Each day here in Uganda God continues to blow my mind. Fridays are a full day of ministry for the Show Mercy team. January 30th, began with some inspiring worship with the other interns and Bethany and Brittany, Show Mercy workers in Uganda and Oregon. After Brittany had a powerful encounter with God the night before, she felt an overwhelming call from Him to speak love into our lives that morning. The interns were prayed over, we were encouraged that “God loves us because He loves us because He loves us because He loves us because He loves us.” He loves us 100%, now, no matter what we will ever do.
Our worshipping and praying ran long so we jumped right into a van that took us to our morning outreach, the health clinic. in Wakiso, the largest nearby village. Every Tuesday and Friday mornings we visit this clinic and walk around praying for patients.
Now, this clinic is hard for me to illustrate in words. It is so different from anything you’d see in America. There are several different buildings. Most people stand or sit around outside. The windows are open. Bugs fly freely around, landing on patients who lay on cheap bed frames covered in cracked, plastic mattresses. Sometimes patients lay on the cement floor. My first visit to the maternity ward included a chicken roaming through the legs of women about to go into labor. Babies, children, and adults come to be treated for everything from ear and tooth aches to busted toes and malaria.
Because we visit here often, I felt compelled on our journey to the clinic to pray that everyone would leave feeling fruitful. I think when ministry is your full-time “job” it is easy to forget how extraordinary the little things are, like when you pray for someone and their face changes from pain to a smile. You don’t look over these things on purpose, you’re just constantly looking for conversions and transformations of people hearts and looking for the next person to tell about Jesus to. So I prayed that simple prayer and then we were getting out of the car.
Show Mercy outreach staff Iryn and Michael, and fellow interns, Jacqui and Jen and I slowly made our way to the building all the way in the back where we normally start. This is the building where patients are housed that have been admitted. Today there aren’t too many people there. We prayed over a young girl sitting outside with part of her IV in her arm, suffering from malaria. Inside we pray over her brother who is there supporting her. School starts next week and he is still trying to accumulate school fees (very common here).
When we leave that building we begin walking back down the hill towards the maternity ward. Jen brings up that last time we were here another outreach staff, Tom, told us in some families in Uganda, a baby is not named for three days after it is born. Iryn says she has not heard this. She mentions that past interns have had the opportunity to name babies here before. A child calls out to me from behind a bush “Hi mzungu!”(white person). Michael makes a joke about me standing out because of my skin color, and then we proceed inside.
I first notice that it actually smells clean in there today. In the maternity ward there are two groups of people. Iryn, Jacqui and Jen go over to a bed on the left, Michael and I walk over to a group on the right. Immediately I see a woman holding a brand new baby in her arms, the woman next to her is her mother. Michael interprets for me and we learn that this baby girl was born just an hour ago and they wanted me to pray a blessing over the baby. I walk closer and pray that she has a long, healthy life. I pray she has the opportunity to go school and becomes very successful. I pray that she brings joy to everyone she meets and I dedicate her life to the Lord.
When I look up the grandmother is smiling and she tells me I now get to name the baby.
I seem to do this a lot in Uganda but Umm…..What?!?
I look back and forth between the grandma and Michael about 50 times while my heart just about beats out of my chest. I covered my mouth in shock, exclaimed “Oh my goodness gracious,” and nearly cried.
I mean, who does that? That would never happen in America. First of all, you could never just walk into a maternity ward and pray over a baby still covered in embryonic fluid. No one would just let some random stranger name their baby, especially a foreigner.
I named the baby Deborah. I told the family that Debra is my mother’s name and it’s a name of people that have showed me great love in my life. Deborah is also a prophetess from the book of Judges that led Israel in victory over the Canaanites.
At this point, Iryn, Jen and Jacqui come over and learn what has happened. The family then told me that I am now the baby’s Godmother and they take down Michael’s phone number so they can invite me to Deborah’s baptism in a month. I am in so much shock as Jacqui takes pictures of me with the baby and I continue to welcome her into the world. Michael jokes that she is a “mzungu baby” because even the skin of African children is so light when they are first born. Somehow I make it out the door of the ward in a daze.
Like, how do you go about your day after that?
Well for me that consisted of praying for more patients, having an elderly man come up to us saying he’s always wanted a “mzungu girlfriend,” and in the afternoon having my Ugandan grandma (Jja Jja) tell me that she would pay my dowry if I married Michael.
Every day here God blows me away. After what happened in the prison just the day before I called my mom to tell her what God was doing through me. But I quickly realized that I would run out of prepaid cell phone minutes very fast if I called every time God did something incredible.
How could I ever deny my Father’s love for me when he bestows such lavish blessings on me such as this? I have done nothing to deserve such encounters of His love. In fact, I have done so much more to run away from Him. But God is so so good. He uses me and blesses me when I least expect it. I am beyond excited to see what He does in the rest of my time here.
Not long after leaving the clinic, we were driving back home. Outreach staff was chanting my name, Godmother Kelsey. Everyone’s spirits were high and they were cheering. I definitely didn’t ask to become a godmother to a little Ugandan girl this morning. I just prayed that we would all see the fruits of our labor that day as we went out to share the good news of Jesus. I laughed on the way home with the feeling that we were all in agreement that it had been a pretty fruitful morning. Praise God.