This morning, I left our still-waterless house, and drove part way up Mt. Wanale to visit a lady who has been coming to church with her fully-orphaned (both parents died) grandson. She started coming to our church through the invitation of her brother and sister-in-law, who are in the group that walks 10 kilometers from up the mountain. This past Sunday I was able to sit with her for a time and talk with her for a couple minutes about the little bundle she always has tied on her back. I was very surprised to hear that he was 7 months old. I'm sure he doesn't weigh much more than 10 pounds. She said (and I observed) that he has been quite sickly. His mommy died just 2 days after he was born, so he has never had the opportunity to take breast milk and has suffered because of it. His Jaja (grandmother) told me that some days she has milk to give him, many days she doesn't.
Monday came, and not being able to get his little face off my mind, I decided to buy some formula for him. Then today, some Ugandan friends, Katelyn, Rebecca and Talitha and I were able to drive up to find her. While I was there, I learned that she is mother to 15 children. Four of her sons have married and live on the compound with her and her husband. Two of her sons have died and left her with children. In her old age, she now has 6 children to care for. Two of the children half-orphans and still have a mother alive. (interesting cultural idea here: it is always the responsibility of the father's family to care for the children in the event that a father dies. It is very common that, after burying her husband, the mother leaves her children with his family and goes away to try to start over.) They are ages 3 and 2 and are sitting to the far right in this picture. The other four are all siblings; they are ages 7, 6, 4, and 7 month old Jackson. They are all sitting next to their Jaja in this picture.
Here is their compound.
When I see a woman like this, I think "wow...what a strong lady." She digs in the field to try to get food, she still struggles with sleepless nights, she carries the emotional weight of starting over in raising many children. I'm praying for her today that she would know the love of God first, as seen in the gospel of Jesus and second as seen in the hands of his people working on his behalf.