By Mommy Emily
My mama is sick. They say she’s in palliative care. I found this out days before my trip to Uganda and for the first time in four years of traveling to Africa, I didn’t want to go.
I wept as I packed my bags with colorful skirts and flip-flops. I wept as I packed my suitcases full of the items people had donated – eyeglasses, cloth diapers, baby clothes, etcetera. I wept as I flew the 18-plus hours to Entebbe, Uganda. And when I received photos of Mum as I sat in a local restaurant the second night and saw how she’d regressed, I had to excuse myself from the table.
I knew I’d be seeing her when I returned home but because I’d been her caregiver for three years when the cancer first appeared, I somehow felt responsible. Like I could fix it somehow if only I was there.
And then we encountered the mama kit outreach.
It was a Monday and the mamas started arriving at 9 am. And they didn’t stop coming until 3 pm. A steady flow of women, some teenagers, some in hijab scarves, some wearing rosaries, all of them pregnant. We met together on the two acres of land God provided for us last year, the land where we’ve built a dorm for the teen mamas, a kitchen, and some livestock shelters. Esther and the national team had set up five big white tents and five hundred plastic chairs for the guests but they had to increase it to 800 when the mamas – who’d been invited by local pastors – didn’t stop coming.
We had 500 mama kits – birthing kits with simple supplies like a plastic sheet, string, razor blade (items they cannot deliver in a hospital without) – and 800 mamas. We had food enough for only 500 mamas – and 300 more had arrived, not counting the village children who’d shown up, hungry, as well.
Even as local worship leaders and pastors led the program and demons were cast out and hundreds came to Christ – raising their hands to receive Him in their hijabs and rosaries – even as their hips and bellies swayed in the “blessed mama dance” as Esther calls it – we prayed for God to multiply.
And He did. Though it seemed the serving dishes would go empty somehow, they refilled.
And when we started to call out the mamas by their names in the registry book, and they came forward to receive a mama kit from the pastors, the pile of kits didn’t reduce. I personally witnessed it. I watched the pile for 40 minutes almost without blinking, and it didn’t go down.
We had 500 mama kits and 800 mamas, yet not a single woman went without – and? There were 118 mama kits leftover!
I can’t explain that, or the food, except to say: God.
In addition to the 800 mamas, God had shown up. And He’d done the miraculous.
I’ve been a Christian for nearly three decades and I’ve heard the loaves and fishes story for nearly as long but I’ve never seen it unfold – especially with medical supplies. And I’m not entirely sure I realized Jesus could, and still DOES, multiply. But, much like doubting Thomas, I’m here to testify that I’ve put my hands in His pierced side and touched His wounded wrists and He is alive!
And I no longer weep for my mama.
I’m still grieving, even as I fly home, but I’ve met her Maker. I’ve seen His heart for mothers. I’ve seen Him pour out on them. And I take comfort in the fact that He’s taking care of mine.
I’m not in control. I can’t fix anything.
But He can. And even as my mother passes from glory into glory, I know that one day we will all be together much as we were that Monday – hips swaying, lives being healed and provided for – only it will be forever and ever.
In the next few weeks, we will be posting stories from the recent trip to Uganda. Our North American team was forever changed and blessed by the hospitality of our Ugandan family, and it is our honor to share the incredible things that the Lord is doing there through The Lulu Tree. Thank you for partnering and praying for the programs that are changing the face of Africa–one life, one church, one village at a time. Truly, God is using these things in mighty ways!