Tag Archives: Mother Teresa

Out of Africa

I still weep when I look at the pictures from Uganda. How can a trip to another continent render one so utterly speechless? Maybe it’s the culture shock, but, would you believe culture shock is harder coming back home? If you have running tap water in your house, you have more than most people in Third World countries. You are wealthy! 

One of the home visits we made was to a widow’s in Gulu. She takes care of her grandchildren because their parents, her children, have died of aids. Her home is a tiny mud hut with a thatch roof. Inside, she had a rocking chair and a fire pit. She was thrilled to invite us in, and brought a bench inside, just so she could host us in her home.
There’s no welfare from the government in Africa. People survive off the land and the love of others who have compassion on them. We brought gifts of lotions, soap and shirts, and small toys for the children, as well as beans and rice. You would have thought she received great riches, her gratitude was so profound.
One organization that is making a difference in their lives is Children of Promise, a child sponsorship program of the Church of God. The program they developed for the widows is called TAPP, and is described this way,
“Tumaini Aids Prevention Program is a holistic social program that reaches out to those infected and affected with HIV & Aids. It provides training, Home Based Care, income generating projects, education and social support for a hopeful life which encompasses the entire community.
The Church of God child sponsorship office is located in the Kasubi area, in the city of Kampala, Uganda. As the office doors would open each morning, more and more families were showing up needing assistance. The need to care for families affected by HIV was overwhelming. Soon it was obvious that a separate program should be created. They called this program TAPP. ‘Tumaini’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘hope’ and became the vision of this program.”
We have long been associated with TAPP through the beautiful beads made by the widows. They create the beads with strips of paper rolled into tight balls and strung together, and this is one of the ways they support their families. Take a look at their work here.
Read more about our home visits here.
In his book, Something Beautiful For God, The Classic Account of Mother Teresa’s Journey into Compassion, Malcolm Muggeridge says this about encountering impoverished people:
Accompanying Mother Teresa… to the Home for the Dying, to the lepers and unwanted children, I found I went through three phases. The first was horror mixed with pity, the second compassion pure and simple, and the third, reaching far beyond compassion, something I had never experienced before – an awareness that these dying and derelict men and women, these lepers with stumps instead of hands, these unwanted children, were not pitiable, repulsive or forlorn, but rather dear and delightful; as it might be, friends of long standing, brothers and sisters. How is it to be explained – the very heart and mystery of the Christian faith? To soothe those battered old heads, to grasp those poor stumps, to take in one’s arms those children consigned to dustbins, because it is His head, as they are His stumps and His children, of whom He said that whosoever received one such child in His name received Him. (pp. 52-53)
Indeed, we met our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews in those huts. And we were blessed.

Originally published August 28, 2014 at sallyswords

Book Review: Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

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What is the hallmark of a great life? Eric Metaxas contends there are specific qualities that set apart certain people, people who have conquered great odds to accomplish the unthinkable. He sets out to highlight the lives of seven extraordinary women, all who saw themselves as average, everyday people…

Joan of Arc: pure, brave and singular in her faith and obedience to God.

Susanna Wesley had a theological knowledge that fueled a disciplined life.

Hannah More’s culture was influenced by art and she sought to use her gifts in God’s service.

Saint Maria modeled the Christian life outside the four walls of the church.

Corrie ten Boom had a foundation of faith that began way before Nazi occupation turned her home inside out.

Rosa Parks was persistent in seeking rights for blacks in an age of terrible discrimination.

Mother Teresa saw the poor as God’s wonderful people.

I loved the narrative of this book. The author wove a story of faith, hardship, ingenuity and humility. It was a joy to read the chronicles of these who struggled with faith and its application to daily lives. It painted them in a light that showed they were real people with real difficulties. They were not sugar-coated, but weaknesses were laid bare. Why is that important? Because it helped me to relate to their lives, and to understand the power of faith in God to change the course of history.

Eric Metaxas also wrote Seven Men and the Secret to Their Greatness and states both sexes suffer when the uniqueness of each is denied. 7 Women challenged me to be fully me, and to stop the comparison game that robs my sphere of the gifts given by God to impact change in the world.

A great Christmas gift for both male and female readers on your list!


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