(a post by Mommy Emily)
Her name was Solange. She was as thin as an extinguished matchstick, sitting there in the dark in her parents’ living room where she’d been confined to the corner for life because she was blind, and mute, and a disgrace to her people.
They preferred to pretend she wasn’t there and she thought life to be a very dark, very lonely place.
I found her there, in the corner of her house, when I was two. My parents worked with Christian Blind Mission in the Congo and Nigeria. We moved there from Canada when I was 13 months and the words I’d been starting to speak got all stuffed back into my throat and wouldn’t find their way back out until I turned four.
So Solange and I had this in common. Neither of us speaking, but my blue eyes finding her shrunken in the shadows of her tiny house, squatting there like she’d had an accident.
I put my little hand on her thin arm and she jumped because no one ever touched her. Love surprises you like that. And then Love pulls you up, in its two year old body and its bunchy cloth diaper, and it leads you barefoot into the sunlight.
It’s no wonder Jesus said better a millstone be tied around someone’s neck than something should happen to one of His children, because children get it. They see the injustice. They see the person who’s hurting and they don’t ask questions, they just love.
That’s what we’re trying to do, here at The Lulu Tree.
We’re trying to be like children.
We don’t have the answers.
We’re very much like two year olds in bunchy cloth diapers walking barefoot and mute in a culture we don’t understand. But mute is the best way to be when you don’t know the culture. It’s how to walk the hard path of helping without hurting.
Because it forces you to listen. It forces you to see. And it compels you to act (silently) on behalf of the ones in the corner.
Our school dorms are being constructed in Jinja—they’ll be completed third week of this month, Lord willing, and God’s provided for simple bathrooms and a small kitchen too, and we’re giddy about it because the girls who will be staying there are the Solange’s of Uganda. These teen girls, many of whom got tricked or forced into pregnancy, simply for a meal or a place to stay, or because they were told these men could take their period away for 9 months—these girls have been shoved into the corners of their culture. They’re a disgrace to their families, and they’ve been abused by their teachers in front of their classmates, shown to be a ‘bad example’ to the other students.
They were in the dark when we found them. Many have never known kindness. All of them have been rendered voiceless. These children, bearing children.
And so we’re tiptoeing into the darkness and touching their arm, pulling them up and leading them into the light.
That’s all we can do. I mean, we’re infants practically. We’re so very dependent on our Heavenly Father, and He is faithful. We bring them into the light and He does the rest. He reaches down from heaven and heals their aching hearts.
But we stand there, beside them, our hands on their arms, a vessel, while His love pours down.
Praises & Prayers
*Praises for the generosity of the engineers in Uganda, who have blessed the School of Hope students with an $18,000 bathroom facility for only $3,000! They have also gifted the foundation for a future study hall/chapel, in faith that the Lord will provide the walls and roof;
*Praises for the dorms nearly being completed, allowing us to shelter close to 30 teen mamas and their babies;
*Praises for our Katwe team of mamas who will be joining our Jinja mamas to help care for their babies and oversee the farm;
*Praises for our dairy cow giving birth to a hefty bull named Jordan;
*Praises for a fence to protect our maize from the goats;
*Prayers for a van to transport the girls;
*Prayers for the Lord to supply partner schools in the Jinja vicinity who will allow us to use their classrooms in the evenings;
*Prayers for God to sustain and bless the volunteer teachers at the School of Hope, and to provide others as well;
*Prayers that the Lord will provide funds needed for a fence, animal shelters, and tools for the demonstration farm at School of Hope;
*Prayers for safe deliveries for all of our pregnant mamas.