Mary and Praise
We became good friends with Mary, an emergency nurse at Lacor Hospital, when we admitted Martin for extensive care of his leg. Mary is a celestial person…you know them when you meet them…no guile, doesn’t ask for any help, money, food. Doesn’t complain, or talk about her problems, but with some prying on Pam’s part, Mary shared why she personally couldn’t help Martin. She has a 3 year old girl, Praise, who has cerebral palsy and many health problems. She is very tiny (much smaller than our granddaughter Stella!) and still weighs less than 18 pounds.
Shortly after the baby was born, her husband left her. He has provided no support since Praise was born. She shed tears with Pam because the medical needs for this child are beyond her economic abilities. She knew about the miraculous healing of Martin’s leg and requested a priesthood blessing for Praise. Two of our young missionaries met with her and others in her family to give this blessing.
With trips to Mbale and Kampala it was several weeks before we could visit with her in her home. It was a very nice visit. We learned that not only does Mary take care of her own three children, she has several others she provides for. For example, during the war with the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army Kony), a stranger from Kitgum (two hours away) who had several family members killed and abducted brought his teenage daughter and asked Mary to take her in. Mary and her husband had jobs so they took in a number of people like this. After Mary’s husband left, Mary took the girl – now grown woman with a child - back to her father’s village, but he refused to take her back because she would suffer too much living in the village, so Mary continues to support her and her little boy. Mary’s estranged husband also continues to send his family members who are sick to her knowing she will not turn them away, but does not communicate directly with her and has not provided assistance.
Mary told us with much gratitude about the blessing the missionaries had given to Praise. Praise’s normal routine had been to awaken at 11:00 PM each night and stay awake crying the rest of the night. You can imagine how difficult this has been for Mary, a full time working Mom with no help from a husband. Praise also had sores or boils that would break out on her body. Since that blessing the missionaries gave Praise, she has slept through the night EVERY night beginning that night. And the sores? They have not returned.
In the meantime, a friend from the states sent our son a donation to be used however we saw fit for this mission. After getting their approval, we decided to use it for the wheelchair with a special neck brace Praise needs. The donation was the exact amount needed for the chair. Mary was overjoyed, especially because that same day the money she had been slowly saving toward this purchase had been stolen and squandered by her stepson. Her faith was renewed after tearfully questioning the Lord why she had to suffer so much when she was constantly trying to do the best she can to serve Him.
Last week Mary traveled to Kampala to purchase the wheelchair for Praise, which has to be fitted to the patient so the body and head are properly supported. It should be ready in a week or so. While she was there, another marvelous miracle took place to bless the two of them. Mary shared the details with Pam and concluded with, “It is you that has done this for us.” Pam explained, “NO, it is not us, it is the Savior that has done this. Then Mary, a Catholic, said, “It is your God” who has done this. Pam explained we worship the same God and our – hers and mine – God who brought all this to pass. As Pam was crying, concerned Mary said “Do not let me upset you.” Pam explained that her tears were tears of great joy for this wonderful manifestation of God’s love that she has experienced in spite of all her trials.
Can anyone doubt that the power of faith such as Mary’s, and the power of the priesthood administered by these faithful elders (missionaries), coupled with ministering angels on both sides of the veil can assist in performing miracles? We know that this life is a time of great tests and trials to see if we will stay faithful to God, but we are so grateful for the continuous manifestation of the Lord’s tender mercies to those who exercise their faith by trying to do all they can to better their circumstances.
Mary, Praise and some of the other children.
Because of Praise’s low weight and inability to eat most foods, we are trying to see if we can get some ATMIT for her, a special porridge with lots of vitamins and minerals, specifically for malnourished children. The church ships it to third world countries, but delivery within the country is the choice of the government. Gulu was on the list for the next delivery, but there is currently none in Uganda and it will take many months before it would arrive in Kampala, then more months for it to get here, if even possible. It is very expensive to ship so the church is looking for a place in Africa that might prepare it, but that will take more than just months to materialize. In the meantime we heard from our former humanitarian missionaries that there is some in Utah. If anyone has any connections to get ATMIT, even just 10 pounds, my brother can bring it when he comes here December 8. PLEASE, if you live in Utah and you know how to get ATMIT, let us know ASAP. Or if you know of another good alternative, let us know right away.
A REMINDER, WE NEED MORE SENIOR COUPLE MISSIONARIES IN UGANDA! Any inconveniences you hear about are more than compensated by the wonderful spirit of these people and the work that is done here. And with SKYPE you can still be close to your children and grandchildren.
This is a typical bore hole (water pump) where locals go to get their water for cooking, bathing, washing clothes. Mary’s house is the only home we've been in since we've been here that has running water.
Pretty neat ladder I stumbled across. Built like a tripod. The ladder legs on the front and the back tripod leg centered in the rear.
Looking up the ladder...you can see how high this thing goes. Straight up into the top of a very tall tree.
Took a mini-safari not long ago on a “Preparation Day” with the missionaries. Heading down the dirt road to Chobe Lodge we came across this mess. I really couldn't figure out what had happened. The large truck with a load of propane tanks is listing heavily to the left but most of the tanks are on the road to the right of the truck. We got out and simply moved them off the road. They felt empty. Then we motored on by. We kept asking the driver, who was just sitting in his truck, if he was OK and he kept saying "no". I don't think he was hurt (because he did get out and started moving tanks also), other than a badly bruised ego and the likelihood he'd just made his last haul for his employer...probably former employer by the time this post goes out.
We were inside the lodge when an employee ran inside to get us....ELEPHANT, he shouted. We ran outside the lodge and here it was...maybe 20 feet away when I took the shot above. Not a place the safari employees wanted me to be (pretty dangerous actually) but bingo...there he was so what am I supposed to do. He's eating foliage from the trees and headed toward the Nile so we circled back and soon enough he appeared on the other side of the trees at the water's edge. This guy has a name, it's not "Dumbo", hangs around the lodge a lot. We've been blocked from getting out of the lodge driveway when he has pushed over a tree so he could get to the leaves at the top of the tree that otherwise would have been out of reach. He has turned over a car in the lodge parking lot at night after he got mad about something...probably just a bad dream. Certainly was for the car owners.
Believe it or not, saw this on the way from Kampala to Gulu last week The Big A-Mobile…not really. But with the progress I'm making with new Alabama Alumni Association Recruits, it may not be long before we see this very motif all over Africa. (Actually, credit goes to my daughter, Ceci Sandoval, for seeing this pic on-line and sending it to me) BUT STILL...I do have this African vision!!!!! ROLL TIDE!!!
In his classic discourse on pride, President Ezra Taft Benson characterized the many facets of pride:
“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ …
“The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.
“… The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s. …
(Ezra Taft Benson (August 4, 1899 – May 30, 1994) was an American farmer and religious leader, serving as the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (LDS Church) from 1985 until his death and was United States Secretary of Agriculture during both presidential terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower.)