Do you remember the story of Luwaida from my adventures last September-October in Uganda? She was the tiny 80 year old lady whom we shared Christ with who wasn’t really interested in Christ but who would always ask for something as we pulled away from our visits, things like meat, sugar, and soap. I always try to check on her when I come through Jinja, and last time I was here, I assigned the new church plant at Naminya, the village where she lives, to watch over her, love her and minister to her needs.

Well, yesterday it was time to check in on Luwaida again, but I was unable to accompany Samuel and his two men on this particular visit. But I sent her a care package “from the musungu” – soap of both body and clothes types, sugar, beans, rice, and cooking oil, all staples which I’m sure she can use.

When she saw the men approaching, she immediately recognized them from the church plant, and pastor Samuel from previous visits. She looked around, asking if the musungu also was here. They explained that I was unable to come this time, but that I had sent her a gift and they gave the package to her. She was so overwhelmed that she started laughing again, just as she had last Fall. She asked if the musungu thought of her after all this time and loved her so much that he would send such gifts. Samuel said that the musungu did indeed think of her and love her, but that Jesus loved her even more, as she could see from the gifts which were brought to her in His Name.

The two young men who have successfully gotten her to come to church a few times, though walking even that short distance is difficult for her, began to share Christ with her again. When they asked her this time if she wanted to receive Christ, instead of dismissing it as she has in the past, she said through her laughing and smiling, “When you love me like this, I cannot fail to believe what you are telling me. I am in your hands.” And she prayed to receive Jesus Christ into her life.

It has been my prayer that if our little community there in Naminya will just love Luwaida consistently, perhaps her heart would soften and she would come to know Him personally. Here’s the thing about Luwaida. Her life if totally defined by need. Every moment of every day is spent either moving to fill some need or recovering from moving to fill some need. Each day she has to fetch water from the spring, some distance from her home, she has to cook her meager food supply, she has to bathe…in short, she has to accomplish all the things it takes to stay healthy and alive with a body that is becoming increasingly difficult and uncooperative.

As far as I know, she is alone. We observe no family visitors, no adult children stopping by to check on her, no extended family so common in Uganda to absorb her into their community to care for her. She is alone. She lives a life defined by her needs. She has lived a good day when she is fed and has gotten through without injuring herself in some manner. Each day is the same as the one before, defined by whatever it will take to survive it and successfully make to her bed one more time.

My heart goes out to Luwaida. I am glad she has received the Savior. But my ability to minister to her needs from afar is very limited because she needs so much, yet those needs are all small, though legion.

Samuel told me that as they said their good-byes, she thanked them, continuing to smile and laugh in disbelief. Then she mentioned that once again, she has been without meat for a long time.

I really should have thought of that. Tomorrow, my last day here, I will see what God wants to do about it…