Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unsuspecting Angels

I want to tell you the story of a little girl.  She was not my little girl but one that impacted our lives and yours in an amazing way without ever knowing it.  Perhaps an angel.  Her name is Ruth.  A small name of only four letters with a very big meaning.  Biblically we all know the attributes associated with Ruth – kindness, pity, compassion, loyalty, charity, mercy, and sympathy.  You may be thinking, “But I don’t know this girl.. How can she have impacted my life?” so let me elaborate.
 It was because of the compassion of Christ through us to Ruth’s father that we first met her shortly after her birth and the death of her mother in the village.  You see her mother did not get proper pre and post natal care and developed complications which lead to her death.  This is a common occurrence in the village and so Steve went with our friend and guard Richard Otim to bury his wife and try to save his child.  I say save his child because after the death of a mother the infant often times follows due to dehydration and starvation from lack of adequate milk substitutes since wet nursing is taboo.  Steve dealt with the burial which was complicated by a balance due on the bride price which had to be paid before the clan would allow their daughter to be buried.  After the price was paid and the young mother properly buried they made arrangements to leave the small fragile infant with a WYAM nurse in the town of Soroti. She was adequately cared for until Otim could make arrangements with his clan for a nanny to come with him to Kampala to watch the children while he worked the night shift as a guard.
It was at this WYAM babies home that Ruth unknowingly changed our lives because it was this trip and this place where we met our daughter Janet Acimodo Hoyt.  This was the place that Christ’s plans of charity, mercy, and compassion flowed from this little girl’s need into our family and overflowed into another little girl’s life…Janet.  You all have been touched by God’s faithfulness and goodness in the story of our daughter Janet and thus I say you have been impacted in an amazing way as you get to see Janet’s life unfold and point daily to Christ’s goodness.  Janet moved from death to life eternal and continues to be strong in body and spirit and she carries this banner of charity, mercy, and compassion to all her friends and the babies she helps as she volunteers in the nursery at church.
Ruth and Brian moved from Soroti to live with us for a couple of years after the death of their mother and it was a blessing to have them around laughing and growing with our kids.  I have not seen them for several years because they moved back to the village.  Otim remarried and lost another family member to complications with childbirth on the very night we received our dear beloved Hannah almost 5 years ago.  I remember pacing the floors with Hannah in my arms and the phone on my shoulder as he was losing his baby boy.  It was such a bitter sweet night as I held my own new baby in my arms engulfed in God’s great grace to me and feeling Otim’s great loss. 

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5.

These verses were sung by my angels throughout my home this year for their memory verse and it is amazing how in my difficult times I can hear their sweet voices singing His words as a balm to my soul.  It is with a sad heart that I ask for your prayers for Otim and his family as Ruth died yesterday at the age of 7.  The circumstances are difficult for me to understand as I feel that all of these deaths were preventable with proper healthcare.  I have been shocked and angered and even raged at this world but in my sadness I just realize that these men need Christ and only through Christ can they lead.  Who will first lead them, who will teach them how Christ loved so they can love with the same fierce, passionate, prevailing love.  I pray that God meet Otim in his grief and teach him how to love his son Brian as they feel the sadness left by such a large void, a void so vast it is hard to believe it was left by a seven year old girl.

Just as the book of Ruth is a story of redemption and a page in the bigger plan of salvation I believe in the plan that Christ is working in the lives of those around me even when I am raging against the storms that want to consume this heart of flesh.  I have hope and it is in Christ’s great love and plan of salvation.  Be encouraged that Ruth has been called home to be redeemed and has entered the land of Her God for eternity and she is consumed with his love, the storm can rage on but it has been calmed by the Great Redeemer at this time for this little girl.  Praise be to God for unsuspecting angels.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Value of a Name

I could get my produce from the Embassy Supermarket that is convenient, clean, and usually devoid of beggars but I have always chosen to immerse myself with the people I love here in Uganda and try at every casual meeting to develop further relations.  Grocery shopping for 7 years every week affords one ample opportunity to get to know the people in the market.  I have been around for births and deaths, marriage and divorce, joy and pain.  It is a blessing to me to be among friends here.  Being a long term missionary allows me the opportunity to have the time in which to develop trust and genuine concern for this place and these people.  I am eternally grateful to God for this but…
Today was a hard day.  I am not sure why today was especially hard as it is not a new phenomenon for me to see the loneliness of children.  Perhaps it is because it is so close to Christmas time, a time that is already emotionally charged in my heart.  Today like every week I visited, I laughed, I bought vegetables, and I bought my little beggar a rolex.  He is called Baby Rolex and I am Mama Rolex as I rarely leave the market without buying him a Rolex, a street food made of flat bread with an egg rolled inside.  Ironically his real name is “Lubega” Israel.  I say ironically because phonetically the Luganda name “Lubega” sounds a lot like “the beggar”.  Sadly this makes it most fitting.  And then there is the name Israel meaning “He struggles with God”… Lubega Israel certainly has his work cut out for him as he ponders the question, “why this lot in life?”
Israel goes to the orphan school down the road and has a family that lives in Soweto, the largest slum in Uganda, located just behind my market.  He has family but this is his school holiday and his family cannot financially support him during the holiday.  During school term he gets to eat at the orphan school but on holiday he is sent to the market to beg for food in order to survive.  His dad sells pineapples on the street because he cannot afford rent for a market stall and his mom sells cow legs.  This is not enough to support a family so the name he was given seems appropriate.  He has stepped into his role as the little beggar.  I love this little beggar yet I know so little about him and there are so many exactly like him. 
I saw him playing with a dull broken box cutter and a burned out light bulb today and thought that with proper love, nutrition, and education perhaps one day he could be an inventor or an electrical engineer.  We will never know how much he could contribute but I do know that God has a higher plan and purpose for this little guy.  I saw him standing in the gutter with his little bare feet about the same size as my 4 year old Hannah’s and I wanted to bring him home with me.  I think, had I done this, that everyone would have been pleased and how sad that made me that his parents were in a place of such defeat that it would be better for them to give their child away.  I hate poverty but I know that God is the orchestrator of life and this life of Baby Rolex is just beginning and could yet prove to be powerful and bring Christ great glory.  But his circumstances still bring me to tears.
Most of my friends in the market have never even thought to ask this little beggar his name as they have all consuming issues of their own.  He is just shooed away so as not to be a nuisance to customers.  This week he will eat each day from our food budget as I left a bit of my grocery money in the hands of a trusted vendor and asked that she look out for this little one and try to show him God’s love.  This is not a solution just a Band-Aid but today in the market I helped give this little beggar a face, a name.  His name is Lubega Israel and he is not a nuisance but a child, a blessing from the Father.
God bless the lonely, the hungry, and the forgotten this year whether they are in the gutter of a slum market like mine, in a bedroom behind closed doors in a house full of opulence or just numbly looking for meaning for their lives.  We all need to know we are recognized.  Like Israel we all need to remember that He knows our name and He has a plan for us.
As we thank the Lord for each of you and your unique contribution to our ministry here in Uganda we pray that you continue to be blessed through the name of Jesus Christ who imparts great value to you and to the works of your hands.
Thank you and Happy New Year!

About the Hoyts

Steve is a Construction Manager and Architect with eMi EA serving the Lord Jesus Christ in Uganda Africa.

Melinda and the girls are dedicated to learning and growing in love and grace through home school activities and community bible study with the ladies and children of Uganda.

About eMi EA

engineering Ministries international East Africa

The vision of eMi is to glorify God by offering hope to the spiritually and physically poor.

eMi EA's mission is to glorify God by exemplifying Christ's love to the spiritually and physically impoverished of East Africa by developing suitable facilities. We partner with Christian organizations in the planning, design and implementation of building projects which directly and effectively meet the tangible and spiritual needs of the people they serve. We use our God-given technical and spiritual gifts to enrich the lives of the people with whom we serve.