Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pillowcase Dresses

As a missionary we are constantly faced with the art of generosity. We are faced daily with the needs of the poor, Christ's love for his church, and demands of donors. These thoughts were recently published in a book, "When Helping Hurts." I have yet to read the book but the title itself speaks to this disparity
between the help we want to offer and the help that is really needed. I am constantly second guessing myself when it comes to language, culture, religion and charity. Somedays I feel like my role as "missionary" is harder than I desire it to be. One friend who visited observed that we are living a dual life, missionary (looking out to those around us, accountability to our organization/donors, and then living in the present, our family and friends here). She reminded me that I'm tired for good reason. 
I'm not saying this to complain. I love this work and wouldn't be here if I didn't. As always I've used this blog to share my thoughts and feelings. A place for me to share with those of you that love me and know me what's really happening. If you have happened onto this blog and don't know me, please give me grace as I'm struggling to know and do God's will.
 Pillowcase dresses must be the new thing. Two different groups have sent dresses to us to give away. I must begin with the fact that we love the generosity of people and their handy crafty skills but the act of actually giving things out is complicated. It is one of my least favorite things to do. Many times when giving things away greed shows its ugly head and human nature takes over. Over the years we have learned how to manage this situation and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Two things we like to do with give aways: 1. give the donations to an organization's director and walk away. This allows the director the power to pass items out as he/she feels fit. This also allows us to honor an organization we feel is doing good work. 2. give out items slowly to people/families we see that are in need. ie a neighbor who comes with a need or when we hear someone talking about a need that we have a supply to meet that need.
These dress though didn't fall into those categories this time. We felt that a donation to the poor in the community where we do most of our ministry was necessary. (part of our hesitation is that we don't want people to look to the "white people" as a vending machine, coming to give things. We want people to be able to support themselves and not wait for a hand out). With all of these experiences and philosophies we called on the local leader of the community to help. We asked him to gather 20 girls from the poorest families together so we could give each a dress (we asked for 20 knowing we had about 40 dresses, previous experience gave us this idea) When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see only 20 girls sitting with their mothers waiting. 
I said my welcome greeting and then turned to the leader. I told him that he was responsible to call the girls and make sure order was kept. He did a fabulous job. There was no chaos, no pushing, everyone was organized. We had a great time and when the 20 had received he then began calling others who had showed up, due to the noise the crowd was making. At the end he told me to tell the ladies about washing and keeping their dresses well. I also talked about raising girls and how they are the next generation of mothers. Giving out the dresses gave me a platform to share with the mothers about how special their daughters were and how big of a role they as mothers play on society. I was pleased, after all my apprehension of a large donation, that I was able to share truth and encourage life.
I think of James' words, If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

What's happening with you?

I can't believe I've not blogged since Sept! Well I guess I can. There has been so much happening that November just flew by. Also part of my excuse for not blogging is that my computer won't turn on properly. This means that I'm using the old computer to accomplish tasks and a turtle speed. That being said all my photos are also gone for the time being until I can get someone to wake my computer from it's black screen of death :)
So in the meantime I'd love to share what's been happening.
I'm feeling very much like a farmer :) I've been doing research on homesteading and ideas for our new house. I planted some potatoes. I looked into vertical growing and have created my own potato tower out of the trunks of the banana trees after we harvested the bananas. The chicken we have has a new batch of chicks. We've had problems with the neighbor's cat, we lost 3 chicks, so we locked her into the "hen house" until the chicks are old enough to be safe. Her first batch of chicks are almost laying eggs themselves. We sold two off so we are left with 5 hens and one noisy rooster. The boys enjoy throwing food to them and then chasing them around the yard.
Isaac has done a few medical camps with his school. I'll put together a post for that next.
While my parents were here we were able to give out some dresses that were made by two different church groups. The mothers beamed as their daughters put on the dresses. That has too many pictures so that will be a post of it's own as well.
This fall has also been a sad time as we had to say goodbye to three of our good friends. This lovely married couple quickly became friends as we began invading each other's homes, kitchens, and lives. They are back in the US now for a stretch of time but hope that when they return to Uganda that we will live close enough to visit often.
This lovely lady grew up in East Africa. She was my first friend in Uganda. Her work with special education training has been an inspiration and her insight on the East African's way of thinking has truly enlightened me and challenged me. She is always caring not just for me and my family but about my heart. She is on "home" assignment for a year and I dearly miss her.