrong thing you might poop on yourself—yes, this is it. And when people ask me why I love it, the only thing I can say is because it makes me desperate and clinging to my Father for fresh bread every day. 

Things are different here. The girls have grown 2 inches overnight, I have two American volunteers, one who is my Assistant (whoohoo!) I have staff that have left and new staff that have joined us. More women who needs jobs, more children who need a home. There are holes which need to be filled.

The need for healing which seems ever more present around me.

But then there are the blessings.

Our women have grown and changed. A team has come to encourage us.

We walk through the narrow, muddy slums to the women’s houses to pray. It takes us many hours to reach them all but we do it with joy because the reality has gone deep into our bones. Whatever we do for them, we are doing for Jesus. The team washes their feet. And I want to cry at the extravagance of love.

The women open up and are vulnerable and reveal to us the secret things which require prayer.

So much in their lives which could leave them hopeless:

AIDS

Abuse

Broken relationships

Sick children

Not enough school fees

And yet the smile when I greet them in the morning at work says they still believe. 

Elizabeth, one of our Imani women, has taken 4 children into her home which are not hers. She cares for them as a mother.

These are the beautiful ripples of love lived out and given away. As it’s been received. These women are my African Queen’s. Strong. And they keep fighting. 

What remains the same is the relationships and the love between us. It is not about numbers or results for us. It is about the woman or child in front of us, who needs love.

I find that the burdens are so much easier to bear, because Jesus is carrying them and I am letting him.

The mornings before the sun rises is hallowed ground.

There are still budgets, and deadlines, and too many people to meet with for 3 hours, and children to hug, and people to be encouraged, and hospital trips to make, but I find my orientation to it all has changed.

My Father gives me this piece of bread to give away for today. 

He meets with me today. There is enough faith for this mountain today.

Enough gold He puts in me for today. So I can give it away.

And tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.

I can enjoy this journey down the Nile into the heart of the unknown, with a mission and a dream.

Because after all, there is always a Rescuer.

**We would like to say a special thank you to all of you who gave towards our Van. God provided all the $20,000 we needed through people like you! We are overwhelmed with gratitude for this supernatural provision.

**You can still sponsor an Imani woman for only $25 a month a receive a free necklace in the mail.

Related Posts

Dreaming new dreams
How to Become Brave
How to Have Character