If I could put a photo on this, in any way, I most certainly would. It's another one of those "only God" stories.
In December, 1995, Dave and I were worried, trying to figure out how we could return to the States as necessary in April, 1996. We were nearly out of money other than the basic living costs. Our credit cards were maxed out, savings gone. We had a few people who had been donating for our ministry needs, but we had become overwhelmed by the expenses. We weren't being extravagant, but between those basic needs and taking care of folks God had dropped in our path, we were hitting the wall. One main plan was to sell our household items, including a generator, computer, VCR, TV, and Dave's music equipment and piles of music tapes. We needed about $2,000, which would provide just enough to fly home.
In early December, we were meeting one of our main friends, Fr. Albert, for dinner in Kampala. I was in town before Dave and Fr. A. arrived and was in the Sheraton Hotel hanging out and waiting for them. A Ugandan was playing Christmas carols on an old piano in the very hot, sunny registration/reception center -- definitely didn't feel like our normal Christmas. A man was sitting on a couch, and, less than bright on my side, I assumed that, because he had my skin color he spoke my usual English. So, being me, my yammery personality, I made a comment about the heat and songs. Well, I was WRONG! He was Italian, could speak French, and indicated with that "so-so" hand motion, he could do some English. I said I could speak French. However, after we tried to communicate, he said my French wasn't good enough, so we'd have to try to make it in his English. Worked OK. We did talk for about half an hour. He said he was a cotton import/exporter and had been purchasing cotton from around Jinja, 60 miles away. He was waiting for a taxi to take him to the airport, and it was running late. In that next stretch, he asked what Dave and I did, and when I talked about being at the orphanage, he was very touched. He said he didn't believe in God and he was mad at church, but his wife would truly want to see that location when they came back to Uganda the following month.
In early January, I went to the hotel and met Paolo in the lounge and he told me his wife hadn't come because she'd had a ski accident in the Alps [they lived in Milan], and that he wouldn't take the time to go to the orphanage. BUT, then he handed me an envelope, and said, "This is for you. It is a small amount... oh, just a small amount... only a thousand dollars."
My brain exploded. " A thousand American dollars, Ugandan shillings, Italian lira? ...Was he confused?" I started to open the envelope, and he stopped me and said that I could see it later, that first we should talk. A few minutes later, he asked me to come to the hotel for lunch the next day and to bring Dave so he could meet my husband. [Dave was at the orphanage and would be coming into Kampala the next morning.]
When I left, walking across the hotel garden towards the street, I opened the envelope. I was absolutely stunned. There were 10... brand new... $100 bills.
Walking through downtown Kampala, the money buried in my backpack, I carried it across my chest instead of on my back, with my arms crossed over it. No one could slice the straps and sneak it away from me, a common theft manner. Uh, UH!!
That $1000, plus what we sold, provided exactly what we needed to get back home. If the Lord had not dropped Paolo into our lives, I have no idea what else would have occurred to give us enough money to get back to Omaha.
I have hoped that, through Paolo blessing us so amazingly, God dropped strongly into HIS life. I truly hope to see him in heaven.