Greetings in the name of the LORD! I’ll bet you’re all looking forward to Fall by now and some relief from the dog days of summer, right? Believe it or not, it actually gets HOTTER in August in Saint Louis than it does here in Uganda at the Equator.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Pastor Claudian at Independent Baptist here in Mbarara. A lady from our church at Kabazano had come to the regional hospital in Mbarara with a sick infant, and the baby had died. They needed transport back to the camp with the body. I drove the mother, the corpse of the baby, and her sister back to the camp. Kabazano is the end of the line. It is the furthest away, and the roads are pretty harsh. We drove in silence. I don’t know enough Kinyarwanda to converse, and they didn’t know any English. Ugandans don’t show much emotion in public (except at political rallies or soccer matches), but when we drew near to home, she began weeping, clutching the body of her dead child. There was nothing I could say. Nothing I could do that I wasn’t already doing. I sat with them in their sitting room. The mother covered her head with her garment and wept, and the rest of us sat there in awkward silence. They fetched a schoolgirl who knew English (they have good schools out at the camp), and she interpreted. The mother, weeping, exclaimed “I don’t even have a case!” I considered this for a moment, and then realized, she means she has no coffin. I asked how much coffins cost, and it was not more than 10 dollars. I guess you don’t need much wood when you’re making a coffin for a baby. I gave them the money to take care of it.
So many babies die here. This is the second time in as many months I have had to do a funeral for an infant. Next morning was Sunday, so I went out there for church. I discovered that this was the daughter of a church member there, but she had married an unsaved man and left the church (ladies always take the religion of the man they marry here, regardless). Simply driving them back, and buying them a coffin had ministered to the people greatly. It doesn’t seem like much to most of you, but transport and a coffin is a lot of money for a refugee. I tried to explain to the church folks that, although she had abandoned the church, we mustn’t pass the opportunity to minister to the family. This act of kindness, and their kindness in in attending the burial and comforting the family, could be the means of salvation for her whole family. Pray for these people. They need the LORD, and comfort as they grieve.
This past week, we had another of our Marathon VBS’s. I call it Marathon VBS because we have four preaching points, and we have 4 separate VBS’s for each, each day, for three days. We spend an hour at the first, drive to the next, spend an hour there, and so on. It keeps us gone for most of the day from early in the morning, until around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s grueling, especially on the toddler, but we make do. We so enjoy ministering to the children. Most of the kids who come, the majority in fact, are not associated with the church. There are Muslims, Pentecostals, Church of Uganda, and Catholic. They all come, likely to get the Kool-Aid and cookies we provide, or the toys we give as prizes for sitting quietly or memorizing verses, but they all hear the Gospel. On the first day, the total number was 257. On the last, we had 606. We don’t advertise because we don’t have to. They come. If we kept on going past three days, I think their numbers could reach even higher. This is normal. Amazing, right? Pray for these children, that these seeds we are planting will bear fruit unto salvation.
God bless you all!