Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Blogger

My Heart Gets Exposed

On Location
The heat and the dust was the result of weeks without rain here in Africa, a half a degree north of the Equator.  But the level of discomfort from the weather held no comparison to the internal heartbreak of what we were about to encounter. Our daughter, Sera, has an obvious love for boys.  For four years she has provided a stable and predictable family environment for 20 sons, taken from the streets of Jinja.  But her heart of love for children gathers in more than just her sons.  Yesterday, with our driver Peter, Sera took Paul, Jeff, and me to meet three sisters and a brother whom she loves and wants to put in boarding school.  She has loved them for several years and finally made a commitment to do something about their deplorable circumstances.  Tomorrow morning we will pick up all four of them and bring them to our house for bathing and preparation for school at Fountain of Hope School.  In the afternoon we will take them to Bukeeka where Sera will begin to pay their school and boarding fees.  She doesn't know how yet, but Robert, the director of the school and an associate of Next Generation Ministries, said she can bring them, with what money she has, and work to pay off the balance.

A mother's broken life
I was undone by meeting these sad looking children. I had previously been by their place one time when my boda Peter took me for a ride on his bike.  He drove cautiously down a steep dirt path, to a bridge that carries trains and  pedestrians across the Nile River, to just watched the water.  On the way, we passed this dump/shack site and I wondered how anyone could actually live there.  It's about a 10 foot span from the path to the 200 foot drop off to the river.  Yesterday we meet the children who live there with their mom.  We observed a group of 8 men who appeared to be doing what they do day in a day out.  They were sitting, with empty eyes and empty faces on benches, obviously attempting to cover their misery with alcohol. A lone woman sat on one end.  She was the mother who was also limping through the day by drinking.  Her face contained the same hollowness.  

May Jesus give her hope & joy
For sure the girls and their older brother need rescuing.  We met them and got acquainted with them.  We asked the mother if she gave her permission for her children to be taken from her and put in boarding school.  She gave her consent with a look of relief.  The children were very happy.  As Paul and I walked hand in hand up the hill to our van, the three girls and their brother walked ahead of us, clinging to "mama" Sera.  I began to wonder all sorts of things.  How do these children feel about leaving their mom?  Will they miss her?   And what about their mom?  How does the mom feel about all her kids leaving?  When school breaks for a holiday, where will these girls go?  Can they come back to this place? (I think not.)  Even the brother is going to the school.  I had lots of mixed emotions and thoughts.  Nothing was funny  to me the rest of the day.  It's much easier for someone to send support for school fees, or supplies, or clothes, but to see with my own eyes, the whole situation ... well, it's hard.  Just hard.  There are no easy solutions to such challenges.  I'm grateful for Sera's heart for these kids ... and her big step of faith to help them.  Only God can make a way for them and make them new.

Sera has a big heart and loves children
This morning I was writing an email to one of the team leaders who is coming to Uganda with a group the end of this month.  She had asked me, "what can we bring with us to meet some needs there?"  I wrote, "if you wanted to bring some clothes for these kids, anything would be better than what they have. As poor as they were and as filthy as they appeared, as we left Sera told us how good they looked to her. She even described them as clean because she had given them soap, some clothes, and they were now looking much better.  Good thing she told me or I never would have guessed.  I don't want to know what they were like before I saw them yesterday. I'm guessing the girls would wear girls sizes  6, 8 and 10-12.  It's a guess.  I think the boy might wear a boys 14."

One side of our heart rejoices .. the other side hurts
Alcohol can be a thief, a liar, and a killer.  One of the things that motivated Sera to care for these siblings is the fact that none of them drink.  Too many children, living within a cocoon of drunkenness, like these children, begin drinking at an unbelievably young age.  I believe God has spared them for a reason.  Just before leaving them, Paul gathered them around me and we prayed for them and the new life they will begin tomorrow.  I can only wonder, "how will they do without a mother?"  As much as I dislike the boarding school concept, to some children, like these, it must be a Godsend.  

The book my husband, Paul, wrote features our daughter Sera, her staff, her boys, and some friends from the West who have been a part of making Sera's Caring Place what it is.  After adding six more pages, he and Sera have finished the final editing and proofing and the book should now be in our office in Oregon.  Please order a copy of this beautiful and heart warming book for $50. Write FINDING FAMILY in the memo line of your check and mail it to Next Generation Ministries, 29940 South Dhooghe Road, Colton, OR 97017.

If you have an interest in helping Sera with her "new family," you can send a check to the same address and write SERA'S GIRLS in the memo line.  You will receive a tax deductible receipt.
(Pam Hunter)

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