Genesis 1:26-31 ESV
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
In the image of God he created him;
Male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was Evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Between writing my last post and starting this one I was taken to these verses of God’s Word.
Do you see how God created us in His own image, in His image He created us? Do you see how He gave all that belongs to this earth under our dominion, to have sovereignty over them? To care for them.
When we allow God to be sovereign we need no other ruler and we care for the world how He intended us to.
But notice that He didn’t create us to have dominion over each other. But that we were to work, care and love together, unified, in communal peace. As indeed the triune God is unified and in communal peace. Always the model for us to follow.
My time in Rukungiri, Uganda introduced me to meet people who strive for this every day. Not just because it’s a nice way to live but because the alternative is too much of a reality.
Let me introduce you to some souls who work at God’s side bringing hope, bringing light into the darkness of others, by living, working and loving together.
Mothers Union- I met two women who head up staff to care for and teach teenage girls. These girls have dropped out of school due to not keeping up academically or have become pregnant, among other reasons. The MU board girls at their school and teach them sewing, weaving, hairdressing, jewelry making, cooking and how to keep a home. Once graduated the majority of girls go on to get a job or marry and care for their family well. They now have a future and know they have worth.
Mission for Water- I met a lady who, with her team travel all around Uganda digging maintained wells, providing constant clean water for the local community. Members of the community are taught basic skills of how to maintain the wells and keep them functioning to a good standard. However the team can also be contacted if the wells need more advanced maintenance. The team consist of a group of men, mainly orphans, who are trained or training in engineering. This project allows communities to share together healthy water and keeps girls safe as they are no longer at risk collecting water from areas that put them in danger of boys and men who take advantage of their vulnerable location. The project provides work, homes, training and family to men who otherwise may have no one and no future prospects. Again that feeling of worth that only love can give.
Chilli Children Project- Here I met a woman and her team who run a clinic for children up to the age of 18 with disabilities and orphans. There are many children brought to the clinic with Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Clubfoot and Scoliosis amongst other conditions. There are also many children with these conditions that are hidden away in the neighbouring villages. The team travel into the villages and seek out these children to offer them help. Some families are ready and grateful, some reluctant and some even refuse the help.
How the project works for the families who welcome the support is, they agree to grow chillies. Simple huh? These are harvested twice a year and exported out of the country. This is done with ease as most Ugandans don’t like spicy food. The clinic then receive the profit of the chillis to fund the medical care that the children need. I met many chilli children; what a blessed experience. Knowing the wonders and the heartache of having a child with special needs, for me to see children, who otherwise most probably would have simply existed in a corner of a room day in day out in their own filth for their entire life, now instead surrounded by love and care and laughter, was a grace beyond measure. Families living in despair for their children, now living with joy and gratitude, part of a community of support they never thought they would have. A togetherness of hope!
Mosaic Vision Ministries- Here’s the one that really got right into the flowing blood of my veins. Again, another woman (there are men on these teams honestly) heading up a team, who go into the villages where orphaned children hide away in the dark corners. Children who are not even into double numbers themselves yet, often are overseeing the care, the lives of younger siblings.
The team find them or are told about them and set to work rehoming them. Sometimes the children are able to live with their grandmothers or aunts. Sometimes widows in the area open up their homes and love and care for the children. I met a grandmother who had been left with 10 grandchildren. Both she and the children were amazing and my throat and heart spasm every time I think of them.
The heart of this ministry explodes with hard work and dedication to ensure new life, new hope, new love is poured out over little faces to lead their little hands into a life and a family they had lost and thought they would never have again. Yet now wonderfully they can just be children again, loved and cherished.
Mission Direct- I met a man. A what you say! Haha yes a man. It was he who introduced me to all these women, all these children. He answered all my many many questions and I saw how his heart fractured at the stories of these precious beings and yet seemed whole as he worked every day alongside them helping and encouraging others to do the same. He runs programmes for teams of people like me to show us the need, the heartache and the darkness but also the conquering hope and the beauty of communal love. He encouraged boldness and led us on a Bible distribution walk amongst the villages. The Bibles had been translated into Runyankole, the local language, and as we placed the Bibles into their hands hearts and faces cried with joy and hands were raised with voices calling out, Mukama asiimwe, praise God! Some faces simply beamed. We know not all can read, but for those who can we know they will read to others.
He also leads building projects. While I was there our team helped build an extra dormitory for children with additional needs that attend a village primary school. It is the only school of this kind in Uganda outside of Kampala and has only come to be through financial contribution and the hard work of Mission Direct teams alongside local builders. By the end of this year when the project ends after five years in production, twenty five children will join the twenty five already there and will be able to receive an education. A dream come true.
A new project begins next year to build a rehabilitation centre at the Chilli Children Clinic.
All have been an inspiration to me and I know I have gained so much more than I Have given. My heart broke many times as I walked amongst these people but also was made whole over and over. Isn’t that the beauty of pain though? That it shapes to become more how we were meant to be, which makes us whole.
Not one of these projects can exist or be successful without numbers of people working united alongside each other for a common cause, changing lives for a better future, a better now. Living practical love into the core of others needs, chasing out the darkness in their depths and filling them up with a rescuer of light to overflowing.
Not one of these children or their families can succeed in coping alone. Believe me, I have seen the look and tears on their faces as they are overwhelmed with gratitude and relief that they are not alone anymore.
Nor can any of these people experience change without the the help of those more financially privileged. As we receive the gifts gained of living in the western world so we become part of the communion of the world in passing on gifts.
Not one of us gains fullness of life on our own.
Community. Unity. Building lives together for the common good. Joy, peace, love, life to the full.
What or should I say who unites these souls and grows all these fruits? The God of compassion, the God of comfort, God creator of all beings gives us His Spirit to move us to battle challenges and bring victory to those He loves. He smiles rejoicing as He watches hearts around the world rejecting dominion over each other for selfish comfort and gain and instead choosing to join as one bringing equality of worth through improving quality of every person’s life. All under the fountain of grace, a gift of fullness, to share in the life and love of the fountain of goodness. As Jesus brought freedom and communion with those He walked the earth with over 2000 years ago, revealing the love of the Father, so we can be courageous and start living as we were created, in His image, revealing Him to others through being united in freedom and communion together now.
Then what else could anyone say other than, “And behold, it is very good”
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to be apart of this family, this community by donation of time or money or prayers.