I’m kneeling on the carpet in front of the wood stove, praying into the wood chips and the ash, like I do many nights now when my family falls asleep.
It’s been a month since I walked the slums of Katwe, Uganda in my pink shirt and blue jeans. The air smelled like despair there– like salt and soil–and I touched every hand possible, picked up every baby, because I couldn’t hold Africa tight enough.
It was a reunion for this girl who lived in the Congo and Nigeria for two years, my Dad a missionary with Christian Blind Mission. In spite of the garbage in the streams, the barefooted babies with malnourished bellies, the aching fatigue of collapsing shacks, I was home.
And this has made coming back to Canada more than difficult.
We were gone for nine days — four days of travel, three days in Uganda, and two days in Rwanda, and yet it felt like a lifetime.
It’s made me fall on my knees, night after night, weeping for the memory of children without mothers or fathers, without food or water, without clothes. Children who had green snot running down their faces and no doctor to rush them to. I weep over the lethargy and hopelessness of life in the slums — and yet, there was Mama Evah, rescuing babies, taking them with her to her orphanage, Destiny Villages of Hope, and nursing them back to health.
Before I left on this #AFRICAWH bloggers’ trip with World Help, God said, “Your job is not to fix. I could fix the world with one breath. Your job is to love.”
But oh, with every ache of this mother’s breath, I want to end the pain — I want to pack up and move to Uganda and give those babies a home and it’s been the hardest surrender.
Yet I know a Savior whose flag flies higher. I know a God who claims to do the impossible, and even as I fall on my face in my comfortable house in the snowy north of Alberta, Canada, I can see Jehovah rising furious over the slums of Africa and then gently placing down servants to bring about mercy.
Because when I walked those streets in Kampala, it wasn’t me bending down to hold those children — it was God’s love exploding through my skin. Desperate to let his people know he cares.
He sees those HIV-positive babies lying in the dirt crying for mothers who won’t come because they’re dead. He sees those teenage boys sniffing glue to numb their hunger pains. He sees those grandmothers working 20-hour days to find enough food for their dead daughter’s children who lie on the dirt floor while chickens defecate around them. And the 400 families who lost everything in the fires that recently ripped through northern Uganda? Yeah, he sees them too.
And He weeps.
Because it’s not fair.
So I beat the floor when I cry. And I know I’m not the only one to return from Africa and feel this way. But the question is:
What are we going to do about it?
Because it’s not enough to have a “changed perspective.” That trip was not about me. It was about God inviting me into his heart — and his dreams — for Africa.
So here’s what we as World Help Bloggers were intending to do.
We did rolls and rolls of art with the boys and girls of Destiny (see here), and we planned to auction off those original paintings on canvas, so that Phases 2 and 3 of Mama Evah’s baby rescue homes could be funded.
And then the art never arrived with us in Rwanda. It was (most likely) stolen. We checked it in Kampala when we should have carried it on board. And the rolls of canvas, along with soccer balls we were bringing for the children of Kigali, went missing.
It was devastating, yes. But, we have a God who is bigger than stolen art. A heavenly father who loves these children more than we ever could, who can redeem any situation.
So here is Plan B to raise money for Mama Evah’s Baby Rescue Homes.
We have raised 25% of the necessary amount for Phase 2 of the building project, but we still need to come up with $26,000 more.
We want to give you this beautiful printed copy of the original art by Destiny’s children, featuring a hand-print of one of the students (#rescueart).
• Any gift amount ($2, $5, however much you can give): And you will receive a high-resolution digital print proof of the artwork above.
• A gift of $25+: And you will receive an 8 x 10 print. Frame not included.
• A gift of $50+: And you will receive a 16 x 20 print. Frame not included.
• A gift of $150+: And you will receive a 16 x 20 print matted and set in a 20 x 24 frame.
Just click HERE to donate now, and you will receive art from our beautiful Ugandan friends saying Thank You…
for helping Mama Evah build TWO NEW baby rescue homes.
And would you help us share about this post?
Here are two tweets we’ve made up for you, so it’s easy to spread the word about #rescueart:
Get free African art when you help Ugandan orphans through #rescueart.
I just got a free African print when I donated to #rescueart!
Thank you, friends.
We cannot fix the world. But we can give these babies a future.
(WATCH THIS VIDEO: World Help Bloggers in Africa | Emily Wierenga from World Help on Vimeo.)Leave a Comment
Michele-Lyn Ault says
All of this puts so much of life in perspective. I love your heart and how it comes through your writing. I love how you couldn’t hold Africa tight enough. And I love these beautiful children. May we all answer God’s call to do our part.
I love your heart too dear Michele-Lyn. It was such an honor to travel to Africa with you friend. I hope we have more trips in the future together. Love, e.
Lori Harris says
We’re called to love.
Amen and amen.
(I have crazy loved every piece you’ve written since you got home, by the way!)
oh Lori that means so much to me… I’ve been worried that my passion is scaring everyone away 🙂 I just can’t help myself… life has tilted on its axis for me, and I’ll never be the same, because of Africa. Love to you friend. e.
I’ve been to India three times and to South America and the Philippines and it was heart breaking. We left in total silence. We cried really. It just eats into the hearts of those who know just what it means. Silence. We are always silent when we see this. Totally and utterly silent. O those poor poor lovely children …. the LORD created.
I’m a children person. I’ve always been. We cannot fix it. Only God can. But with our hearts, we can feel JESUS’ LOVE for those who suffer all around us in this very heartless world.
Blessing you to change the world and stop the little babies from suffering.
You’ve made me cry.
oh Karyn, thank you–for resonating with me here, for understanding my heart’s cry. I believe our tears are the Spirit’s prayers–his groans, for pain that words cannot express. God collects every single one of those tear-prayers, the Bible says. He sees, he cares, and he will bring healing and hope. Bless you. e.
Susan Shipe says
U.G.A.N.D.A. The Lord keeps bringing this mission in front of me. Katie Davis, Sole Hope, so many serving the people of Uganda. I told someone the other day that I can see myself picking jigger parasites out of children’s feet and placing shoes on those precious, beautiful feet. God Bless you.
Yes, I know… I visited both Rwanda and Uganda but Uganda stole my heart in a way that I’ve never had any country do. It’s called the Pearl of Africa because it’s just that–its people shine with beauty. I miss them so much. I hope you get to go there someday Susan 🙂
You inspire me, since I was young I remember thinking and saying I wanted to reach out to children in another country when I grew up. My life has been very blessed with my family although I still think about it and mention it when conversations are just right.
God has blessed me in many ways throughout thee course of my life. My heart aches for the underprivileged, they know what they know and yet they are blessed by our God to have people care about them. I pray everyday for everyone less fortunate and for the caregivers, may you always be blessed.
oh Doris, your prayers are doing SO much… i love your heart. one of the most effective and powerful things we can do each day is to fall on the floor and pray, pray, pray. through our prayers, God moves mountains. keep kneeling, friend. these are the things that matter. e.
Caryn Christensen says
Oh Em! God is ALL ABOUT PLAN B! Gladly and thankfully gave. Thank you for sharing your tender mama’s heart.
Bless you for giving my dear friend! XOXO
There you go making me cry again…..
thank you, Emily for sharing your heart, sharing His love and motivating this girl to follow His call to love well.
oh Laurie, bless you–I love your tender heart, friend. XOXO
Holley Gerth says
So glad to to see you and your beautiful, powerful words here today. Love you, friend!
My dear Holley–so grateful (in)courage would share this space so we can raise awareness and hope for these precious babies. Love you friend, to the moon. e.
Beautiful! Thank you for your commitment and inspiring words.
Thank you dear Lis! Bless you. e.
Karin Madden says
Oh my, this has wrecked me all over again for Uganda. One of our sponsor kids lives in Uganda. He wrote to tell me his grandmother loves me. I had to read this to really understand why. God bless you, Emily, and thank you for allowing God to pour His love through you.
I love that your sponsor kid’s grandmother loves you 🙂 Yes, the people there are SO incredibly warm and loving. I tear up thinking about the way they ran up and put their arms around me. There was no hostility or anger or fear… just, love. It was so humbling. Bless you friend. e.
Marisa Slusarcyk says
What a wonderful way to help these children and their family’s. It breaks my heart to see all of those faces. Like, why is the adoption process so darned hard, why can’t loving people just go and scoop up every child that has no one and take them home? If they can’t claim refuge status then who can? My heart breaks, I look around and see the jewelry I have that was made by women in Africa who are mothers and entrepreneurs, using what they have, and I feel proud that it is on my walls and not locked away in a box somewhere. Just when you think you need more you realize you really do need so much less.
YES Marisa… Love your heart. Just when we start to get comfortable, God reaches in and reminds us we are responsible…
Lolu Hassan says
Beautiful kids. Beautiful art. Beautiful you. Wonderful work. As a Nigerian missionary’s kid, I can testify that it’s such joy to sacrifice and see the smiles on those young faces.
Though I don’t think it’s fair to refer to three African countries as Africa. Like seriously? There are over 50 countries in Africa and these are as diverse as they sound. I do believe It’s more respectful to be specific about the country in question than just using a general term Africa – it refers to no country in particular.
Anna Shura says
I live in Northern Alberta as well! I understand your heart for Africa… It is amazing how many people God calls to these children as the hands and heart of God. May God Bless you. My grade one students are raising funds for an orphanage in Kenya right now. We each can make a difference to one… For One.