Post by Joanne Viola, Treasurer of The Lulu Tree

The verse has been before me for just about two weeks …

“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he place his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left” (Matthew 19:14, NLT).

Sometimes it takes a red letter Bible to drive the point home. These words came out of the mouth of Jesus. They were meant as a correction to the disciples, who were annoyed that the children had been brought to Jesus.

The flannelgraph pictures come flooding back to mind – the ones of Jesus sitting on a large stone, gathering the children around Him. A child sits on His lap, others encircle Him as He speaks words of blessing over them, and a smile is always fixed on Jesus’ face. Always.

The photos come into my phone, usually in the early morning hours due to the time zones. They never cease to amaze me—and may they always continue to do so.

He’s a young man, unmarried, and with a heart full of love for the children. A love only Jesus can deposit and keep alive.

Joel Lutaaya is our Co-Director in Uganda. Over the years he has held several positions, fulfilling tasks of ministry as he saw the need.

He has worked hard to teach farming to the mamas and their little ones, recognizing that self-sustainability comes from growing their own food, tending to the cows, and raising chickens. The little ones are beginning to grab tools and mimic the work they often see …

But it is his deep love for the children in the slums of Katwe that leads Joel to return to each month and do a Children’s Outreach there.

This month, he shared from Genesis the story of creation, emphasizing that God’s most amazing creation was mankind; the children grasping this profound truth in a personal way: They are God’s most amazing creation.

They watched the story unfold before them from a projector instead of the latest technology …

They sing songs and speak blessings over one another …

They receive a lunch of rice, matoke and bean sauce …

Joel speaks to the children with an authority that powerfully delivers  God’s message in a loving way which warms and nourishes their hearts, much like the lunch they received. Joel knows the children need nourishment for both their bodies and their souls.

And forty-nine children are led to Jesus. Forty-nine accept Jesus into their hearts. He sends a photo of the names written down so that we can remember to keep them in prayer …

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
(Revelation 21:27, NIV)

It is then all the photos bring back to mind the memorized verse from years ago  –

“But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (KJV).

We often become impatient with the antics of children. They can often be poor listeners who are rambunctious, loud, and silly. Perhaps we are the ones who must  “suffer” through their behavior at times if we are going to reach their hearts.

Jesus displayed a concern for children, reminding us that child evangelism needs to remain a priority in ministry. The hearts of children are like sponges absorbing truth and placing it deep inside. They are open to Truth for a season, before life makes them cynical and disbelieving. Joel and the team in Uganda know this.

They have taken the words of Jesus literally,
returning each month to the slums,
to the neglected,
to the children who need Jesus.

Would you join us in praying for our teen mamas and their babies for 31 days? Download the Prayer PDF HERE. Thank you.

Praise Report

-49 children came to know Jesus Christ at latest children’s outreach!
-Pastor Peter, one of Lulu’s pastors, gains political seat against corrupt opposition in village votes
-the School of Hope has officially started in newly purchased building, and a secondary school is partnering with The Lulu Tree to supply both a laboratory and library for secondary students
-the dorm gardens are producing vegetables for the mamas to eat, and the cow is producing much milk
-the slum fellowship has expanded so that many pastors are now gathering to worship and pray on Fridays
-150 pastors are gathering monthly for pastor training/prayer clinic
-a woman testified to her abusive marriage being healed at this last prayer clinic, and another woman experienced complete physical healing
-praise God for adding three new men to our staff – Shaban, Daniel and Yasin (son to Amina, one of the first mamas we partnered with in the slum of Katwe back in 2014)

-praise God that the FGM Rescue Program will start officially next month with the new school year, sending 12 girls to school and educating them on the value of their bodies in God’s eyes
-a feeding program put on by Pastor Sonnel Kamara is currently providing rice and gari for an affordable price to the poor in 12 different villages; as of this time next year, the harvest from this year’s rice will prayerfully remove the need for a feeding program
-the rice and fruit trees are growing wonderfully at The Lulu Tree Farm!
-a 20-seater van has been provided for Sonnel so he can increase the number of children he brings into Bethel
-a welding machine has also been provided so Sonnel can start to take care of the children on his own using the profits from his own businesses, and the crops from the farm

-the Lord has told our South Sudan team to make a visit to the war-ridden nation this summer; we praise Him for His leading and trust His guidance and protection as they seek to make inroads with suffering churches
-we praise God for the salaries God has provided for Enoch, Emmy and Baptist
-we thank God for the $1300 He’s provided for a hygiene pads outreach in the South Sudanese refugee camp of Adjumani (the pads will be sewn at $3/pair by our Lulu Uganda team tailors, Lillian and Gloria–again, with us since 2014)