Monday, April 2, 2018

Love Got Us Here

There was nothing unusual about the journey, except I had never been there before.

Meddie, our driver, was simply following her instructions since he had never been there before either.  We left the main highway and traveled up a road that was very familiar to both of us.  Next Generation Ministries owns some land and a house on the side of the steep hill, upon which rests the palace for the king of the Busoga tribe.

But, instead of turning right as we would normally do, our navigator told us to turn left, and then right, and follow the dirt road farther up the hill, complete with the normal amount of potholes and washed-out gullies. As we gained altitude the road began to narrow and reduce until it was no wider than a well traveled foot path.

Before we started our ascent, a middle aged African man, had joined us when we left the highway.  As we all exited the vehicle, he approached me with a huge smile, began pumping my hand, and thanked me profusely for "all that you did for my wife."

He was fortunate that we were bringing his wife home to him instead of preparing to bury her.

Life is fragile here in this developing nation of Uganda.  I have seen more dead bodies in the 13 years I've been here than I can remember.  A week ago Friday, while taking a patient to Kampala for day surgery, traffic slowed to a crawl as we began to enter the rain forest.  Traffic was stopped from the approaching lane because a young man had just been hit by a large bus and was lying in the middle of that lane, obviously passed from this life into the next.  It's too common.

Florence Mukisa in the government hospital
A message from one of our NGM board members alerted us to the downturn a friend of his from their church had taken after giving birth to her sixth child by Cesarean.  I requested Susan, our NGM nurse/midwife/medical manager, stop at the government hospital to asses the lady's condition.

The NGM nurse informed me that she was getting a transfer document to take Florence from the government hospital to the International Hospital Kampala.  This mother urgently needed quality care and treatment because her life was threatened by her physical deterioration.  Her current medical care was either compromised or neglected.

It is now a week and one day later ... Easter ... Resurrection Day.  Meddie and I abandoned our plans for this day and drove to Kampala to get Florence discharged and returned to her husband.

As I visited with the maternity ward doctor, he told me that when Florence arrived, her life was threatened.  Though we didn't say it outright to one another, we both knew that if she had remained in the previous hospital, she would not have survived.

God's timing was perfect.  He used us to rescue an at-risk lady who had given up hope.  She was crying on her bed and genuinely believed that she was very close to breathing her last breath.  Her heart was broken because she thought she was going to leave behind a newborn, five other children, a husband, and other extended family.

The wound dressing from the local hospital
The wound dressing at IHK

Next Generation Ministries does not go looking for at risk mothers to included in the Maternal Advocacy Program (MAP) that is overseen by the NGM Medical Manager, Susan Nasuuna.  Those women are everywhere.  MAP could never meet the needs that exist.  Consequently, MAP waits for God to bring just the right women for this care.  Fortunately, the MAP ministry began with a generous donation by a friend of NGM.  We have assisted over a dozen women now, medically and financially, with the resources that have been provided.

Florence is the latest mother who has been taken from hopelessness and despair to celebration.

Why was Florence's husband so happy to see his smiling, strong, and able to walk up the hill with baby Moses to their home?  Circumstances provide one answer.  But, there is a deeper reason, just as I read from a devotional this morning:
Love made us all and love is what got us all here.  Which is another way of saying: sacrifice got us all here.  Someone sacrificed something, and someone, to get us all here in this country.  Someone loved something more than themselves and sacrificed safety and ease and comfort and climbing  higher up some flimsy ladder, so that you could get to live in this country. Someone sacrificed their own heart to get you into this relationship, this marriage, this community, this place right now.  (THE WAY OF ABUNDANCE by Ann Voskamp, Devotion #8)

It is more than probable that Florence would not be alive, and celebrating right now, if it were not for a whole series of people willing to build a bridge of love and sacrifice for her benefit.  Some expressions of sacrifice may seem big or small in each of our own evaluations, but every expression is necessary and so, to some extent, essential for the love finding its way to someone like Florence.  And to her husband.  And to baby Moses.  And to me.

Florence with Meddie & Moses on Easter 2018
God could not have given me a better Easter than the one He gave me yesterday.  Abandoning all my plans, just as Meddie did, so that we could drive to Kampala, love on Florence and Moses, process her discharge and drive her to Bugembe to meet her graciously grateful husband.

What a thrill to see life come back into someone who was dying.  What a blessing to be involved in some small ways:
  • to receive and administer the donations of people from America
  • to hire a full time nurse/midwife/medical manager because someone donated a year's salary for her
  • to make sure that Susan didn't lose her Easter celebration with her family
  • to receive and give hugs to a mother who was closer than close to death, but is very much alive now
It all reminds me of the Greatest Story Ever Told.  The one that incorporated rejection from the religious community, a kangaroo court trial, an execution by crucifixion, a burial in a tomb ... all those thousands of years ago.  But hope was birthed out of sacrifice and given to the hopeless.  Death was turned into life.  Jesus conquered sin, death, and the grave.

And ... love is what got us all here.  Love decides.  Love decides everything.

Thank you for your part in this great story.  Next Generation Ministries is committed to assisting other at risk women like Florence.  Is your part of the sacrifice to make a donation today?  Will you help us?  We have made an investment in the grace driven Gospel to be able to express love through sacrifices like this one for Florence.  Will you click on the Donate Button in the upper right hand corner and designate a contribution to our MAP ministry?  Or, will you write a check and mail it to NGM, 29940 South Dhooghe Rd., Colton, OR 97017.  Designate the donation for MAP.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story of death to life and life abundantly for for this family of 8.


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