Lightning Man – Warning (Graphic Material)

One of the most difficult realities to cope with, as we travel back and forth between the U.S. and Uganda every few months, is that there simply is no way that we can solve the suffering and hopelessness of every person in Uganda. In truth even within the small Teso region that our Carepoints are located within, we would be hard pressed to honestly impact every person who is suffering from hunger, pain, curable disease, or just access to clean drinking water.

And there is a lot of suffering! More than I believe I can effectively communicate. 
But…we can make a difference in the lives of a few. Many of you will recall some version of a famous tale of a young lady who came across starfish on the beach. It goes a little something like this: 
An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.”
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves,
saying, “It made a difference for that one.”
The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea.

I’ll be honest, and admit that there are days that I have moments of weakness. I wonder why we are engaged in a work as large, and quite frankly “over my head” as working to make a difference in the lives of orphans in a nation an ocean away.  What difference can I really make? But then I remember the faces of the kids that we know and love at the Carepoints, and the impact that I know has been made in their lives.

I know we can’t possibly make a difference in everyone’s lives. The problem is simply too big. But I also know that we can make a difference in the lives of some. But who? Where do you start? Who do you choose to help? Well, I made a commitment to start with whomever God throws in my path.

Here are the stories of 3 “starfish” that God has placed in our path. We have committed to helping them, because we simply cannot walk by and not help. To pray for these people, express our sympathy for their situations, but NOT do anything to help them, would be quite simply to miss the point of the Gospel. So we are committed to finding a way to help…one way or another.

Would you please consider reading their stories, and join us in making a difference in their lives…

Lightning Man

Meet Festo and Florence.

We met this couple in a humbling moment of irony as we were celebrating the construction of a new home for a widow and her children on a piece of land we had purchased and with funds that you (our friends and family) had helped us raise to save their lives from relatives who were threatening them over a land dispute (Read more here).

As we stood around admiring the new brick home, Festo came wandering over to see what the fuss was about, his wife Florence in tow. The minute Festo came near we could tell something was wrong. He walked with a tedious and burdensome limp, as if each step was painful, and as he got closer, the reason became obvious.

Festo and his wife, as well as their two kids were struck by lightning in their mud and straw hut less than a year ago. The strike essentially melted away their hands, and took the life of one of their daughters. Her name was Martha.

The couple has not been able to receive proper medical attention for their wounds, and there are several open wounds still festering on their bodies. Worse yet, the couple (still struggling to cope with the loss of their daughter) are now struggling to provide for themselves and their surviving daughter – Catherine. They are unable to use their hands to work the soil as they had before the incident, and are basically surviving through the generosity of local family who are chipping in to feed them.

We are sending Festo and Florence to the local hospital to begin work to heal their wounds, and to do whatever we can to try and correct the damage done to their hands so that they can at least go back to farming the small plot of land that they cultivate to survive.

We do not know at this time how much the corrective surgery will cost, but we know that a few thousand dollars will likely be sufficient to at least correct some of the bones that still protrude from their fingers, and heal the open wounds.

If it takes more than that, then we will work to raise those funds when we get there. It is difficult to explain why Festo crossed our path that day, but I am unwilling to have to explain one day why I did not do everything in my power to help him when I had the chance. Nothing will cure the reality of the pain that this family has endured.Whether the excruciating pain (that could only be described as hell) of healing without medical care from injuries this serious, or the perhaps more painful injury of the loss of their daughter. But I believe that a chance to provide for themselves, and the hope that they can care for their daughter, is worth fighting for.

Will you please consider joining us in giving Festo and Florence a chance at a “normal” life?

Last year you helped us raised funds to provide a home for a small family who captured our hearts from the Bukedea CarePoint. Little Peter Pan and his baby brother (5yrs old) were being cared for by their elder sister who was only 10 years old. They were in practice, a child headed household, and were in danger of losing their mother for good. Mom (Janet) was on her death bed, HIV positive, and suffering from what was then understood to be a pancreas problem which left her belly swollen as if she were 8 months pregnant.

Your donations provided a small parcel of land and a new home for this family, who had been chased from their land after their father had died, and was again chased from their uncle’s land when they became a burden. Homeless, destitute, and hopeless…they were taken in by a local “good samaritan” who provided them a small hut to sleep in and some food.

Today, Janet and her 3 gorgeous kids have moved into their new home, and the community it abuzz at the provision that they have received. Furthermore, Janet is currently undergoing cancer treatment (for what was previously understood to be a pancreas issue) and she is making massive progress. She has passed through the first of 3 phases of treatment (paid for by Carepoint funds) and we now need to raise funds so that she can continue her treatment. We will need to raise approx. $3,000 to complete Janets treatment and give her and her kids a chance at a normal life in their new home.

Would you please consider joining us in giving Janet her life back, and keeping these kids with their mom.

We first introduced you all to Alex more than 2 years ago in the blog post “Smelly, Rejected, and Ashamed“. Alex’s bladder control problem (resulting from a defect in his urinary tract) led to an inability to control his urine flow.

Rejected by his peers, and kicked out of school as a distraction, Alex was being neglected by his father and his new wife (Alex’s mom had abandoned him early in his life) as a hopeless child, incurably retarded and a burden on the family.

After many months of research and care by the staff at the Carepoint, Alex was finally admitted to a specialist that had the necessary equipment to conduct the corrective surgery needed to remedy the issue. The surgery was successfully conducted a couple of month ago and we are thrilled to announce that Alex appears to now have full control of his bladder.

He is back at school, and we are sincerely hoping and praying that he will now also begin to recover some of the social skills that he lacks after years of neglect and rejection.

The costs of Alex’s surgery were covered from general funds for the Carepoint because we simply could not afford to wait any longer or lose the chance to have the surgery done when the door was open. We are working to raise the $1,000 that was “borrowed” from the general fund to cover the costs of this surgery.

Please consider partnering with us to provide a chance at a normal life for Alex.

Making the Good News – Good!

Over the last few years, it has become painfully apparent how many times the practical reality of the “Good News” that the evangelical church espouses simply has no practical bearing in the lives of those who are suffering around the world in the here and now. Far too often the Good News of the Gospel (at least our version) is good news only insofar as it “saves our souls” at some future point when we die and “go to heaven”.

But the “good news” of a Nazarene preacher and his rugged band of followers nearly 2000 years ago was one that held practical implications for the suffering, the neglected, and the broken. It had real practical implications to their leprosy, to their lame legs, to their eyes, and to their lives. It was practically relevant to the unimportant, the poor, the sick and the lame. The prostitutes (John 7:53), the tax collectors (Luke 19), the pharisees (John 3), and even the dead (John 11). It was good news not only for some future eschatological reality, but also for the present. Good news of a King who cared. A King who came down to be with his people. A King who wanted them healed, and who could sympathise with their suffering. And a King whose people would live out his will “on earth as it is in heaven”.

And that was indeed…good news.

A passage that strikes me as strangely often quoted, but as often practically ignored, is James 2…where Jesus’ step brother admonished the fledgling church to recognize that if they claimed to have “Faith” in Jesus, and believed that they were “saved” by their belief in him…but did not demonstrate the reality of this faith by the actions of their life…that they were deluded. Their faith was dead!

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2: 14-17

So many people read this passage and believe that these “deeds” are in reference to sin management, and that we are being encouraged to show that our faith is genuine by managing our “sins” and being better Christians. Or perhaps to be willing to be an usher at a church service, or help at out the Sunday morning nursery. But the passage in its context is clear…..To encounter those in need and not help them (while claiming to love Jesus) is a misnomer. An oxymoron. A lie.

Friends…it is my belief that it is to Festo, Florence, Janet, and Alex that this text points. And it is for this reason that I implore you to join us in raising the support we need to care for these people.

We have set up a special Health and Medical fund for the Bukedea and Ogoloi Carepoints for donations to these causes. Your contributions are tax deductible, and no amount is too small …or too large 🙂 The link below will take you to the donation page for the Ogoloi/Bukedea Health and Medical Fund to provide care for Festo, Florence, Janet and Alex.

If I can answer any questions, or offer any clarification, please call or email me directly.
Thanks for your help.

515 291-1006

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