Monday, October 24, 2016

A desperate need. A fathers love.

The devastation of the reality will never rest easy in my heart or my soul. How do I make it known to people the seriousness of dirty water? How do they understand the depths of illness and disease that manifests in the water? How do I show the magnitude and dire need for clean water? How do I express that people are dying...that children are dying. The children just like the ones who are showering me with love in this picture. These children! If this picture were taken a year ago, another child may still be here joining us in laughter; and if this picture is taken one year from now, one of these children may be missing. Children just like your son, granddaughter, niece, or cousin. Children that are...simply and beautifully children. Playful, joyful, full of spunk, and sometimes attitude...never ceasing to amaze me with their unique and individual personalities.

I am not writing this to make people feel something dis-genuine or guilt anyone into anything. I am just wanting to lift the veil that sometimes blurs or blinds the truth. I have to admit, sometimes when I'm in the United States, I want to let the veil fall back over my eyes...hoping that if I don't think about it, it won't exist. Unfortunately, it exists. Then I begin picture the faces of the people who I now call my friends, and I desperately want that veil to be burned. I want the world to know and see the truth. I feel that if people knew, it just might be might change things. And if it changes things for just one person, one family, one village...then it is worth me attempting to help lift the veils that blurs our vision.

Today Jennifer and I were working throughout multiple villages that we currently partner with; and a father from a neighboring community was visiting during one of our meetings. Towards the end of the meeting, as I was asking if anyone had any more questions, he raised his hand. With desperation in his voice, he humbly asked for help. People in his village where very sick from the water they are drinking. The worms in the water have gotten worse, and it is visibly evident through everything from skin disease (you can see it on the little boy in the green shirt) to their stomachs expanding to a size that requires surgery. Now as I say their 'stomachs expand', it isn't like your stomach after your Thanksgiving meal, rather imagine a two-year-old with an NBA sized basketball in his stomach. It is so big that surgery is required to alleviate the pain and size, and rid it of worms. If they cannot afford surgery (which many cannot), death may be their only option. In the last month, two people in their village were operated on, one which was a very young child. Praise God, both operations went well, but now they (with the rest of the community) are back home drinking the same water that caused the problem. As he asked for help, every part of me wanted to shout, "Yes!!! We will help, we will drill a well." I am obviously not a father (or a mother), but I can imagine that my dad would do the same thing this man was doing. He would humble himself and do anything to help me, my mom, my brother, and my sister. He would make it his mission to keep us safe and healthy. He was simply a father seeking help for his family. The 'yes' resounded in my mind and heart as my emotions were running deep; however, I know their are still hundreds of villages that desperately need water. Thousands of people falling deathly ill because of the water they are drinking. I couldn't shout yes, but I could ensure him, we will pray. We will pray that God will provide a well.

Now many people (American and Ugandan) may not really understand what that means. Are we praying that God himself is going to come down and drill the well, or maybe just point to the spot...and poof, it will appear? Well no. Although both are possible for God, that is not what we are praying. God has blessed Villages of Hope Africa (and possibly you) to be vessels God is using to reach people for Christ (through water, agriculture, schools, and pastors trainings) here in Uganda. We aren't a ministry with unlimited resources, but we serve a limitless God. It is a body that God uses, a body of people that do a multitude of things (raising funds, advocating for the Acholi people, donating money/resources, serving the Acholi people on the ground, etc). He touches the hearts of people to give to VOHA, therefore reaching the villages of Gulu. And so it continues, we will pray that God will provide.

As we were leaving our meeting, we were dropping the father off at his nearby village, which was on the way back to town. As we reached his village, he asked, almost begging us to simply come and see the water source. As I pictured my own dad asking for such a request, I told him we would come and see. The children greeted us as we pulled into his compound, and we began to walk to the source. It was everything I dreaded, and something I have unfortunately seen too many times. A picture cannot do justice to the reality. I am praying, and I would ask my friends and family to join me in prayer.

I wish each one of you reading this could walk into the villages with me tomorrow. I wish you could hold the hand of a child, as I am certain they would bring a smile to your face and flood your heart with joy. I never want the joy of the Acholi people to be an oversight as our hearts are burdened because of the devastation. It is a joy that has the ability to lighten and fill the village, even when tragedy lurks around the corner. I want you to know that joy that penetrates the heart, but I also want you to understand the desperate need for water. So then I would walk with you...It is likely that we would walk with some of the women of the village to see the source that provides the water they drink. I would want you to see it with your own eyes. It will bring you back to reality with just a mere glance. It is a struggle. It is real. It is a need. I'm not sure how God would move in your heart, but I'm sure he would move. Maybe you would become a prayer warrior with us, maybe you would partner financially, maybe you would be sure to go back and share stories, both theirs and yours. Again, I'm not sure how He would move in you, but He would move.

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