Friday, April 17, 2009

Healing has come to my home...

It’s very difficult to put into words what has happened over these last four days, but I will attempt it. My husband works for a Christian non-profit and two of his national staff came to visit us from Uganda, Africa. Aloysius and Esther Kyazze work in northern Uganda with war traumatized children, adults, HIV mothers and child mothers. I cannot express in this short space all they do for their people. But I can tell you they have both been gifted by God to see into the hearts and souls of hurting people, bringing healing and peace.

Our time together was short, but full of many meetings, speaking engagements and times of sharing. One morning we asked Aloysius to enlighten us with how he reaches out to these African children who have known nothing but war. Many of the children have been abducted by the rebel army and forced to become child soldiers. Many of them have been forced to butcher their own parents. Many have been forced to become sex slaves of the adult rebels. After escaping they are left emotionally, physically and psychologically damaged. The HIV mothers have been infected through rape or unfaithful husbands. The child mother’s have been tricked by unscrupulous men to have sex for food or a small treat then abandoned by the man and even their own families when they become pregnant. These girls are as young as 13 years.

Because they have known nothing but war for 25 years, this community of people have forgotten how to farm, how to raise livestock, how to be self sufficient. The NGOs in the area have handed out food and aid, but are now closing their offices as the crisis is over leaving these people with no knowledge of how to take care for themselves or how to get on with the business of living. The government is telling them to go back to their villages when their villages have been destroyed. Aloysius and Esther along with their staff and volunteers help teach their people the tools and skills they will need to begin again. They also walk along side of them to help bring emotional healing.

As Aloysius began to teach us how he encourages a traumatized person and helps them begin the healing process, my husband and I realized how broken we had become through Josh’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and continuing medical issues. We had already known this, but it became clearer as Aloysius was sharing with us. The trauma has also impacted our four daughters in various ways. If you have read this blog at all, you will know through my writings of our pain, heartache and struggles. Just the confirmation by Aloysius of our brokenness was enough to begin softening and covering our hearts with the balm of healing. I know we have not endured the atrocities these poor people in northern Uganda have, but our trauma is just as real, just as painful and just as much in need of help as theirs. In my world there are many hurting families due to childhood cancer and I desire to acquire the tools to be able to reach out to them with love, compassion and hope through the Holy Spirit.

Late last night, Esther spoke intensely and from her heart with our two high school daughters imparting an African Mama’s perspective and wisdom on life and God. What a special time that was! As I crawled into bed late in the evening, tears filled my eyes and a song I hadn’t sung in a long time filled my mind. It is titled “There is a Balm in Gilead”. I looked it up this morning and low and behold, it’s an African American Spiritual! I have copied the powerful words below. Aloysius and Esther left early this morning leaving behind a husband and wife who now feel a wholeness returning. Our focus, energy and purpose have been revived.

The healing has begun…

There Is a Balm in Gilead
By: African American Spiritual

Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus and say, "He died for all."
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

Don’t ever feel discouraged, for Jesus is your friend;
And if you lack for knowledge, He’ll never refuse to lend.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.