Literally a dumping ground for all the clothes every missionary has ever paid extra to carry over in their luggage. Seriously. Old youth group shirts, baby clothes....It's crazy.
It has made me realize the truly small value of the "stuff" we bring over. For the past two years, we have not brought clothes to Agnes' orphanage. When people ask me why, I reply with this: "if I were to lose everything I owned in a fire, and my African friends gathered up some of their clothes to send me, I would be touched and grateful, but I would still feel silly wearing my African clothes in Dripping Springs." This is what happened to Agnes' kids when we brought sparkly shoes and skorts. We took pictures and thought they looked adorable, but in truth, they ended up just wearing their school uniforms.
Sigh. What's the answer? I don't know. Now we bring vitamins and we pay for things they really need, like firewood and school shoes. The children of our church raised money (a lot!) for school uniforms (pictures coming soon!!), which blessed the lady who sold us entire bolts of fabric, the sweet tailor who sewed that many uniforms, and the children.
SO. (In Uganda, this is how it works. They say, "so." It is an entire sentence, and they don't follow it with anything.)
I had typed all of that into the blog last night, but had not finished the post. Apparently, that was God's doing, because He wanted to show me something first.
Today I spent the day with God is Grace, a fantastic ministry run by Kelly Green's wife, Beth. In a nutshell, this ministry provides one year sponsorships for women while they learn to support their families.
Prossy has eight children (there were nine, but the youngest recently passed away.) She lives, with her children, in a room that cannot be more then 7 ft x 5 ft. They share this room with one piece of furniture that holds everything they own, and two chairs. There is not room for two people to lay down in there, much less nine. We ask how they sleep, and she explained that they sleep sitting in the chairs, etc. We are not talking about not having comfy beds. We are talking about no way to ever lay down flat... Even on a dirt floor, which is currently a mud floor because it's the rainy season.
Prossy and hervhusband built a house, but then his parents took it and kicked them out. Then they moved and built this house:
It is very nice. Once it was built, her husband got a new wife, sold the house, and left her and their children in this room...
Prossy has not given up under the weight of all of this. She received a pig from God is Grace, and a friend is letting her keep the pig at her (the friend's) place. She also received wood from her pastor, and used it to build this kiosk, in order to sell things...
She had the kiosk "at the road" where the shopping happens, but the owner of the "strip" was jealous, and told her she had to pay 100,000 Uganda shillings in order to stay. ($40) This was, of course, out of her reach, so she brought the kiosk to her home and sells to her neighbors. While everyone was amazed at her resilience and perseverance, the God is Grace ladies from here in Uganda began to counsel her that she would be wise to sell things that are non- perishable. One of them even suggested that there was no one in this village selling second-hand clothes, and that this would be a good business for her.
Once I removed the knife of conviction from my self-righteous little heart, I was able to whisper, "we could get her started with the clothes we leave!" She clapped and cheered at the help she is receiving from GiG, because it is keeping her family alive.
And there it is... Something I thought was silly and useless (and was willing to publicly judge) turned out to be a potentially huge blessing for Prossy and her family.
God is faithful with our stuff. All of it. I want to be more open to letting Him show me exactly what He intends to do with it!