Friday, February 26, 2016

U Turn

Through the window of my office I overheard yet another plea for a short term loan.

The young man insisting my wife give him a loan was struggling to understand her English ... prompting me to leave the safe confines of my office and enter the dreaded mine field of micro loans in the developing nation of Uganda.

Several years ago, a benefactor gifted Next Generation Ministries with a significant amount of money as a foundation for short term micro loans to assist Africans.  To evaluate the effort as completely frustrating and a huge disaster would be an understatement.

I began to launch into warnings about the borrower being a slave to the lender and how most people who have borrowed from us have never paid us back when I began to hear something different in my head.

"You man!  What's wrong with you?  The $60 this man wants is little money.  You have that money.  You are a king in the Kingdom.  GIVE him the money."

I melted as all resistance evaporated.

Patricia with  week old baby Enoch
The reason for Jonathan's need for money was common.  His wife had given birth to their first child a week ago.  He had initially taken her to the government hospital here in Jinja, but they told him they had too many mothers giving birth.  He should take her to the larger government hospital in the capital city of Kampala.  Since that was impossible, he took her to St. Francis, a nearby Catholic hospital. The baby was large.  Her small frame was unable and she had the baby boy Cesarean. The total bill was $150.  He had paid $90, but the hospital would not discharge her until he paid the balance.

Vicky, Meddie, & mother in law enjoy the moment
After slowing down Jonathan's desperate cry for help ... it slowly began to penetrate that we were going to give him the money for the hospital bill.

His face carried a stunned look as I called Vicky, the recent intern of MAP, and asked her to be ready for work in the morning.  She had another NGM adopted mother. I then called the NGM Maternal Advocacy Program driver and told him he had work the following day as well.

It was only after making arrangements for all of us to travel out to Nyenga that Pam and I learned that Jonathan had been looking for money all day.  He took off work and had only manage to gather a small amount of money.  Because he worked near our home as a boda boda man (small motor bike that provides transportation) he was aware that we had made small loans in the past. He was our last attempt before giving up.

Meddie shares Jesus with a mother who has had 7 miscarriages 
Pam and I stole looks at each other ... realizing that in a brief moment our hearts had been turned by the voice of God from preparing Jonathan for a hard NO to his request for a loan to a strong desire to be a part of what God was doing to express His love to this young family.

Jonathan arrived early the following morning with a light step and a big smile as he realized his family was experiencing the good and gracious provision of God.

As Vicky and I waited for the cashier to take his money at the hospital and the discharge papers to be filled out, our driver Meddie went across the aisle to do what he has seen me do so many time. He has been asking me to help him learn how to converse with people with the goal of sharing Jesus.

Patricia, Susan, and Vicky after an exam
It was a very happy ensemble of people that left the maternity ward and wandered through the campus of St. Francis to Meddie's vehicle. Jonathan's mother could not contain her excitement as she incessantly testified to the goodness of the Lord.  When Vicky stopped at a supermarket and returned with a package of Pampers, baby oil and soap, mango juice for momma, and 20,000 Uganda shillings to put in her pocket, Mama Jonathan (typical name for mothers) began clapping and raising her hands in gratitude to God.

We had just two more stops before leaving the young family at their home.  The first stop was to have Patricia checked out by our new MAP nurse, Susan.  Susan is helping the NGM MAP effort with post natal care for both mothers and babies.

Ezra talks to God on behalf of the new family
The last stop was at our home, the Next Generation Ministries base, where Vicky gathered up some blankets and baby clothes for a starter kit.  Susan put together some medical supplies to clean the umbilical cord on baby Enoch.

Then we gathered around Jonathan and Patricia, with the family on the veranda, as Ezra (an associate of NGM who specializes in media) prayed for mother, father, and baby.

Earlier this week I noted that Vicky had posted a single sentence on her Facebook wall.  It simply read, "I love my job!"  I think she speaks for all of us.

This is a lot more fulfilling than micro loans. Thank you Lord for the abrupt U turn.  It yielded a MUCH better direction.


  1. Wow! Thank you Jesus for providing for this family through a simple thought placed in your servants mind. Thank you Jesus he heard You and obeyed. Thank you Jesus that young lives are being transformed to seek after you and serve you. Thank you Jesus for a young father's persistence to find help for his family. May You oh Lord use him and his testimony of your goodness to spread the good news of Jesus Christ!

  2. Glory to God. May the glory of Christ continue to be revealead in and through you. May many sons of God be revealed as you share the love of Christ with them.


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