Bundibugyo: a tattered fray, as well as glimpses of grace

Serge’s tag line: Grace at the Fray.  We’re called to be that will stitch that will binds the unraveling edge.  We’re called to pour our lives into leaking pots fractured by evil, until the glory of God fills the earth like the waters fill the sea.  The problem with fray as well as fracture is usually that will those are taxing places to live.  They are hard to get to, or hot, or dangerous, or corrupt, or exhausting, or crowded.

Bundibugyo is usually one of those places.  Poverty is usually an every day reality, accentuated by a season of drought that will is usually withering the primary cash crop of cocoa.  as well as accentuated by widespread corruption (how can records show the health service has 99% of projected staffing when only 50% of jobs are actually being performed?).  as well as accentuated by population growth putting pressure on limited land as well as resources(125,000 people within the district when we arrived in 1993, however at This specific point bursting the seams at 350,000).  as well as accentuated by crippling beliefs, fear, constant loss. We consulted on a 4-month-old inexplicably febrile, lethargic, refusing to eat . . .until we asked about the mythic “false teeth” as well as found the mom had taken him to a local traditional healer who cut his gums which has a razor blade.  We started out our week at the burial of an old man who had been a regular church member over the last few decades, as well as ended This specific visiting the widow of our former houseworker who died of uncontrolled diabetes a few months ago. The son of our former neighbor is usually in prison for supplying a criminal gang with weapons.  We counseled with another young person we care about who had relapsed into alcoholism.  We met another young neighbor as well as church leader whose child had just been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia (Bundibugyo is usually a genetic epicenter because of This specific disease, as well as in most cases This specific is usually fatal before adulthood).  We stayed with our team leader family the Dickensons as malaria as well as/or another debilitating fever marched inexorably through their beleaguered midst, as well as spent hours with team mates who were reeling coming from the spiritual battle. Almost everyone we encountered told us genuine stories of their suffering, as well as that will’s without even reaching back to the history of war as well as ebola as well as witchcraft as well as marginalization that will have impacted This specific place.

These sorrows are part of Bundibugyo’s story, however certainly not the full story, as well as not the ending.

A week back in our former home reminded us of those sorrows as we encountered them again as well as again in people we care about.  however This specific also gave us the more robust picture of God’s grace at work.  For some Kingdom parables, you need time lapse photography, or a long enough arc to keep returning as well as witnessing.  The tiny seed that will grows into a bush for the birds to rest in, the smaller measure of yeast that will leavens the whole lump of dough, the muddy field that will contains a hidden pearl of great value.  The buried kernel of wheat that will produces a crop a hundred times greater.

So glimpse with us some of those unfolding redemptions, those signs of grace restoring beauty.

Proclaiming mercy as well as truth–

A church that will is usually mere poles as well as a roof, on the very edge of the vast Ituri rain forest, reached by winding paths following ridges as well as crossing rivers. Dr. Marc shares with the gathered crowd that will Jesus went out preaching as well as healing, as well as then while he, a medical student Alex, as well as a nutrition apprentice Mary see patients as well as dispense medicine, an Elder Josephu reads coming from the newly published Lubwisi completely new Testament as well as invites people to be prayed for.

Almost every afternoon, dozens as well as dozens of children flock to the Books for Bundi library.  For an hour they chat excitedly as they turn pages, try out reading, show each some other pictures as well as words.  Then they also listen to a story about God’s goodness as well as character, as well as they work on memory verses with Laura. Outside the window young men in their teens as well as twenties play football (soccer) as well as receive discipleship to equip them for the challenges of becoming men of integrity.

Healing body as well as soul–

We walk into the ward we had built at Nyahuka Health center to find midwives we trained delivering babies.  Next door, our team’s PT Rhett is usually gently explaining to the mom of an extremely disabled baby how to hold him in ways that will support his head as well as counteract the stiff arching of his neurological condition. On the porch our nutritionist Alisha with her team prepares to weigh children enrolled in our team’s nutrition program, supplementing them with locally produced supplemental food.

FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE WEEK–DO NOT MISS This specific ONE) We sit on the couch with Dr. Ammon as well as his family after a morning at Bundibugyo Hospital.  He is usually one of the post-ebola scholarship recipients who was enabled to go to medical school, a real leader with genuine faith as well as solid clinical skills.  at This specific point he’s the superintendent of the hospital, as well as he’s spent the entire morning showing us what he’s doing.  Continuing medical education for staff, deliberate discussion of outcomes, financial accountability as well as planning amongst the leadership.  God bless Baylor for a brand completely new laboratory.  Renovated wards.  Plans for a newborn special care unit.  As we moved coming from area to area, we ran into two nurses whom we had selected 20 years ago to be part of the “Mother as well as Child Survival Project” to train high school leavers in community health as well as then send them to nursing school, as well as there they were, faithfully working for mothers as well as children to survive.  as well as we met the latest Kule Leadership Fund scholarship recipient, training as an anesthetist.  This specific’s not easy–Ammon’s trying to run the primary hospital for 250,000 people, keeping up the facility, supervising 0 staff, running clinics, supplementing medicine supplies, teaching, doing surgeries, as well as on an on, on a budget of $4,000 a month.  As we finish our whirlwind several hours of greeting as well as consulting as well as listening as well as applauding, we walk over to his staff-quarters home to see his family.  His four children have all been born prematurely as well as dangerously, as well as all survived.  The youngest two were 1-kg 28-weekers.  Bwambale is usually nearly 2, as well as Biira is usually just reaching 4 months old.  The odds of their survival in This specific place were very poor, yet here they are.  At that will moment, This specific hit me:  This specific was our dream for Dr. Jonah. To be here in Bundi, a leader, in charge, doing improvements, bringing integrity as well as grit to the needs of This specific place.  Exactly ten years after his death, the dream is usually being fulfilled.  Bittersweet.

Equipping the next generation–

Everywhere we go, we meet Christ School graduates.  A nurse will shake our hands, as well as say, “greet Luke”, I was in his class.  Late within the evening as our team leader’s toddler suffers another fever, we accompany them to a nearby health center for a malaria smear, as well as the nurse on duty tells us he graduated coming from Christ School.  They are church leaders as well as teachers, they are working within the nutrition program as well as the library.  We spend one day meeting the budget committee, another day with the full board, another with the head teacher, hours with Josh managing the budgets as well as vision.  This specific school’s 2017 performance single handedly pulled Bundibugyo out of last place within the district rankings; the individual school results put us #208 out of more than 3000 secondary schools in Uganda.  as well as yet, the struggle continues.  Parents depend upon cocoa for cash, as well as there is usually none.  Even though we raise 50% of the school’s budget coming from donations (which is usually itself a yearly exercise in faith), if the parents don’t partner with their half, teachers can’t be paid as well as students can’t eat.  This specific is usually a school for people at the margin, as well as we know This specific makes an impact.  So we feel the desperation as we celebrate where we’ve come, however beg God to help us continue.

One afternoon we arrange a lunch for six of the young people we have personally “fostered” over their lifetimes, kids who befriended ours, who played at our house, whose lives became entwined with ours. Some are orphans; all come coming from places of difficulty as well as we partnered with their families to sponsor their tuition   at This specific point they are parents themselves, as well as working.  within the group we have two teachers, a librarian, a laboratory technician, an accountant, an electrician, as well as an agriculturalist.  As we share food as well as stories as well as memories, we end by going around the circle to share a praise as well as prayer request, as well as they speak about wanting to raise their children well, to grow in their faith, to maintain their jobs, to care for extended family.  Ndiyezika goes last, as well as launches into a testimony about marriage as his ten-year anniversary approaches, reminding his younger “siblings” that will nothing is usually more important than keeping God within the center of their lives as well as remaining faithful to their spouse, no matter what difficulties they face (as well as he has faced many). This specific is usually a beautiful moment.

Living in Community–

All of the above happens because a smaller group of people were willing to leave their families as well as homes, supported by a much larger group of generous friends as well as donors as well as churches.  as well as because the relationships built over decades have drawn in local partners.  This specific community is usually at the core of Kingdom witness.  as well as like the examples coming from the parables, often not the most obvious thing one sees.  Ann, for instance, prepares curriculum as well as meets with young apprentices to mentor as well as teach.  Anna (W) as well as Sierra teach the team’s kids, enabling families to live here.  Anna (D) as well as Stephanie as well as Holly create homes as well as meals as well as Bible studies, essential to survival, even while they juggle their own ministries.  Brent supervises as well as disciples a team of maintenance workers as well as guards to enable This specific team to live in a remote place.  Josh struggles through the complex tax laws, NGO requirements, land titling, administrative nightmares, all of which drain time as well as energy.  Community is usually essential; community is usually messy as well as complex.

Want to join?

Yes, Bundibugyo is usually the fray.  however the promises of God paradoxically insist that will This specific is usually where we find the greatest outpouring of grace, the absolute presence of Jesus.  We could use help, as well as we could use This specific yesterday, I think in This specific order–

Pastors/Youth Leaders:  chaplaincy at Christ School, ongoing mentoring of church leaders, after-school youth programs.

Project Manager/Engineer/Business/Accountant skills:  Managing the budgets as well as requirements for the school as well as the NGO (Josh needs help, as well as he has to take a furlough soon).

Mentor to Teachers/School Administrator:  the kind of person who can walk alongside local leadership to be supportive.

Medical:  doctors, PT, Nutrition, nursing willing to work in lowest-resource highest-need area.

If any of those sound like you, or you want to explore, or know someone who should, pass along This specific link to the Go form, which is usually just a preliminary step in connecting with us.  Or send us an email.  Or leave a comment with your contacts.  We’d also love artists as well as missionary kid teachers as well as biomedical equipment specialists as well as lab techs as well as musicians.  If you love Jesus as well as have a heart for pouring your gifts out to bless others, as well as are willing to put up which has a buggy jungle as well as the challenges of living communally, you are welcome.

If you can’t go, however you sense God’s work in This specific place, consider starting to include Christ School in your regular tithing.  I know we need to support our own churches, don’t ignore them, however a few hundred people deciding to split their giving 5% to CSB as well as 5% to their church could have a barely noticeable effect in America however be the difference between life as well as death in Bundibugyo.  Or maybe you can afford a bit more.  We sometimes get an amazing rescue gift; however we need long-term smaller regular increments accompanied by prayer too.

Bundibugyo: a tattered fray, as well as glimpses of grace

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