Joy Through Pain
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12
We haven’t really had much internet since the last blog, so sorry that it has taken awhile to get another one up. Plenty has happened since we’ve landed, though. We’ve experienced the Ugandan way of sales (Ty is a great negotiator, by the way), we’ve experienced their food which is very carb heavy, their delicious tea and coffee, and then we got to experience their hospital and the Hospice Tororo workers and patients. We spent two days with the Hospice Tororo field staff (Agatha, Martha, and Rita) as they took us out to show us what they do daily. In one day we drove over 40 miles and visited eight different patients; all who have some sort of cancer, and some who are HIV positive.
Every day, these ladies go out to see how the patients are doing, distribute medicine needed, try to connect, and have conversations. They can travel up to 60 miles at times to make sure that these patients are able to receive proper care and get their medicine.
Things I noticed as we arrived at their home were their friendliness, sickness, and their happiness; even while going through great pain. Two ladies, Shelly and Jayda (not real names), have breast cancer that has affected their breasts differently than the other and James is on bed rest with prostate cancer and showed us his bed sore. Every patient we met, or one of their family members, would bring us chairs to sit in while they pulled out a mat for themselves to sit on. Though they were in great pain, they took the time and energy to work harder for us.
I expected to see the patient in bed and mad at the world as we awkwardly stood around them like we do in hospitals in the US. I didn’t realize how thankful and loving they would be towards Americans. As Americans, we have so many stereotypes we put on people of different cultures and we let that affect how we see them. In my mind, I thought the Ugandans would think we were snooty, rich Americans who are only going to see them for our own benefit of proving something to our friends back home or to look good for a college application or a job interview. But before they even met us, they already started arranging chairs for us and greeted us before everyone had even gotten out of the vehicle. I came into the situation attempting to remove any stereotypes I had of them and bracing myself for the stereotypes that they had for me. Instead, they just welcomed me and wanted my presence. If I start having faith that God can use people regardless of what they might be going through, I might be a bit more loving and thankful as well. For example, James opened up after Philip prayed for him and even asked Philip if he had a spare bible that he could have.
Through all this pain and sickness, they were still very happy individuals. It was clear they had very little. They didn’t have beds to sleep on, their little kids were either naked or their clothes were torn, many of them didn’t have any shoes and we could see they were struggling, but their family was always there to help them the best that they could. They knew that we were there to see them, visit with them, pray for them, and just be in their presence. You could really see how much they appreciated us in how they would tear up during a prayer and thank us for coming to visit with them.
by Katlynn Menees