Thursday, January 27, 2011
"Mommy There's Someone at the Gate to See You."
Every day is filled with a wonder of who will come to the gate. Maybe someone trying to sell a monkey, a random stranger asking to help pay for school, or medical bills. Maybe just someone who has a little cut and needs minor first aid. When we first moved here is was a posse of children that were curious about the muzungus, and wouldn't stop climbing our gate, thought it was funny to knock and run away, and/or those children who wanted in for one reason or another. Over time, with the help of the severe conditions of the dry season, it has transformed into a variety of people who have various needs. It has been challenging for us and personally it has been brought many questions. With the amount of need that comes knocking at our gate, we can not help them all and really not all of them need our help. The reality however is that a lot of them do. Who do we help? How do we help them? How much do we give? I will be honest and say that my heart is not always obliging when I hear, "Mommy there's someone at the gate to see you." It seems to usually fall when Cody is gone and I am in the middle of doing school with the children. When I hear that statement I am not thinking, "Oh good, I get to show the love of Christ, or have an opportunity to bless someone with our blessings." Instead I am thinking, "Who is it now and what do they want, don't they know I am busy." As I am walking to the gate I feel this sense of dread because I have to speak a language I don't know, and come completely out of my comfort zone. Part of this appalling heart condition stems from the attitude of some of the people here. Many of them just want from us and many are so ungrateful or are not responsible to help themselves. Then God reminds me that I can be the same way toward Him. Ungrateful, and always asking for more. I come to His gate doing the same thing, with the expectation, "ok God what can you give me, here's what I need and want." He continues to humble my heart. I am learning to have compassion for many of these people because really they don't know any better, and I had someone from the team gratefully remind me that for this very reason we came to serve these people. We knew before we came what they were like. They are not always easy to deal with, but then again am I? (no comments on this please....lol) God loves everyone, not just those who are easy to get along with.
This morning I was blessed by what was at my gate (God does have a sense of humor). After the first woman left from needing many supplies, 2 others came about 15 minutes, from a neighborhood within Kotido (and yes it was in the middle of school). They were elderly widows, and have no children to help provide for them. They have no work, but if given the opportunity they told me that they would do something to provide for them, and this time I could see the sincerity in their eyes. I could see desperation I don't always see. They were hungry and asking for help. We told them that we would do all that we could to help find a solution. As always we tell people that we are here with Shalom Ministries and partner with them to help the needs of the area and that we would look into how we could help them long term. (Several years ago 12 women from this neighborhood died because of starvation). In the meanwhile I gave them a bag of beans and some porridge. Today the woman looked at me with grateful eyes and said in NaKaramajong, "Thank you, because of your generosity we will will not go hungry today."
You can imagine how my heart was humbled and subdued. I have been praying that God would lead us to who we are to help and show us how to help, and that compassion would continue to pour from my heart. It was simple, and didn't require much from me, but meant so much to them.
We can give them food for today but what about tomorrow? I can clean and bandage the sore on your toe but what good will it do when you don't have shoes? God told me not to worry about that part. Just live for the day, be obedient and help those who we can, knowing that seeds will be planted and that He has a plan and purpose.
Thank you God for loving me even when I am difficult, help me to do the same. Thank you for hearing my prayers and my "comings to the gate." Thank you for your mercy and continued grace, help me to give it back to others around me. Thank you that you never quit on me and that You have far greater things in store for us than we could ever imagine. Thank you for our supporters who give, so we can give, help me to not hold onto that too tightly, but give me discernment and wisdom to how and where it should go. Thank you for giving us what we need for each day and then some. Thank you for what you are going to do in Karamoja, and that you offer far greater hope than a full belly.