I have returned from the Island and am once again in contact with phones, email, and the worldwide web. When we arrived two weeks ago in the village of Kitamiru, we immediately inquired about James, the deaf boy Alfred was planning to move to the deaf school in Mbale with our help. James was nowhere to be seen. We discovered that his uncles had sent him off to a more distant island to be with his alcoholic father who abandoned him six years ago.

Apparently, James had developed some anger issues when no one could or would understand his gestures – translation: make any effort to understand what he was trying to communicate. So, predictably, James began to respond with temper – he is intelligent and demands a voice in a culture where no one sees him as more than an unpleasant aberration. So his three uncles “dealt with him” by sending him away. Now he was located at an even more remote and isolated place than we found him last year.

One of our hosts, Bishop Waako, informed us that even he was surprised at how far away the island was (at least six hours by motorboat). Alfred and I began to wonder if we would have to take a long motorboat ride to fetch him ourselves. I was resolved to do this as a last resort.

As it turned out, there was a pastor from that exact island attending the Bible Institute we were teaching. I was able to send him to investigate the situation and hopefully return with James and family representatives who could commit him over to our care. As I said in a previous blog entry, we had been forced to return to the mainland over that first weekend after the Institute. On Monday, when we returned to the village on Buvuma, there stood the pastor hoIMG_20150620_102108_497lding onto James.

The pastor told us that none of his family members, aunts or uncles, etc., would make the journey with James. His own father would not leave his drinking for such a meaningless task. This boy is truly alone in the world.

James was happy and surprised to see us – maybe happy to see Alfred and surprised to see me is more accurate. We concluded our second week of ministry on the island and then began what will be a great adventure for James, from the ferry ride to the city of Jinja to the long 100 mile car ride to Mbale on Uganda roads.

I talked to Alfred this morning, who is personally caring for James, and he said, “This boy is somehow disturbing me,” which is wonderful Ugandan understatement for “He’s quite a handful!” Poor single Alfred has no experience in parenting. Through the afternoon, I’ve received a series of texts from him that the boy has run off (James has had IMG_0425little discipline or care at any time, and so it is his habit to go where and when he chooses, which will be a problem for the school to sort out). The last text I received said that Alfred has finally found him and is on the way to our now long overdue meeting.

So James faces a giant mountain of change and opportunity that he will, I’m sure, at first find restricting to his 10 years of habitual freedom – he will find it difficult to live among people who actually care about him. Please pray for this little ten-year old. In many ways he is wise beyond his years in ways a child should never have to be. He is often a wild child who seems like an amalgam of Helen Keller and a child raised by wolves .

James faces a mountain. He will need lots of patience, love and assistance to climb it. Life waits on the other side…