Many of you who have supported our efforts to rescue the deaf boy James from his difficult life and deliver him to the deaf school at Mbale are probably wondering what the status is. As soon as I arrived last Sunday, I began asking where James was and how he was. Here’s the story.

James, happy to have his picture taken

James, happy to have his picture taken

James is now about ten years old. Being abandoned and deaf in a community where disability is culturally despised and where there are no educational or social resources has all conspired to make rescuing him more difficult. He is very intelligent and so having no language, he is unable to make those around him

understand him. This is now causing some emotional damage as one would expect. Apparently, he was expressing quite a bit of anger and frustration when the adults around him could not or would not make the effort to understand him. This resulted in his three uncles (pastors James, happy to have his picture takenall) finally, after many years, locating their miscreant brother on another rather distant island and sending James away to live with his father. His father abandoned him about 6 years ago and has had no interest in him at all, and is a “a drunkard ma,” I am told. So this was not a good report.

Fortunately, we got phone numbers to the relatives in this far away place and after much difficulty, Alfred and the bishop have been able to establish some communication. God, of course, has moved ahead of us, as one of the leaders who attended this week’s Bible Institute was from this very island and knows the people and the culture there very well. So, P1100912bottom line, he has been dispatched by the bishop to return to the island, locate James and his father, and bring them back to Bavuma so we can get the father’s permission to move James.

It is possible that we will have James with us by Monday (tomorrow).

So many things must fall into place. The father must give his written permission and release the boy to Alfred Mafumba and the bishop; the local government official must sign off on this because it involves transporting a child; James must be willing to leave the only home he knows without any way for us to tell him why or where; then, having enabled Alfred to take charge of him , we must escort him to a strange school (remember that he has never been in any school) in a strange and distant city, and then leave him among total strangers; James has to cooperate with all this.

I can’t help but think that Alfred and I are probably among a very small number of people who have ever made any effort to communicate with and love this boy, and we had to go away last fall and leave him there. How will he regard us as he sees us again, and how will he react to us again leaving him yet again, but this time among strangers. And all without any language to help him understand! My heart breaks even as I write this.

So please, pray, call out to the Lord on James’ behalf. A lot has to fall into place before the end of this week when we leave Buvuma and return to the mainland again, hopefully with James in tow.