It was one of my first days in Madudu. I was with Pastor Kakuba and we were making our way down the road, stopping at different homes to encourage and pray for folks and to bring some medicines to those in need.
There was something lovely about stopping at a home where I had on an earlier trip prayed for a Mamma and unborn baby, and to this time stop and meet that new little one.
Something lovely about stopping at the home of a woman whom loves me and whom I love. Sitting with her on her mat, enjoying a short visit of simply being in each others company, communicating by heart and through our eyes and smiles.
From home to home we went.
I cannot adequately describe the beauty and joy on the faces of the elderly as we pulled up to their homes and entered to visit and pray for a time. By now a number of these elderly faces are familiar, but even more familiar are the individual spirits of each person.
I recognize the light in those eyes, and the broad smile of that one, the gracious heart of yet another. And into these spaces that they hold for me, I enter, am welcomed, settle in and rest. It is deep communion with one another.
One dear old woman, before we left, skittered away for a moment to return with money to press into my hand. And with my heart in my throat, and my inside voice screaming ‘No! you keep the money’, I simply accepted it and gave a heartfelt thank-you.
A widow with little to live on, managing day to day… there are no words.
Farther down the road we stopped at a home in the ‘center’ of many others. As we would travel the calls of greeting, “Mazungu” would echo along and often it seemed that people were aware of our coming before we actually arrived.
Regardless of how, at this ‘center’ home it was the same. Within minutes of our feet touching the ground, there was a crowd of young and old alike.
A large mat was spread on the ground and onto this mat the people began kneeling that I might pray over them. Not everyone of course, but simply those who wanted.
(Note: Lately I’ve been dissatisfied with our word ‘prayer’. For it does not capture near well enough, the act of blessing and of pouring on of love and of declaring peace over another.)
Many came and went, and as I remained, kneeling on the mat while Pastor Kakuba spoke with others, and while the doctor gave out the medicines to still more, a little one knelt.
She was about eight years old. Was wrapped in a shawl around her head and over her shoulders. Covered, but not covered enough to hide all the mud markings over her entire body and head and face.
Those markings indicate a sort of satan worship, and one can only imagine all the evil and horrors she has seen and witnessed, as accompanied with that.
But there she knelt. Quietly yet simply stating by action, ‘Please pray for me’.
The motion of her kneeling and waiting, held a regal strength and a firmness of conviction and a dignity that spoke, ‘You have something I need.’
I really don’t have the words to describe that moment, but I do know I will never forget her.
For in her there was the full symbolic struggle between the things of this earth that are only about destruction and horror, and within the heart a plea for things of heaven that are of life and bounty and peace.
She knew this struggle. She knew what she was asking for, most likely more than all the others. Her body language was marked by humility and simple request and a surrender.
It was simply an honor to pray over her. And I will keep praying over her. She has a long battle ahead of her. Being so young, and with influence unto destruction in the adults around her, it won’t be easy by any means.
But I’ll see her in heaven one day. For she asked, and received. For at the core of accepting Christ is surrender. Pure simple surrender.
(postscript: To explain the context and the magnitude of this child’s actions, it is important for me to explain that children in Uganda do not come forward for anything on their own. There is not this initiative or boldness or clarity to ask for anything. Even now, years after the encounter with this girl moves me deeply).