By Mommy Emily

Mum loved blankets. I could always find her curled up in one, in the corner of the living room, sunlight pouring like honey across her light brown hair, glasses sliding off her nose while she slowly lifted a spoon to eat her yogurt, a Bible or gardening magazine on her lap.

Mommy Esther suggested the birth of a new outreach when Mum died. She suggested the Jajja Yvonne Outreach. An outreach for grandmothers or jajjas in Uganda, named after my mother, Yvonne Patricia Dow.

Around the same time my sister suggested The Lulu Tree as one of the receiving charities for Mum’s funeral (I personally did not feel comfortable suggesting it nor do I actively do any fundraising on behalf of the ministry as the Lord has told me not to, just to trust that He will provide, but I was delighted, amidst the grief, to watch as my heavenly Father made way to turn beauty from ashes. To turn my Mum’s passing into blessing for those still remaining amongst us).

I was raised to give. I was raised to love. I was raised by parents who put everyone else before themselves – sometimes to their own detriment, but always in hopes of God getting the glory, and He has. Each of us four children follow the Lord to this day, and we’re all actively involved in pursuing social justice in our own communities and the world at large.

Mom, Emily and Keith in the Congo (1983)

And even though Mum struggled to sleep the entire two years she and Dad lived in the Congo and Nigeria with Christian Blind Mission (https://www.cbmcanada.org/), she patiently taught blind jajjas how to knit, with my brother tied to her back and me toddling beside her. Mum taught them how to knit blankets.

Mum in Nigeria, 1981

This month, Mommy Esther, along with her team, asked pastors to invite jajjas for the inaugural gathering, and 106 showed up. They sang, worshiped, recited Psalm 23 in Luganda on video for my family during our time of mourning, and they prayed – these skinny, wizened old women, many of whom have been abandoned, who’ve had land stolen from them by their own sons after their husbands died, who painstakingly grind millet for one cup of porridge each day – dancing, clapping, some of them so weak they had to sit but all of them smiling big gap-toothed smiles at the love they were being shown.

And this Christmas, it will be my honor to join my husband and our three children in the villages of Uganda to witness pastors distributing 200 blankets to jajjas, and providing a meal and drinks in honor of Mum and her love of Jesus and the poor.

We live to pass on the love shown to us. “And this is love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

And so we know and depend on the love God has for us (1 John 4:16) as we seek to care for His people, one hug, one prayer, one song, one blanket at a time. Until love calls us home.

 

Prayer and Praise:

Uganda:

  • Praise God for the first jajja outreach, where so many were reminded that they are cherished and loved by God.
  • Praise God for the conference  Pastor Richard Kazibwe put on in the slums, where Esther and Enoch also spoke.
  • Thank God with us that Joel has laid out a wonderful garden at the School of Hope, and God provided rain to help establish it.
  • The teen mothers in secondary school received school supplies and encouragement from the Uganda team, and are ready for the school year.

Sierra Leone:

  • Praise God that a large bale of clothing has been provided for the orphans under the care of Pastor Sonnel and the village!
  • We are thankful for the 12 girls who are now beginning school with the FGM Rescue program.
  • Please pray for the team that is traveling to Sierra Leone from North America next month, for safety, unity, encouragement and guidance.
  • Pray with us that the upcoming harvest will be abundant beyond expectation and that villages will have plenty during the hungry season.

South Sudan:

  • Rejoice with us that a peace agreement has been signed in South Sudan!
  • Praise God that the Prime Minister has approved The Lulu Tree team to serve in the Adjumani refugee settlements.
  • Please pray with us that the peace settlement will last and that our team in Adjumani will be able to connect with pastors and leaders in the coming weeks.
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