Female Protection: Ending the Political Hysteria

At the age of 14, just beginning her physical transformation into being a woman, a child bride is forced into marrying a man twice her age in a sub-Saharan African village. With life expectancy in the 40s, this man dies, leaving little wealth except acquired “property.” In standing with village customs, the wife (or property) is passed on to his brother, who is known to carry HIV.

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A few years later, this young woman gives birth to a baby with microcephaly. The villagers, who lack  knowledge about medical disorders, only see the shrunken head of the child as a curse. Quickly, this woman, her children Continue reading

To Have It All

Around the corner from a major road, across a grass field littered with trash, and down a muddy path, 1000 people live on 24 acres of land, according to the 2010 Jinja Municipality Slum Profile. These “houses” are mostly 10 by 10 ft concrete block rooms, originally built for single male railroad workers in the early 1900s. There is no electricity, running water, or sewer system. To NGOs this is a slum in Jinja, to me it is the Loco neighborhood, to friends it is home in Uganda.

Loco is a community like many in the third world, where dinner roams in your yard. With no fixtures or appliances, cooking outside over an open-pit, and any entertainment is given by friends singing in the day light. Ignored or threatened by the government, the settlement is always vulnerable. Several families lost everything in a recent fire, but, with the help of local churches and each other’s time, they rebuilt.

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Traveling through Uganda, there is a real understanding of true necessity; an average person’s possessions is a very small list. A pastor in a Northern country village Continue reading

Forgive and You will be Forgiven

The meaning behind the word forgiveness is forgetting a wrong committed. To many it is an action that requires at least two parties. However, the deeper concept of forgiveness is an act for oneself. In fact, in Buddhism, it is practiced to prevent harmful thoughts of revenge that can over take one’s identity. Also, resentment and anger is a continuous cycle that harms a person’s mental health. Throughout the New Testament, punishment is not man’s responsibility when wronged. God’s followers are called to let go. Grief should lead to forgiveness and comfort, or be “swallowed up with too much sorrow,” (2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

This amazing ability to forgive even the most intentional and malicious atrocities is common in Africa. A young Rwandan man honestly and openly shared his horrific story of the 1994 genocide on a walk one evening. Faisal’s father was killed by rebel forces, Continue reading

How healthy is the care?

The white metal van, with its little rubber wheels, rolled up the hill a mile away from Calvary Chapel in Jinja, Uganda towards a municipal hospital. Inside, a mix of a dozen newly arrived Americans and regulars from the congregation bumped along. The property had several simple long buildings with bare doorways and windows. Inside, iron beds ran along each side, exposing the soiled floor. There were no devices beeping, just the quiet whispers of family by bedsides.

During this routine ministry outreach, different groups visited various wards for tuberculosis, HIV and maternity patients. The nurses wore white paper-like hats and white rubber shoes, reminiscent of images from America in the 1960s. I saw no one administering care for over an hour on the grounds. Let me rephrase, Continue reading