In 2009, things still weren’t completely safe in Northern Uganda. There were certain areas that the organization I worked with would not allow us to go to, and rightfully so. One of those places was a remote village where a couple we knew lived, Lucy and Maurice. They traveled by foot for about five or more miles each way to come to one of our weekly Bible studies. They were both sick with HIV and had just suffered through the horrors of the rebels. They begged us to come visit them and start a fellowship where they lived. But we couldn’t. And it was so hard. They were hungry and their village was lost. We couldn’t, that is, until Maurice was found dead in a field. His HIV had turned to full-blown AIDS, and with that his emotional and mental stability diminished greatly. He killed himself. I was given permission to go with one of the pastors from South Sudan to visit Lucy and pay our respects.
To make a long story short, half of their community gave their lives to the Lord that day. God did an incredible and miraculous work. (If you want the full story, I share it in my book “For the Joy Set Before Us: Insights into the Missionary Journey” which is available HERE.)
That Bible study still continues today. God has raised up some wonderful people there. Witch doctors have come forward, burned their satanic tools, and turned around to lead people to Jesus. Young children from back then are now grown and walking with the Lord. The story continues in this village.
A few weeks ago, Pastor Jimmy met a little boy named Saddam. He is HIV+ and lives with his grandmother. They both come for the weekly fellowship in this same village. Saddam has been very sick. Jimmy found out that Saddam hasn’t gotten his treatment for three months, because the local medical clinic ran out of ARV treatments. Jimmy was able to bring them to Kitgum town and to the hospital there where they still have the medicine. Thankfully, he was able to get his medication. But he is still really sick. We are arranging transport for him to the town each month and whenever necessary so that he can get the medicine that his little body desperately needs.
When I think about how God works, I am amazed. I saw Maurice’s death as a total loss and tragedy. He left behind a pregnant wife and two young children. It didn’t seem fair. And it wasn’t. But what has happened as a result of that green light to go pay our respects to Lucy has turned into many, MANY people coming to Jesus. I think of little Mercy who was living with her grandmother wasting away and who was brought to Tender Trust. I think of Jeneth who was a witchdoctor and graduated from the WIDL (Women’s Intensive Discipleship and Literacy) program that I taught. I think of her children growing in the love and knowledge of God. I think of Norris, who was a young boy in the local village school who I met during an outreach so many years ago. He is now a remarkable young man who is serving with us in the ministry, teaching men at the prison and leading people to Christ. I think of many more, too many to write about.
And I am totally humbled by God’s Sovereignty and ability to make beauty out of the ugliest circumstances.
What I couldn’t understand on the day that I heard of Maurice’s death was that God had a big plan and was going to use that tragedy for so much beauty. I couldn’t have possibly known. But He did. He saw the faces of the lost, and He opened doors that no man could shut; doors that are still opened today and still bearing fruit. He is still saving lives in that place. I know that Maurice was a young believer and that his mind was going from his disease. I truly believe He is with the Lord, seeing the fruit of his life and death continuing to produce nourishment. He had such a heart for the people in his village who were so closed to the Gospel. God is honoring that in ways I am sure Maurice never could have imagined.
Our God is consistent. Which means the troubles of today are going to bear beautiful fruit tomorrow. Whether in our lifetime or not. God is weaving things together that we never in a million years could have anticipated, and I believe we won’t know the half of it this side of Heaven!
Let’s embrace the truth today that we have no idea.
We don’t know why God allows what He does, we don’t know what’s really going on, what’s going to happen, or what He is doing behind the scenes.
But He, without a doubt, knows. He has great things in store. He has lives to save, sick people to touch, salvation to reign where there was only darkness.
What an exciting adventure this life is, knowing that reality!!