Tuesday, July 24, 2012

REBEKAH'S BIRTHDAY

When in Soroti, Uganda, during the Joseph Kony rebel damage, God dropped a young girl into the lives of me and my co-"minister" Jill. An aid worker for a Ugandan organization wanted to help in the girl's situation, but couldn't, and Kevina laid it in our laps. When we followed through, our lives changed. The girl was at the local hospital caring for her brother ... she was guesstimated at 12, and he was 14. We met and cared for them on Wednesday.  He died during surgery on Thursday night. 
Her parents had died and other family members couldn't help. After her brother's death, the local authorities gave us permission to take her back to the orphanage with us, a much different district area nearly 200 miles away, and we left for Christmas break the following week.

The assumption was that she would be added to a family group home. That changed before we reached the orphanage. My Ugandan son and daughter-in-law, Sam and Adhe, picked the three of us up in Kampala, a couple hours from New Hope.
Before we reached there, Adhe had "adopted" the girl ... and for eight years, she has lived in this family. Her whole life changed: From -- little or no education, no daily care, ragged or nearly non-existent clothing, little food, no medical care, and working incessantly to the bone because of the others' expectations and her servant-heart attitude. To -- a good education, good food and nice clothes, medical care, and a totally sold-out mother and father, and young sister, and "Aunt" Jill, and piles and piles of friends. And, yes, she still does chores, but not in the harshness of her former life.

Before we reached New Hope that evening, Adhe had changed her name from something informal and "nick-namey" to Rebekah. When we discovered this the next day, Jill wanted her also to be called "Sanyu" because it means "joy" and we saw it flowing from Rebekah constantly, even when she was in the hospital caring for her brother. I presented that idea to Adhe, and she immediately applied it and "our" girl is Rebekah Sanyu.

The reason I'm telling this is because when I returned home several weeks later, I was very sick... Post traumatic stress from what I'd seen and heard in that refugee area; many physical problems connected to exhaustion, malnutrition, sleep deprivation and malaria; emotional residue from the separation from my husband, having spent 2-1/2 months without him, except for the occasional phone call [he came the last two weeks, which caused great rejoicing among many of our family and friends, and my heart could relax again]; AND the overall cost for that 3 months came to approximately $6,000, not exactly a "cheap date."


About three months later, Sam and I were talking on the phone. I was feeling better, doing OK. And I said to him, "Sometimes I think the main reason the Lord called me to Soroti was to get Rebekah and give her to you." My son, knowing all that we had gone through, and not taking any of it lightly, said he agreed and ended with, "... and it was worth it, Mom."

Now, why is July part of this after all these years?  It's a big natural birthday month for me.  A nephew, myself, my Twin granddaughters, my half-brother, half-sister, Sam and his daughter Stella.  Filled with people.

And there's another one.  When Rebekah was taken into the family, no one knew when she was born.  Comments from side-family members in Soroti had guesstimated that she was about 12 years old, as I mentioned before.

Here's a photo of Sam and our dear granddaughter. It was taken just a couple days after she reached the orphanage, and wore bright "kid" clothes [nothing compared to the large "old woman" dress she was wearing when Jill and I met her a week earlier].
Before Dave and I left Uganda, I was told that after everything Sam and Adhe had begun to walk through with her, they had decided that her birthday would be July 9th.  The reason?  It was my birthday and now she was my granddaughter, so she was given to me as a forever ever birthday gift.  I've been blessed beyond belief.

Would so love to go over and see her now.  So much has changed for her in appearance, education, and loved ones.  I just turned 67; she just became 20.  Still in school, but she has gone forward so quickly, since she had hardly any education until she was "12".  What a blessing.



You can become July-ful by visiting Peter Pollock's Word Carnival.

8 comments:

Betty said...

This so blessed my heart...such a tender read. It is those God sends our way that bury themselves in our hearts to stay forever.

My husband and I came home Sept 2011 from seven years in Papua New Guinea, before that seven years in Bolivia, SA. We still serve with New Tribes Mission in the states. Have never regretted one minute of our time in both countries.

Beautiful post. Blessings.

Betty said...

This so blessed my heart...such a tender read. It is those God sends our way that bury themselves in our hearts to stay forever.

My husband and I came home Sept 2011 from seven years in Papua New Guinea, before that seven years in Bolivia, SA. We still serve with New Tribes Mission in the states. Have never regretted one minute of our time in both countries.

Beautiful post. Blessings.

Betty said...

This so blessed my heart...such a tender read. It is those God sends our way that bury themselves in our hearts to stay forever.

My husband and I came home Sept 2011 from seven years in Papua New Guinea, before that seven years in Bolivia, SA. We still serve with New Tribes Mission in the states. Have never regretted one minute of our time in both countries.

Beautiful post. Blessings.

Betty said...

So sorry, it posted three times...sorry

Peter P said...

Awww, you're trying to make me cry, aren't you!

July is truly a great month for Rebekah!

Carol said...

Beautiful story! Happy July Birthday to you and Rebekah!

Anonymous said...

in the last picture, she is definitely revealing her middle name. Birthday blessings to both of you beautiful people!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great story! Maybe she'll be able to come and visit you and Dave in the states someday. N.