About 3 weeks ago, our house-helper Monica started talking about a man she kept seeing off the side of the road (near the rock quarry, for those of you who have been here) each day when she passed by on her way home from work. The man caught her eye because he was fairly old for a Ugandan, possibly late 60’s, and yet he didn’t seem to have a home or anything to do. It’s not terribly uncommon to see homeless people here – you can spot them fairly easily. But this man was different. He didn’t look filthy or mentally ill, though he did look like he wasn’t completely healthy.
For about a week, as Monica passed by, she felt like God was asking her to give away an athletic shirt that Alisha had given her. So, one afternoon she decided to bring the shirt along with her to give to the man. When she did, she realized that he was from another part of the country since he didn’t speak Luganda. He also didn’t speak English, so one of the quarry workers had to translate.
The man’s name was Gabriel, and he was in fact, homeless. He had constructed a small cover under a short tree right next to the quarry where he had been staying for some time. He used to work at the quarry, but he lost his job awhile back (presumably because of his age and inability to work hard enough). Now, he was sick, had no family, and wanted to return to his home village in Eastern Uganda, where he hadn’t been for over 40 years.
Monica came and shared her burden for this man during our morning prayer time at eMi. The first couple of days or so, I think we were all caught up in the numbness of hearing these tragic stories all the time – or at least that’s how I felt. But after a few days, I began to feel that we had a responsibility to this man now since we had the means to help him. And since Monica, who is not exactly wealthy by any stretch, and in fact would probably herself be the subject of such a story if her life were observed by a passerby in America, felt compelled to help this man we really owed it to her to be a part of equipping and supporting her in her plight to help him.
So we decided to pass around an envelope at eMi to get some funds to first get him medical treatment and then get him home (we do this at times when there is a financial need so that people can give anonymously). We collected about 180,000 Ugandan shillings that day, or about $90 USD. The next day, our office manager Semei and head of human resources Stephen, went and picked Gabriel up and took him to the clinic. They spent about 6 hours there with him as every common test was run on him – fortunately all coming back negative. They treated him for a chest infection, and gave him two full drip bags as he was extremely dehydrated. In all, his treatment and testing took about a week to get him back to feeling normal. During this time, each day Monica would drop him by some food from our house, or if we didn’t have much for him we’d give him some of the money for him to buy food.
Finally, after about a week he felt that he was ok to travel home, so last Friday morning Semei picked him up, took him by our house to shower in our guard’s quarters, and drove him downtown where he got on the bus to head home to his village. He was a little nervous since he didn’t know anyone, but we gave him 50,000ugx to help get him settled there. Our local staff seemed convinced that even though it had been that long, his tribe back home would remember him and take him in without a problem.
Monica was so happy – she felt as if God had truly blessed her to be able to help this man. For all of us, it was humbling to be led into this by a person who herself has very little. But in the end, we too felt glad to have been used by God to help Monica bless this man – probably saving his life and certainly making what years he has left here more enjoyable.
I shouldn’t forget the most important detail, that on day 3 of talking with Gabriel Monica prayed with him and he became a Christian. She said from that day forward he was a different person to talk to – much more upbeat and happy.
This experience was a humbling one, as it was amazing to us that Monica had such a heart for this man – even though she is not all that far above him on the poverty scale. But it taught us that everyone can do something, and that everyone has different roles in God’s kingdom work. Romans 12 talks about how each person doesn’t have to do everything, but rather we should focus on what our role is and do it to the best of our ability. I’m reminded of our situation - not everyone can move to Uganda or work for eMi, but everyone can play a part in the work God’s doing in Uganda or through eMi. The people who support us financially to be here are every bit as critical to the work eMi does as the architects and engineers who do the work. The people who can’t give but pray for us also have an important role, and the ‘team’ which we’re all on would suffer mightily if they didn’t do their part. In the case of Gabriel, Monica was the eyes and ears, and the rest of us at eMi East Africa provided the financial backing that allowed her to carry out the work God laid on her heart. What a privilege it was to be a small part of it – if I’m to be honest, I think I would much prefer to be on the ‘financial’ team than the one receiving the money! But God picks the teams and assigns the duties, so it’s not up to us to wish for a different role. In the end, I’m just thankful he picked us at all!


Anonymous said…
Give Monica a big hug for us, and thanks for sharing this story!
Love, Dad and Mom B
convincedyet said…
I miss you all so much. Thank you for serving. We must at some point talk about my mission trip to Kenya. Life changing. Praying for you all.

Amanda Baca said…
aww sweet monica! praise the Lord!! what an incredible and convicting story. monica is so giving and generous. give her a hug from me too!!
Traci Morrow said…
GREAT story of faithfulness. I'm sure Monica's faith was strengthened by seeing that God does truly use us all! :)

"God isnt concerned with our ability but our availability."

Way to be available Monica and eMI crew!!


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