I almost didn’t come on this trip.
A month before traveling to Uganda I got really sick. I have ulcerative colitis and had a major flare up with some serious symptoms. I’ve been in remission for 6 years and honestly forgot I even had a disease. I started treatments immediately with a brand new GI doctor and told him I would do whatever it took to get better…fast! I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to meet Sole Hope and be a part of an incredible team of storytellers.
I was distracted. It was never far from my mind if I was really going to be able to travel to Uganda. I prayed for healing, felt incredible support from my family, and hoped for a miracle. However, my body did not go back into remission.
The past several weeks, one thing never wavered, I was going to go and do it afraid. God was working on my compassion. I was about to journey to serve with a ministry that treats people suffering from a foot disease called jiggers. They are humbled, ashamed, fearful, and in some cases hopeless. I was also feeling some of those same feelings.
Have you ever felt that God was preparing you for a very specific purpose, despite the distractions and vulnerability?
I traveled to Uganda this week (with medicine packed in my bag) and made a decision to give the Lord my very best, even though I’m not at my best. He takes us right where we are and works through us for His purpose, His glory, His plans. Our weaknesses are His strengths.
I have strength for ALL things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].—Phil 4:13
I decided to share my colon craziness with the team of storytellers and Sole Hope staff…set aside my worry and be an open book…be real. They have made me feel supported and cared for in every way! They have prayed over me and I haven’t missed a single ministry opportunity.
Today, I met a woman named Agati, who helped me understand why God allowed me to suffer before coming to Uganda. It all made sense when I wrapped my arms around a widow and mom of four that needed my heart compassionate and ready to love big. How long had it been since she had been touched or hugged?
(photos: Gary S. Chapman)
Her case of jiggers was very serious. Her living conditions were extreme poverty and she was suffering with unimaginable pain from her foot disease and malnutrition, as well as her children. She heard about Sole Hope and bravely brought her children with faith that they would help her. She wanted to provide for her family, but the devastation of jiggers made it impossible for her to sell bananas in her village and buy food for her children.
“There is also a social stigma and shame associated with the victims of jiggers which causes them to hide the problem which makes it worse” -Sole Hope
What would we do for our own children if they were suffering? Would we do whatever it takes to provide them with the best care in the world? Sole Hope provides the best care and I watched it unfold today. I was speechless.
This beautiful, brave mom touched my heart. She made a decision to no longer hide the problem and take action. I promised her that her story would be told so many, many more brave moms and children would no longer have to suffer with jiggers.
Please help share her story…pass it on using the hashtag #solestories on your social media.
There are many ways you can be involved with making a sustainable change through Sole Hope. The Sole Hope team appreciates and values the support and encouragement of volunteers. Get involved here! Host a shoe party, be an advocate, and so much more. Today, the Sole Hope team launched an incredible building project today that will grow the ministry and allow them to help MORE people suffering from jiggers. Check this out….
Sole Hope is building HOPE – taking the next step!