I first Met Sarah Mbezzi in a dream. 2 years ago, I was traveling to Uganda with an invite for a conference at Life Changing Church, Lubowa, Kampala. I already had a desire to start something that would help the widows and orphans. I had not told David (Pastor at LCC) about this at all – then I had a dream just as I arrived. In the dream I saw the face of an old lady. I did not know what the dream meant but stored it in my heart.
On the second day of the conference, we were praying for everyone at the end of the second session. I had already prayed for all those who had come forward to the front and I was now working may way through the queue that stretched up the isle. I came to a huge broad shouldered man, who didn’t really look African, and he just said to me, “the Lord says WELL DONE”, and then he turned away to reveal this little old, tired little woman who was looking bewildered.
I realised immediately that this was the woman in the dream, but in the dream she was happy. On that day she did not look happy at all. My translator Henry told me the story, that Sarah was someone who would come round and clean the church for free to say thank you for what the lord has done, but she was not well. Henry had gone to get her to come into the church from the kitchen building for prayer, she has said that she was not worthy of my prayers but Henry insisted.
Sarah and her grandchildren lived nearby in a room they shared with a goat and all the children were ill with HIV. They had lost their mother and Father in the AIDS epidemic that swept through Uganda in the years before. None of the children could read and none were attending school and they all had several behavioural difficulties in relating to the other kids. One of the children (Rashida) was very unwell.
(In the next post i’ll send you pictures of Sarah and the children from that time and since)
After had prayed for Sarah I went to see David and arranged a package to care for them. This included a move to a new home and made sure they got the drugs they needed to keep AIDS at bay. When I first saw David about all this, he new none of my plans for Sarah, but immediately pledged his support to the project and arranged for all sort of things to happen
1. Proper medical understanding of what was going on in their bodies
2. New accommodation for the family
4. Beds and Mattresses and nets (before they moved, they just slept on the floor in the goat hut)
David has supported this work brilliantly including covering financial commitments when I was unable to do so. I am privileged to call David a co-worker in Christ
Every visit since I have met Sarah and the children and prayed for them – always we are in tears of joy for what God is doing.
But this year was very special for us – Merle (who Sarah calls Mama) was with me. I knew the meeting was going to be very emotional, so I arranged for it to be after the conference had finished.
We saw all the family during the church services and conference but it was not until the last day we visited Sarah at her rooms.
The children had delayed going to to the local CofE school that day when we visited and we started by giving them each a sweet and sat down in noew of the rooms.
Sarah has a room she shares with Mika, and there is another room with a bed for Moses and Rashida. There is one other room with a table in. This is where we met. You will see from the pictures in the next post that the rooms are hardly good, but you will also see the picture of where they used to sleep.
As we sat and talked, Sarah told us how everyone was doing at school and their health.
Since we started helping Milka with schooling early, she caught up with the CofE school standard earliest, but had some behaviour problems. These have now setted down and she is now making friends and is a very happy young girl
Rashida was very ill when we met her and when she was first tested the doctors put her in a cluster of children that they didn’t have much hope for. There were 250 children in that cluster 2 years ago – Rashida is now the only one still alive, and her latest D4 counts are perfect. This is a combination of the drugs we buy and the fact she eats consistently and has most of the balance she needs in her food. It is overwhelming to think that she has all she needs to grow and thrive at a cost of around a cup of coffee a week. I know as Sarah talked all this through it was nearly too much for Merle to take in, and lots of tears appeared in all of us.
Initially all the children had to have private tuition just to get them to the school standard – this included getting them used to regular hours for attendance and rules of life and understanding a school uniform, etc.
Rashida is a little behind the average for her class but is improving in all the subjects
It took a lot of work to get Moses healthy and seeing the point of going to school at all, but to see him now playing football and telling me how he wants to use the chance we have given him to work hard and help his grand mum was nice to see. He doesn’t speak any English, so most communication between us is ‘respectful nods’. We have developed a way of saying we love each other through a set of signs we do and it’s great whenever I see him that he does this, witch essentially means ‘thank you for your love’
To say Sarah looks and behaves differently from when we first met would be an understatement. In her own words (translated) she said …..
– before our help she did not belive she had any value and thought of herself as like other things with no value – like dogs. Every day was just survival and she tried to stay away from people because she did not think she was the same thing as them. The family lived in the barn basically and the goat was more important than she was. He eat first since his milk was needed by the owner of the barn.
– When we first started helping she was sure it was a cruel joke and we really wanted to take the children away
– now with the help of us and the help of the older ladies group she has understood how to behave and she feels loved and valuable. She has a hope for the future and thanks the Lord and prays for us every day.
IAN AND MERLE
It is difficult to describe how all this makes us feel. We feel overwhelmed that this world is so broken that so little from us can make such a change for them. We feel privileged that the Lord has allowed us to connect and give Sarah and the children hope and a future. The words of Jeremiah 39:11 come to mind.
We continue to support Sarah and the family and would find like to do 2 things
(1) Open up the project to other children who we could help
(2) Buy some land to build small houses. We currently rent some rooms, but it would be far better to buy some land and build a small 2 room house. For that we need to find the right land and then build on it. The estimated project cost is around 5000GBP.
5000GBP to change someones life for ever.
I don’t usually do this, but if you can help in any way with a regular financial gift (even £10 a month would make a real difference, then please let us know by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If enough people commit to help, we can add more children to the project.
James 1:27 says : Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
Thanks for reading this
Ian and Merle