Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 3: sangalo baby home

Day 3:Beautiful disasters make miracles
Sitting here in my top bunk, still coated in bug spray and sweat, in my ambien induced state ( so please read with a forgiving heart) exhausted from a long day, but yet pretty sure I just witnessed miracle after miracle. When we saw mess up, god saw miracle opportunity. We were supposed to spend the day with street children with pillars of hope but things got lost in translation and that fell through.

So we were going to switch our shopping excursion in Jinja to the first part of the day and then George from canaans said we could visit sangalo (joy) baby home. We were all delighted! I had prayed specifically that we would go to a baby home and on Monday that got cancelled. I went back to god in prayer about it monday and was disappointed. It was hard. I actually felt like we were supposed to go there. So I surrendered it, it's his trip and he's in control, now he blessed us with this! So we headed to Jinja to buy some souvenirs. We saw lots of kids begging, lots of women making necklaces outside their shops, etc.  We actually talked to two of the women making beads (last two pictures) and they are part of the karomajong tribe. They both are living with AIDS.  The one in the maroon dress has lost a child to aids and has two other children with AIDS. Her grandsons are HIV- praise God. She makes beads as income.  We also bought a few things from Rita (pregnant in blue dress) who paints to earn income. Her husband recently left and she has 6 children and one on the way in 1 month. Here she was standing selling her things at 8 months pregnant.  She had an amazing story and the joy of the Lord spilled from her lips.  
So next, we journeyed in the bus with Ebus our bus driver who continually saves our lives (you do not want heart conditions if u sit in the front seat) and we winded up muddy flooding roads to the baby home. At first there were only 4-5 babies out (the others were sleeping) as she began telling her testimony we were all floored. She was an orphan from a very remote extremely poverty stricken village. Her name is Damali (sounds like homily with a d).
She said even at the age of 9, she knew the Lord had put on her heart to care for orphan babies. So she got a job watching a special needs child who couldn't walk or crawl. That child died soon and she got another job helping with babies. It was where she felt most free. She said- "when you know what god has asked you to do and you don't do it, then you are burdened by fear, sadness, depression. Obeying always brings joy".

She decided to start her own home when the director of that one died. She had no money, I think a baby and husband at that time and no home. Through her church they found her a small 3 bedroom home, cement floors, no kitchen, toilets, running water.
 Can you imagine cooking dinner for 20 people(2 mamas, her and her husband and the rest babies) without a fridge, stove or microwave? Warming bottles with purchased water, washing cloth diaper after the next in your rainwater buckets? This is the life if sweet Damali and now she has 14 babies in the home. She takes in the orphan, the unwanted/abandoned , the malaria infested, the HIV+ babies, the ones so malnourished a 3 year old can't walk or lift his head. She nurses these back to health, takes them to the clinics, gets vaccinations, feeds them. A can or formula here costs 11$. She goes through 3-4 cans a day. Not to mention rice and beans for older toddlers and cooking those on a campfire since she has no stove/cooker. Now if multitasking all of this wasn't enough to make this woman a saint in my eyes. You should have heard sweet Damali speak. She was bursting with wisdom, joy, tenderness, laser focused purpose. She is districted as a baby home but working on her NGO status. She sends the mamas/helpers home frequently so they can be rested so that they aren't short with the kids, that's a smart mama right there. Not to mention the prayers she prays. She prays for rent before they get kicked out, someone shows up with it next morning. She said this morning it was time to take all the babies for immunizations. (Moms out there you know how our kids feel after shots)... She said she prayed this morning that she would be able to buy pain relievers for the kids fevers. You definitely don't want a child with malaria or HIV getting an additional fever. Then look at that. God 'wrecked' our plans with the street children and we just happened to show up to "plan b" with a bag full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, kids vitamins, and 3 bottles of kids Tylenol and 3 bottle sterilizing solution. Hello God.
Tears streamed from her face as we pulled them out of the bag. She said "this is exactly what I asked god for. Now I can take care of my babies". Amazing.
Then she showed us the very modest house. No gates or bars in windows so she is worried for kids safety. No sink. No closets. Nothing but cement floor that the roof leaks on.

As we heard more and more from Damali, she was so wise. She spoke over my life and just shook me to tears. It was really REALLY as if God put on her sweet black skin and dropped down to talk to me himself. These are the notes I wrote down from what she said to me....
'God is asking something big of you. Don't wait until god gives you the resources. Just act and god will provide. You'll never have joy if you are not answering gods call and being obedient. God knows every orphan is not for you. Just open your hands and ask and he has already planned who your children are. I can't take in every orphan either. I just have to take the ones god has called me to. If you are waiting a long time for these children then you know god is preparing the ones he has for you.  He is perfect!'

Another girl said what about if your husband doesn't feel the same about orphans as you. She told us how most men in Uganda either leave their wives or have multiple wives. So she prayed her husband would be in ministry, and love babies. Otherwise god would have to take the burden of caring for orphans off her heart. She said she prayed fervently and expectantly. He now is so engaged with the babies. He names them all and bathes them. He will tell her to rest instead and get up at night with them. Praise god for an engaged husband to this woman who has 14 babies! More than half are under 1 the rest all but 1 are under 3. It's amazing.
Well the chatter began around the group that we wanted to bless her financially. She probably had needs of a fridge, food, formula, rent money etc, everyone discreetly gave a little money to our trip leader. In the end it ended up being an extremely large thick wad. They didn't know what to do. They sent the team out and stayed in with 3 team members and prayed for her ministry, the needs there, health of babies, wisdom for Damali to know how to use it, protection from the evil one not to allow people to steal from her (she has no bank account so money is just in house). He put the money in her hand during prayer and they opened her eyes and she teared up and said no. She said it was too great, too much. She knew her boundaries and had such self discipline to know it was too much for her. Can you IMAGINE that coming from a woman who scrapes by? Who grew up in a village with no education or money for food oftentimes? With more talking through she agreed she only had immediate need for the equivalent of 40$: in the envelope was $1000US. That is 4 years worth of the average Ugandan family income. That would be like a group coming into your living room, offering you a million dollars to live out your dreams and saying no to it because the money was to much, it could offset the balance of her focus and love and dependence on Jesus, it could jeopardize the children's safety, it would take extreme self concern to discern spending it. So first thing tomorrow am we are opening Damali a bank account!! She does not know the final amount, she only saw the envelope size it was in. Now she will have funds to buy her fridge, her washer dryer, possibly even to get water pumped to her house.
God made damali's dream come true today. We got to see miracle after miracle. Three sets of twins that survived extreme malnutrition, a 10 month old with malaria, a 7 month old who is hiv+, all from an orphan redeemed to rescue other orphans, a woman so spiritually mature and wise, she ran her business with wisdom, knowledge and gentleness. That woman is gonna have a mighty big crown in heaven. She ended at one point saying "god commands us to take care of the orphan. So I look at each child and say, what would Jesus do to this one? To that one. Yes there is my answer. "
this is baby Aaron. Damali is afraid he won't make it. He is HIV+ and very sick. She has asked us to pray for him.

this is a sweet baby named Julia. She is a twin and when she was found she could not lift her head and her belly was very distended from malnutrition.

On our way out she encouraged us to step out and hear god, the immediately obey him, don't wait around. Do what we have been commanded to do and you will find your joy.

Whew, then we came back to canaans and danced to the drum with 70 kids and did crafts with them til dinner. And I'm spent: emotionally, physically (thank u ambien my shoulders and legs are numb), and spiritually as we poured over that house, those babies and that sweet saint in prayer.
It's these days that are the best. I'm emptied physically but exploding spiritually with all I have seen and the miracles God has done with title obedience. Praise Jesus and thank you for your prayers!
Ps the girls L. O. V. E. getting these headbands. Even the boys ;) can't wait to infuse some pictures in here! Here is a picture of some kids that were staring in at the baby home from across the street! We took them over some headbands and watches and they were thrilled!

pSS. It is Thursday now. We just dropped Damali off at the bank. We also stopped by pillars of hope, a ministry for street kids. There was probably 25 of them. We heard from the pastor there and then the kids sang songs for us, played soccer, gave out headbands and watches and left. Now we are in the bus on the way to karamajong tribe. This is a group of grandmothers and widows raising children and orphans of their tribe. Please pray we can speak value over these women who often turn to prostitution or brewing alcohol to provide income for food and education for her children. The pastor said the more value they can show these women that god finds in them, the harder it is for them to sell their body to prostitution. Hope to update you more later. We are all safe and filled to the brim...
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  1. God is so much bigger than we give him credit for ! Thank you for reporting back to us so that we can be moved in faith and see his hugeness!

  2. Love following your journey. I needed to hear that obedience brings joy. Love that and need to live that. I can't imagine how an experience like this will change your perspective. Keep posting!

  3. I'm keeping up with your posts. It's incredible to read on "paper" as God is literally changing your heart! I love it.