Bekah Ochs in Uganda - June 2018
Greetings from Uganda!
Pit latrines, trash piles, gutters, and jungles. What do these four things have in common? To an average person they would mean nothing, except a place you would deposit waste of various kinds. But to Susan, a Ugandan national, these four locations are places where newborn babies are often abandoned by their mothers. With one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, Susan has heard heartbreaking stories where young mothers are unable to care for their children. Maybe it is an unwanted pregnancy. Maybe the child has special needs. Often times the mothers themselves are still children and are not physically able to care for a baby. Feeling they have no choice but to abandon the baby to die, these mothers leave them in places no human should ever be placed. Take a second to think about that. A desperate mother feeling she has no choice but to throw her newborn baby down a pit toilet. Into sewage. Hearing these stories broke my heart. It is easy when hearing stories like this to become overwhelmed by the tragedies in our world. Yet amidst these tragedies is a story of hope. God placed a deep longing and desire on Susan’s heart to start a babies home. She has seen the need and is choosing to do something about it. Even now she is in the process of creating the plan as to what it will look like for her to open a safe haven for unwanted babies. It will become a place in the community that offers training for mothers, protection for unwanted babies, and a safe place for babies to be left if the mother feels they cannot provide for them. Each child found is given medical assistance, a home, food, protection, and lots of cuddling and hugs. This is just one of many stories we have the privilege of hearing as we travel this summer. Stories of hope amidst the destruction, redemption from ruins, and the Gospel shining a light in even the darkest of places.
This story is just one of many I've had the privilege of hearing over the last two weeks. The first week was spent with a missionary who partners with local Ugandan missionaries, churches, non-profits, and individuals to create vision documents, curriculum, and other documents to start their ministry. Our time with her was short as we spent the majority of our time doing interviews in the capital city Kampala. Compare the busy city life to that of the second week, where we are partnering with missionaries doing church planting in rural villages! This ministry has continued to multiply and expand in amazing ways since over the last few years. As they plant churches, they also reach out to the village in holistic ministries such as health facilities, schools, and agriculture farms.
While our weeks have been very different settings, the smiles and genuine hearts of the Ugandans have not changed.
Enjoying local dances and music at the Ndebe Cultural Center.
Uganda is absolutely beautiful!
Love getting to hear from on-ground missionaries what God is doing in Uganda!
Meet my team! Featured on the top photo is the amazing journalism team I get to travel with. Abigail (center) is the Director of Communications for NMSI and is acting as our team leader and mentor (aka Mom)! Sarah (right) is our all things video gal! It has been such a joy to travel with them!
-Creativity as we put together material for the various missionaries
-Safety as we finish up our time in Uganda and head to Rwanda on Friday (the 8th)
-Peace & comfort as for my family & I as we received hard news this week concerning the passing of a dear family friend
-That I would continue to see God's faithfulness in both the good days and the challenging ones
Thank you for your prayers and continued support.