Uganda Day 5 – Katanga Slums and New Years Eve
Kari Wilson and Meredith Kroeze
We decided to blog earlier today since we won’t get home until late tonight. We are ringing in the New Year at Saints Gate Church in the Katwe slums. We are told it will be 5 hours of worship and dancing followed by a midnight service to start 2015. We have all decided that this will be the most epic New Year’s Eve party ever. (*Due to internet issues, this is being posted after the party, and the short summary is definitely most epic. There were at least 2500 people there.*)
We started our day off ministering in the slums of Katanga right outside of Kampala. We were there with a group from Saints Gate Church inviting the people to join us for our New Year’s Eve celebration. We split off into groups and walked around the slums inviting them to the event, praying for people in their homes, and loving on the children. Whenever we arrive anywhere, the children just come running. Within five minutes we all had children holding our hands and asking us to hold them. They were our unofficial tour guides.
Meredith and Dave had a conversation with a man and his family who were practicing Muslims. When they heard about Destiny school they were very interested in having their children attend – even though it is a Christian school. When Dave and Meredith asked if they could pray for his family, the man said yes because he said only Christians came to the slums to love on their kids. Jessica and Mike were in another group and while they were praying with different families throughout the slums, 3 people accepted Christ into their hearts.
The Children of the World choir performed for the people of the slums and the church brought out about 10 large containers full of rice and meat to feed about 500 people. We were able to help hand out food to people who desperately needed it. As we were feeding the group, a man Stephen came up to Dave and Mike and within a few minutes he asked Jesus into his life. The Gospel was also shared and there were at least 17 people that prayed the prayer for Salvation. Jesus was present all over this place – this is what He would be doing – serving and loving these beautiful people.
We next went to Mulaga which is the only hospital in the city. Our team spent their time in the Baby Ward to pray over the sick babies and their families. This was extremely hard for every one of us. When we think of hospitals, we think white walls and floors that we can see our reflection in. This was not the case for this hospital in this 3rd World Country. It was shocking to see old metal cribs with mosquito nets around them, very few areas with electricity, dirty floors and walls (when compared to American standards), and open windows to provide some air flow. We first went in to pray with two babies in the intensive care unit. These babies were tiny and their mothers’ expression just seemed hopeless. It was hard to understand their names but we prayed for the babies, the parents and their families – that no matter what the outcome, their lives would bring glory to God.
The team went throughout the baby and toddler ward praying together and individually for these sick children. As we prayed for each child, we gave them a small soft blanket to hold. One child that Meredith prayed for looked about the size of a 2 or 3 month old and when asked how old he was, his mother said he was 2 years and 3 months old. He was so skinny and tiny and looked like he was in so much pain. Dave and Cyrus were with another little boy who did not have a family member nearby. His name was Richard and he had the biggest, sweetest eyes and smile. He was not hesitant at all when some of the team was around him. He soon clenched onto Dave’s finger and smiled every time Cyrus or Dave talked to him. When Dave began praying for Richard, he started babbling. It was not clear what was wrong with Richard but it seemed like his legs might’ve been paralyzed.
While this morning was probably the hardest morning of ministry so far, it was extremely rewarding. We were so encouraged by how much the Lord was at work in these places. Every day here is another example of how only through Christ can there be hope for what appears so hopeless. We are so blessed to be able to be His hands and feet this week.