There is a precious young girl from Lukwor North Village, deep in the bush. Her name is Mercy, which is so fitting. Mercy was born disabled. She can't walk, sit up, or speak. She has partial control of one of her hands and can make some noises, but that is it. Mercy was abandoned by her parents. She has been taken care of by her old grandparents. Because of their poverty and remote location, there is not much they can do to help Mercy. The grandmother began coming to our Bible study in the village about a month ago when we switched locations. She told us that Mercy is not doing well. When people were still living in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Camp, years ago, we met this family and helped them with a cart so the grandmother can move her around (sort of like a wheelchair that the grandmother can push.) We went to visit Mercy after meeting the grandma again and I was stunned. She has not really grown at all in the years since I saw her. The girl is 10 years old, but her body looks like that of a tiny 5-year-old. She was covered in flies because she can't shoo them away, and she looked malnourished.
My friend Lois Ford from New Zealand runs an orphanage in Kitgum. She takes care of orphans as well as some disabled individuals who are the most needy. I asked her if we could bring Mercy there, and she replied:
“These children are the reason we are here. Bring her!”
We went to inform the grandmother several days in advance, and she was delighted and in agreement. On the following Monday, after Bible study, we drove to their hut to get the child. The grandmother held her in her arms as we drove the long bumpy road from their village. I took a glance behind, and I noticed that Mercy was smiling. In fact, there were points when she was even giggling. I thought she would be miserable in the car, but she loved it! It was probably the first time she was in a car, and definitely her first time in air conditioning.
We stopped at the market on the way to Tender Trust to buy her some clothes. When we showed them to her and told her they were hers, again that big smile appeared on her beautiful face. I hadn't seen her smile before that day, but it's as if she knew that God was bringing her to a good place and doing a new thing in her life. She settled in well, and she's been eating a lot and smiling often.
When I went to check on her, she reached out her one hand to hold mine and smiled big. Some language doesn't require words.
Already there is a big change in her condition, and I know that she's in the right place. She will get the nourishment she needs, and Lois will consult with physiotherapists to see what can be done for her.
This young girl was never forgotten in the deep bush of Northern Uganda. She is loved, and she's starting to see that. God has such a beautiful plan for Mercy. I can't wait to see what happens in the weeks and months to come!