Yesterday we worshiped in Kakoli village. The church in Kakoli has suffered a lot in recent years. God sovereignly allowed them to pass through many trials due to wicked leaders and in it all, they lost the building that they were worshipping in but have grown in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We praise the Lord for all that he has done!
The drive out to Kakoli is beautiful! All along the way, there were people gathering white ants...manna from heaven...as the dry season ends. These white ants are a great source of protein while the people wait for crops to grow.
We were so sad to see how horrible the crops look right now. The corn that has managed to grow in the drought is already tasselling out when it's only a few feet high and even the cassava (which is saved for hunger season because it can withstand almost anything) was so dry and beginning to die. It is so sad. Most people in the village are down to one meal a day. The Daddies, Mommies, and children are sleeping hungry. They are using more calories than they are able to consume. It's not starvation point yet, but hunger for sure. It makes me hug my own children a little tighter at night and breathe prayers of thankfulness that I don't have to hear my little ones cry for food as they are falling asleep or watch their hair turn orange with the lack of nutrients. We praise the Lord that the rain seems to be beginning again, but for many people, it's too late. Some will be able to re-plant. Some won't have enough seed left.
Yet here on the side of a mud hut of a church member is written in large letters, "God is able to supply your needs." A visual reminder of truth!
Because they no longer have a building, we worshiped under the mango tree. It was a lovely morning. Only minorly interrupted by a cock and a hen giving a, ahem, "science class" behind the pulpit and Talitha jumping off the mat and running to inform me...with many giggles...that the chickens were wrestling...
Talitha kept her hands busy during the 3-hour service by braiding her brother's shoelaces.
Here is some of the singing.
Afterward, we were invited over to the home of one of the church members for lunch. We have many memories from this home...some sweet (like the marriage introduction of their daughter) and some very grievous (like the burial of her husband and then son). This is also the home of Peace. Some of you may recall that she is Katelyn's friend, whom Katelyn was raising money for so that she could attend nursing/midwifery school. She is finishing her second (of five) semesters now. She's such a sweetie. She told us of how she had no idea after her brother died how she would manage to pay for school that semester but that she fasted and prayed and then how the Lord provided through Katelyn's efforts! She praised the Lord over and over. She kept saying, "I don't understand how after all that we have passed through, I am just so happy. Happier than I've ever been!" Such a beautiful example of a godly woman!
Talitha, who has been looking forward to eating in the village again, finally got her wish. Village food does have a unique and super yummy flavor to it.
I had also posted this on facebook and here is the back story plus a little update. Our little friend Sharon, who is from the church in Kakoli has a major heart defect. In fact, we found out this past week that she was born with her aorta on the completely wrong side of her heart. She also has a hole in her heart. And actually, it's that hole that has enabled her to live as long as she has. This past week, a clinical officer in our church here in Mbale took her to the Heart Institute in Kampala to get it checked. Originally they said to come back in a month to do a heart catheterization, but then we got word that she was to have it on Friday. We found out later that there were three scholarships available for this procedure and all the slots were filled. But Thursday night, one of the three became too sick for it, so they put her in. She will return to the Heart Institute in a few weeks to see if the doctors have made a plan for treatment. There is already talk, however, of her needing to go to India for the surgery, which of course is a very huge deal. Would you consider praying with us that God will make a way for her to have surgery? We don't know how all of this will work out, but we can pray to our heavenly father and trust him to do it. Her life is precious in the sight of the Lord. It is worth every effort to save it.
This is her and her mom standing outside of their home. They made it back to Mbale from Kampala late Saturday night, so they rode with us out to Kakoli. Poor girl, she was so tired and still very sore from her procedures, but such a sweetie!