I don’t even know how to put into words what I am feeling right now. My heart is breaking in so many pieces as I sit before God and ask Him, “Now what?, What do you want me to do with this?” When God called me to this ministry back in 2014, I knew it was big, but I didn’t realize how big.
I sat in the Watoto office yesterday, it is a home for children, and I shared with the social worker there the call has on my life with the ministry of Woven2Gether. She sat there wide eyed, in disbelief. Her comment to me, “This is huge. Every gap that we have here in Gulu is being helped through this ministry.” She then said, “I am so excited to see this get up and running and to watch what God will do.” It gets me excited that as I share Gods vision, how it overwhelms the people here, with such excitement that God has seen, heard and is going to move on their behalf.
Here are the areas God has called us to ministry in…..Mens ministry to help heal the men from war, give them hope, rebuild their integrity. Starting a foster care system and adoptive program, launching a community watchmen program, based off of Ezekiel, where these watchmen will take care of their villages and alert us of concerns before they grow into problems that are difficult to manage. Disciplehship. Starting a Church/Fellowship/Discipleship. Help to shut down abortion providers here in Gulu. Network with clinics and pharmacies to try to reach girls who are pregnant and at risk to chose abortion so we can counsel them and hopefully love them to Jesus and to choosing life for their babies. Counsel the fathers of these babies, so they don’t run away. Educate the youth in sexual purity and their value in Christ so we can change the teenage pregnancy, abortion and baby abandonment rates. Create and implement a registration process in the local hospitals with better tracking of individuals to eliminate baby abandonment and baby theft in the hospitals. To come along side moms who don’t want their babies and are at risk for choosing abortion or abandoning their child, through counseling, discipleship, job training, family counseling, providing safe homes when necessary. Our pregnancy help center will be the place where these young girls and women can come to. Through radio, tv and newspapers, trying to reach moms who have previously abandoned their babies, so that we can reunite them and help them with needed resources to bring them back together as a family. Discipleship classes in the prisons, so they can be rehabilitated before they go back into society. Starting a clothing store to help offset ministry costs. And now…this….I just cry out, Lord there is only one of me, I have, one staff in training and I have no idea what I am doing, what do you want me to do with this information?
That pretty much sums up Woven2Gether’s call from the Lord. So I am trying to pray about all these areas and where to start. Most days I just make list and trust God to lead me where I need to be. My days are always way more complicated then I think they will be but always in ways that grow and stretch me. Friday was one of those days. I hadn’t planned on meeting with the Watoto staff. I have a women that is interning with me for three months, to see if she fits with Woven2Gether. She had to take the day off because a family member passed away. Her second loss in a week. Death here happens too often and affects so many. So my schedule relaxed a bit with her absence. So I decided to go and update Watoto as to the investigation we are involved with, concerning a mother that threw her baby in a pit toilet.
While I was there we talked about how to reunite these babies with their mommas. We had a good discussion with promising ways we can accomplish this. Then the social worker asked me what I think we can do about the babies that come in because their moms have died giving birth. The supervisor went on to share with me that they get calls everyday, EVERYDAY!!! from the hospitals that another mom has passed away so they are brining the baby to the Watoto baby home. We are trying to get kids back in their homes, but what do you do with all these babies who have lost their moms. I didn’t know what to say. I had no idea that maternal death was such a crisis here. Hundreds of women give birth a week in the hospitals.
The picture I am going to paint for you is “normal” here but it isn’t the way things should be. Moms come in by huge numbers each day to give birth. They bring their own supplies, everything they will need. Food, tea, wash basin, sheets, money for the medicine they may need to buy, clothes and blankets for the baby, several pairs of doctor gloves for when they check for progress and for delivery, black plastic tarp for the women to lay on when its her turn to lay on the table to give birth. During the day the women must go outside the hospital to labor. They clean during the day. They are spread along sidewalks, in the yards, any where they can find a place to be. They have family members with them, as they labor. They wash clothes, and bathe outside. They start fires to cook as they wait. They make tea and watch over the laboring mother.
When the women first come in they wait their turn to see the doctor. It don’t matter if you are about to give birth, you wait your turn. These women labor in silence for the most part, because know one really cares about how much pain they are in because a hundred other women are in the very same situation they are in. You are checked to see how you are doing, blood pressure and temperature are taken. Then you are told to go and labor. Your blood pressure isn’t checked again, and for the most part they don’t check on the baby again either. If they are concerned and want to talk to the doctor they are told to go and wait until the time they were given for their next check. It is so infuriating. They labor on hard concrete with a grass mat or thin wrap. They only get a bed when they are being checked by the doctor or when it is time to push. When the baby comes out, it is back to the floor, or outside. Some women will get a bed a room if there is one available. Those are mostly for moms though, who have had complications and have needed surgery. It is a very cold process. No doctor is really concerned with how anyone is doing. There are too few doctors for the number of women giving birth. It is an assembly line and it is unacceptable. But how do you change a system that has been in place for so long and when you are just one person.
This last mom bled out. A nurse in training left to care for her. She didn’t know what to do when she started bleeding so heavily. The doctors don’t always come when things happen because they are too busy and these nurses in training are expected to do things they are not ready to do. It is gut wrenching for everyone involved but more so for the moms, who lose their lives, giving birth, and just become another statistic. Another baby, brought into an institution to be raised. For what? Because of what? I am angry. I am angry that these women didn’t chose to be born into a developing country. The cost of this is so high. They lose their lives to things that hardly ever happen in developed countries. It is so unfair, the way these women have to suffer. It has just broken my heart.
I dream, open a birthing center. A center where women can go to give birth, have a bed to lay on while they are laboring, no concrete floor, no cold delivery. So please pray for me as I lay this before the Lord. I don’t know forsure what He wants me to do to help these women but I know that I have to do something. I can’t just let these mothers die day after day.
Please pray for these mommas. Please pray for the babies, that will never know their moms. Please pray for wisdom for me as I try to figure out how to hire staff and start unfolding the ministry as God leads. Please pray that we are able to work with the families of these orphaned babies so we can try to help them with the resources they need to raise these babies in their homes. Please pray that the moms of the abandoned babies will come forward so we can begin the reuniting process and help families come back together again.
Thank you for lifting us up in your prayers. We know God will lead us in the way we should go and provide for everything He is calling me to do but somedays, like the past few days it can really get a bit overwhelming when looking at what needs to be done and realizing that every day we aren’t up and operating, more moms will die giving birth and from abortions, and more babies will lose their lives to abortion, can just weigh so heavily on my heart. I am trying to remember to wait on God and to trust Him and His timing. So thank you for your love and support. God Bless