Carry your candle. Run to the darkness.
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn.
Hold your candle for all to see it.
Take your candle, go light your world.
There is a verse that says,
Frustrated brother, see how he tries to
Light his own candle some other way.
And see your sister, she's been lost and lied to,
She holds a candle without a flame.
Last year, we met Vicky's mom (Mamma Vicky) while we were here. Mamma Police (one of my favorite women in all of Uganda) had contacted Moses about this situation to see what we could do to help Vicky, so we went to check it out. Vicky's mother became paralyzed during Vicky's birth, so her husband left her. Both of Mamma Vivky's parents had passed away, so it was left to her siblings to care for her and Vicky. This was a huge burden to them, so they sold her portion of the inheritance and spent it on medical care trying to make her better. When the money ran out, they could no longer afford to help, and Mamma Vicky still couldn't support herself or her daughter. The siblings allowed her to still live on their land, but in a very worn mud structure. Her candle was clearly without a flame. Vicky did all of the work to try to keep them alive. When we met her, she was 12. Mamma Police was concerned that she was not safe (the door to her hut was a sheet), and that the mother was not safe either. After we met them, I sat with Robert and Moses, so frustrated and upset. Taking Vicky into Ddembe was a no brainier, but I wanted to move Mamma Vicky in with us and care for her too. Moses helped me remember that once we began supporting her, it was for the rest of her life, because she would likely never walk again. We agreed to pray about how to best help her. Vicky moved to Ddembe a few weeks later, and the police activity "shamed" the family into moving Mamma Vicky into their concrete house where she would at least be safer.
Fast forward one year. Vicky is absolutely full of life here!
Rodney and his teams have been out to visit Mamma Vicky several times and they have even taken a couple of the boys from Ddembe to do some work for her. I was excited to hear that she is doing much better, but was not expecting what I found yesterday!
We arrived at her house, and she wasn't there. This surprised me, since she can't get around much. A few minutes later, a woman came WALKING across the road. I looked past her for awhile before I realized it was her!!!! She had been digging in the garden! Her smile was huge, but only half as big as mine! We hugged (standing up!!) and she moved to the porch of her concrete home. She is still stumbling and walking with her hands out to her sides, and cannot walk long, but she can stand and sit and walk (and dig!). She told me that she's still living in the sitting room of the concrete house with a sister and the sister's children. The family is still not treating her well, but she is safe. She is a fiercely determined woman, and her testimony is awesome. Her pastor has been telling her for years to pray for healing from her lameness, but she never believed it would make a difference. When God sent us to care for Vicky, she felt free from the burden of worrying about her daughter being raped or taken, and she was safer when her family moved her. This was enough to give her the faith to begin praying, and slowly, God is healing her. She is a living testimony to many who are watching all of this happen in her life.
Ddembe's motto is "love, hope, freedom." It is clear that the small glimpse of hope in Mamma Vicky's dark world was enough to change her faith and her life. Praise God!
Where can you carry your candle today?