At the beginning of my time here I was frustrated by the feeling that the OT (Occupational Therapy) skills God has blessed me with were being wasted. It is humbling to look at the need around you and know that there really is nothing that you can do. Seeing a number of children with Cerebral Palsy and other physical disbailities wrentched my heart and put a longing in my heart to DO something. Except I felt that there wasn’t much I could do without knowing them more and the situations of their families. I felt that two weeks simply wasn’t enough time to be offer any lasting support.
What makes me want to fix things so badly? And what if they aren’t really broken? Feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do more for them has forced me to shift my focus. God has been showing me that the greatest thing I can do is simply to LOVE them and to show them how much the Father loves them… and pray for them.
Matthew 19:14 “Let the little hildren come to me and do not top them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these…”
Last week we went to the Village of one of our friends, Francis. Whilst there, we spent time outside playing with the children (there were baby animals too – gorgeous kid goats only a few days old – needless to say I was in my element!!). Amongst the children was a precious young boy who appeared to have developmental delays. He moved freely amongst the other children but did not appear to be a part of their activities. We played kick and roll-the -ball together for a while but then I became involved in a conversation. I noticed that our eyes continued to find each others – I picked him up and he clung to me. I have never been held to so deperately. What a privilege that God gave me an opportunity to give that boy the physical affection, time and attention that he so longed for. What a privilege to be able to give him a small part of God’s heart for him! What a privilge to be given his love so freely.
Following on from the Village experience, God has given me other small opportunities to love and, with my frustration now eased, I began to find little ways to use OT. There is a boy here that seems to have Cerebral Palsy primarily affecting his calves who walks on the tops of his feet, on the knuckles. Maggie and I took turns carrying him on our backs at the sports camp and he appeared to love the movement sensations of jogging and spinning and bouncing with us.
Being of white skin here is another reason why the children are attracted to us. Maggie and I walk most places and are followed by choruses of “Muzungu” and “Muno”, which mean “white”. I went down to the field behind us to watch rugby training one night (yes, rugby has made it to Uganda!). Whilst I was there a little girl of about 18 months came up to me simply to lay her hand in mine and stare at the differences of our skins. Her Dad tod me she had said, “Daddy, I want to touch the Muno”.
The children at Soldiers of Christ ministry love nothing more than to pull on our arms, be carried, held or swung around. They lead us by the hand to show us what is important to them, such as a puppy or a toy. Their unique personalities come out. It is interesting to see which team members become attached to which children and vice versa. We had a time of prayer at the ministry over the leadership of Soldiers of Christ and then the children. I had a picture of those children being little candle lights that spread throughout Uganda, lighting bonfires of the Father’s love in the land. I believe that God has a very special purpose for each of those little ones and is watching over them.
I know that, whilst I am leaving Gulu tomorrow, the children will come with me in my heart and will remain in my prayers. The Father has them in His tender care.