Cara and Seggy were both recently out in Teso (Katakwi) in the two villages where new boreholes were drilled. Cara wrote two blog posts about their time in Katakwi, one of which is below. The next one will be shared later this week. If you can’t wait, you can go here. 🙂
shared by Cara Murray
God is Love. Ateso is a language I didn’t know existed until May. Yesterday over 90 people received the Word of God in Ateso. That is love in every language. Hallelujah!!!
Today is my third day in Katakwi (although this won’t be posted until I have returned back to Entebbe – no internet out here) and I feel like I have so much I want to share but am not sure I’ll be able to express it in words so please forgive me if this is poorly written and way too long.
Last night when I spoke with Ivan on the phone I told him it had been one of my favorite days since I’ve been in Uganda and I wasn’t kidding.
Seggy and I came back to the Katakwi area on Sunday night to meet with the two villages that recently received boreholes. We hired the Dept. of Water and Sanitation of Katakwi to put on training for each village and we both wanted to join the training and visit with the people. We thought it was extremely important to give the people training on the importance of clean water and how to keep the borehole water safe. The training also included sanitation and borehole maintenance. In addition, we had previously arranged to bring brand new jerry cans for transporting water and Bibles in the local language.
On Monday we started out the day with the Word before we went into the training. I spent 20 minutes sharing with the community and really wanted to stress that the Word of God was far more valuable than the water we brought. I wanted them to know that we didn’t do anything other than pray and obey God. The truth is that without God, we would have never found the tiny, remote village and the community that was in desperate need of water.
As I shared from Luke 15, the parable of the lost sheep the community cheered and clapped as I told them how precious they are to God. I told them that we had brought Bibles in their language and that they would be available for purchase the next day. Also – let me back up for a minute. On our drive to Katakwi, Seggy and I discussed our concern for each village since neither seemed to have a church. We talked about getting more information when we met with the church leaders. Monday was a huge success and the training was extremely well received.
I tell you all this as background so you will understand why yesterday was so great. Tuesday as we drove up to the training location we were greeted by over 100 people cheering and hollering. I stepped out of the car and immediately hugged two of the cutest old ladies I have ever seen. I couldn’t understand what they were saying but it was clear by the look in their eyes that they were extremely grateful. As we all sat down, one of the community members opened up the day by saying that the very land we were sitting on would soon be turned into a church. The community had met after we left the day before and decided that they needed a church. I couldn’t believe it. It was as though they knew what I had been thinking. God answered our prayers and I felt this huge sense of joy and peace and gratefulness and excitement. I know that water is important but I wanted so badly for these people to have a place to learn about God and worship Him. I wanted to jump for joy as I listened to them. I am almost positive that before this Apelleun didn’t have a church nearby.
Seggy then shared the Word with them and we finished the training. The Secretary of the Borehole Committee had a list of all the people who had paid for the jerry cans and Bibles so we handed them all over to him and watched as people received their new gifts. While we donated the Bibles and jerry cans, each person paid a small amount for each item. We think it is important to give them a sense of ownership over their new things. In addition, the money that was collected will be used by the community as they see fit, whether it is for farming tools or supplies to build a pit latrine. As people were given their new Bibles, they cheered, they danced, they waved their hands in the air and I felt overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness to be able to witness the wonderful event. I know that the 90 Bibles will do far more than any amount of water. You need to know that some of these people have probably wanted a Bible for years but due to the high cost and difficulty finding one in their local language, they have been unable to get one. I wish I had a video recorder and could share with you all what I saw.
On top of all that I need to tell you about the two little kids I fell in love with (I’m sure this is not a surprise to anybody). In May when I came to this village I took a picture of a little boy and when I saw him I could tell he wasn’t healthy. I went back, posted my pictures on Facebook and my dear friend immediately emailed me about him. She asked us to follow-up with him the next time we returned so that is what we did. On Monday he was not at the training but we showed his picture to a few people and they made sure he was there on Tuesday. He looked just as I had remembered, only a bit cleaner. He was absolutely terrified of me at first but with a few cookies and the fun of my camera, we were best friends within minutes. He proceeded to follow me around the entire day and I told Seggy I wanted to adopt him (and I’m not kidding). He is an orphan that has lost both of his parents to AIDS and is currently staying with his aunt. He is probably 5 years old and has the cutest smile in the entire world. Check out his many pictures on Facebook – his name is Amuge. Before we left on Tuesday we made arrangements for his aunt and him to meet us in town at the clinic for testing. I almost cried when I had to say good-bye to him Tuesday afternoon.
The other little child that captured my heart was Hellen. I noticed Hellen on Monday within 10 minutes of arriving at the training. She is 4 ½ years old and has severe scarring on her right arm from a burn. The reason I noticed her was because the burn covered her elbow and the skin above the elbow and below the elbow wasn’t stretching enough for her to straighten her arm. I told Seggy we needed to do something. Again, we made plans for her mom and her to go to a hospital a few hours away for medical review and asked that they let us know what the doctor said. We will work out a deal with them to help pay for her future medical bills.
This may not sound like an amazing day but that is because writing is not my strong point. My pictures on Facebook may do it more justice but you need to believe me when I say it was truly an amazing day. I was able to witness the joy of people as they received Bibles. I saw people rejoicing and laughing. This community has been oppressed and living in camps for the last 30 years because of violence. They are trying to return to their homes and land but it is not easy. They have endured severe flooding a few years ago that ruined their crops and then a horrible famine last fall that killed many people. To know all that and then see their joy and love for each other was a gift from God. We brought water and through God, these people are forever changed. Over 90 people have Bibles and they are starting a church. The village of Apelleun will never be the same. God is so good.