I made it to Uganda! And let me tell you that it was nothing short of a miracle to get a new passport and then onto a flight that only had 1 seat left. Moment after moment, I saw the faithfulness of God hovering over every step to get me here.
I have to believe that with that much standing in my way, trying to keep my feet from walking this red dirt, God must have something great for me here because plans of the Lord are known to Him. He makes no mistakes… and those plans are to prosper us…to give us future and hope.
So I with a joyful heart and tearful eyes… His plans did indeed include getting me here.
* * *
Today we went into the village of Wakisi where Sole Hope has recently cultivated a relationship through a connection to the local chairman. The moment we drove into the village, hundreds of young children, wearing brightly colored yet tattered school uniforms, began to jump up and down and wave to us.
The light in their eyes gave way to joyful smiles and laughter as we exited the vans and began to set up the stations for the shoe clinic.
Small stools sat opposing long wooden benches with basins of soapy water spanning the divide between. Basins of clean water, soap, and scrub brushes promising newness and hope for the worn and sometimes deformed feet of these precious children.
The washing station…where we stooped low to become the hands and feet of Jesus.
Scrubbing caked-on dirt, gently splashing water to clean open sores, rubbing soap into crevices,
and sometimes tickling tiny toes to elicit a smile or laughter.
As I bent over the feet of the children today, my heart was humbled to commune in this way with my beloved Jesus, who said to Peter in John 13:8, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with me.”
As we stooped low, He was elevated high through our love and care of His babes in Wakisi. We took part in the person of Jesus today… we became the tangible love of our first love… and the humility I saw on the faces of the women stooped beside me was among the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Sometimes we could feel the bumps as we washed…indicating the infestation of jiggers into the calloused skin of their small feet. As my fingers rubbed over each bump, my heart broke as I knew the pain that it caused, and the shame they carry because of the belief that jiggers are a sign of witchcraft…a supposed cursing of God’s beloved.
Once a child’s feet are washed, he or she is carried to the second station where the jiggers are removed using sterilized safety pins and small razor blades.
Many of the children’s faces were tough and nearly stoic as workers carefully removed 3-4 millimeter egg sacs from the soles of their feet and between their toes. Some of the cases were worse than others, with chunks of flesh attached around the egg sacs, leaving gaping holes where the insects had taken up residence.
All of the children we treated today were between probably 5-8 years old. Nearly the same ages as my own children.
And my mama heart broke, and salty tears streamed as I lifted sobbing child after child into my lap and told them in their native language Luganda, “I will comfort you.”
When the removal was finished, we carried the children to the shoe fitting station where each child received a new pair of shoes made from durable American denim.
Something happens in that transition…when shame and pain are left in the trash bins with removed egg sacs and bloody gauze.
Joy returns as a new freedom is found…as a new hope is restored.
You’ve turned my tears of sadness into such joy and gladness…my heart can’t keep it in, I’m shouting…shouting! *
Sometimes…with the Lord…availability is the only real ability that we can offer.
Want to help and be a part of this amazing work that Sole Hope is doing?! Host a shoe cutting party and turn your old jeans…the fat jeans you’re proud to be out of…or the skinny ones from high school that are in all honesty a distant memory…into shoes for the children of Uganda. Turn your excess into their hope for a joy filled future. Give them back the childhood that foot related disease robs them of enjoying.
I see heaven, invading this place,
I see angels, praising your Holy name
And I sing praises, I sing praises,
I give you honor, Worthy Jesus
I see Glory, Falling in this place.
I see hope restored, healing of all disease.
And I sing praises, I sing praises,
I give you honor, worthy Jesus **
be sure to follow all the other amazing gals on our trip by clicking this link: #bloghope
** Brian and Katie Torwalt – I See Heaven