By Mommy Emily, Images by Paula Bronstein
I am so tired my bones are weeping.
I’m in the Uganda airport, returning home.
My spirit, blown big from all the prayer and worship and love, deflates so fast I gasp.
We’re gone for 10 days at most on these trips: three and a half spent in the air or in terminals and by the time you get past all the jet lag we’re on the plane again.
Yet with three children at home under 8 and an undeniable feeling that staying in Africa would not be best for the locals, we try to keep these trips short.
I stand there, no makeup on, tears in my eyes, the rest of my team behind me. It’s hot. We’re like five wilted, sunburned flowers, heads hanging – a faint gust from the determined air conditioner picks up our hopes then drops them as it quits.
We’re in line to have our passports checked and immediately in front of me is an African man with a Christian hat and a humanitarian T-shirt. He is on the phone and his mannerisms seem familiar.
I’m barely looking; all the miracles are behind me, I feel, and I just need to get one foot ahead of me home to Canadian soil.
But God tells me to look closer, at this man’s bag, and there is his name, clear in black script: he’s the man who led my first-ever trip to Uganda, four years ago. And now he’s standing right in front of me.
So much has changed since then. Here I am leading my own trip. I tap him on his arm and he looks at me, hangs up on the person he was talking to, and laughs. “Emily! What are you doing here? It’s so good to see you!”
We catch up further in the chairs at our gate (little knowing we have an eight-hour delay ahead of us).
He’s just returned from visiting refugee camps in northern Uganda – refugee camps for South Sudanese, whose country borders Uganda.
It turns out 1.4 MILLION South Sudanese are living in Uganda in deplorable conditions, 84% of whom are women and children.
And I realize: the miracles are not behind me. They’re never actually behind us, friends. They’re always just a prayer away, and I’m witnessing one right now.
You see, as a team, we’ve been fasting and praying for South Sudan for 40 days leading up to the exact day in which I’m conversing with my leader – I was sitting there talking with him on the 40th day of that fast. We didn’t know WHY we were fasting and praying for South Sudan. We knew there was a civil war there, and horrendous stories of 11,000 child soldiers and child brides. But we didn’t know anyone who worked there, we didn’t have any connections, and we didn’t know how to start making those connections in the middle of a civil war. But God had told not only myself, but Joel and Esther – directors of Lulu Uganda – all on separate occasions, to be fasting and praying for South Sudan.
So we did. And now here was my leader, from my very first trip to Uganda, sitting right beside me, telling me there were 1.4 million South Sudanese eight hours from us IN Uganda, needing so much help.
And he turned and said to me – “Will you help them?”
Oh friends, how can we say No? When I heard stories and saw pictures of skin-bone children who’d been separated from their mothers as they’d fled from villages being burned by the army, of young mothers who’d watched their husbands murdered right in front of them; when I heard that teachers from the UN have 170 children in their classes, and saw images of pastors who’d fled the war scene with nothing, and learned that each family only gets 30 cups of rice per month…
I couldn’t say No.
I won’t say No.
And so, a branch has been grafted. Our Lulu Uganda family is very excited to carry hope to these refugee camps and to connect with the pastors and lift up their weary heads. They’re excited to do mama kit outreaches and prayer clinics and business trainings.
Friends – pretend I’m sitting across from you. I’m looking deep into your eyes, and asking, “Will you help them?”
Will you pray for them, with us? For the Spirit of the Living God to flow, like the Nile, through into Adjumani Refugee Camp and revive the hearts of every precious person there? For every mother to be reunited with her child? For the church to be restored and for child-headed households to meet with Abba’s affection and for fathers to stop fighting and for families to return home?
Let’s believe big. Let’s believe in Him for a miracle.
Prayer and Praise:
- Praise God a generous donation has been made toward purchasing a van for Pastor Sonnel. Please pray the remaining funds will come in.
- A wire sent to Sierra Leone several weeks ago from Canada still hasn’t arrived and we’ve placed a trace on it. Please pray it’s found quickly and the money safely reaches its intended destination.
- Pray for Marafen as she establishes the FGM Rescue program and prepares to disciple the girls and for funds to send 12 girls to school while they participate in the FGM Rescue Program.
- Pray for an abundant harvest of rice.
- Praise God that the fence, gate, and kitchen are completed for our teen mamas’ dorm, and a school building purchased for the School of Hope.
- Pray God will provide the funds needed to complete the classrooms and to build a bathroom for the school.
- Pray for a revival among fathers and sons in Uganda.
- Pray for funds to provide desks and a rainwater harvester for the school.
- Pray for the mamas who came to Christ during the recent mama kit outreach, that they will continue to pursue Him and grow in their faith, and for the 800 pregnant mamas who received kits to all have safe and healthy deliveries.
- Pray for Enoch, Baptist, and Emmy who are launching The Lulu Tree branch in South Sudan.
- Pray for provision of a van for the South Sudan team being sent by Lulu Uganda.