The large Sudanese family we've been studying the Bible with with since January are continuing to advance so steadily. The little girls 7, and 10 could barely read when we started, and now they're around 1st grade level. I'm so proud of them! Every time we come, they're waiting with their books and Bible excited to begin.
The boys are also excelling. They've been memorizing the Bible books and are enthusiastic as they take their turn in reciting them. One of the older boys, whom we believe is autistic, has always been tough to get through too. He's really coming around now though, and recently made everyone in the house a cover for their book and Bible out of notebook paper. We thought that was a sweet gesture and a sign of what's going on in his heart. He may be limited in verbal communication, but he thrives in the world of his imagination. Always inventing and working with his hands, he speaks through his creations. If you observe closely, you can hear him...
Along with this children we love their mother/step mother, such a kind and meek person. She never had the opportunity to go to school because of the war. But she is a wise woman. She is my age, 29 , and look at all she has to take care of! ^ She's improving in her reading too, and even commenting at the meetings. Sister to the mother is Mary, one of my favorite human beings on the planet! She's SO humble and really has the truth deep in her heart. Recently they removed all of the pictures and things tied to false religion from their home. No one asked them too. They saw it in the Bible and their hearts were moved to take a stand for pure worship.
We've mentioned before, we have tons of Sudanese refugees in Mbarara. Sadly fighting has broken out in Sudan again. These families struggled before, but now they're really suffering with next to no money, and very little food.
We help where we can of course, because we cannot sit back and watch them go hungry. However it's very important that we don't just give people everything they need, especially money. It's like the famous saying "Give a man a fish, feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a life time." We don't want them to rely on us. That's not healthy or productive.
Self-control in this situation is an enormous challenge. You want so badly to just take away all their problems, send them all to school, and make sure every belly is FULL. But they must rely on Jehovah God. Like we all must rely on Jehovah. (Proverbs 3:5,6) So we're helping them to start and supporting their little businesses. They do things like making chapati (a flat tortilla like food), sweeping and cleaning, sorting rice, or any odd jobs.
A couple weeks we got a little knock at the door, it was David, an 8 year old Sudanese boy with a big character. He came over to tell us about his "business" of making fried cassava. He goes to the market, buys the cassava, peels it, cuts it, soaks it overnight, fries it with oil, and then delivers it. He said he wants to save his money so he can go back to school. One bag is 1000 Uganda shillings (about 30 cents). It's very tasty, and even if it wasn't, we're buying every week! We give him more for delivery and told him every time he comes he can sweep our porch and for some extra shillings.