Doesn’t matter how many times I see pictures like this… my heart stirs every time with love for the incredible people of Africa, and longing to be back… and soon I will be back! I return this year, the end of August.
My ❤ is for Africa … and her smile was worth waiting for.. Her name is Malaika, or, ‘Angel’ in English. She was ‘dirt poor’ but ‘heart rich.’ Her tummy wasn’t full of food, but her heart was full of love. Her stick & mud hut with a thatch roof wasn’t full of toys, but it was full of joy. One thing that I’ve witnessed about these precious people, they have a deep sense of family bonding, and community.
Malaika is only 9 years old, but she was a ‘mother’ to this little one on her back. She was devoted to the care of her brother, and did a great job of it.
While I was in Gulu, Uganda February 2017, with the Joyce Meyer’s Ministries “Hand of Hope”, she caught my eye. Primarily because the first few times I was drawn to her, she kept her distance, and did NOT smile, not even a hint. Several days there, she’d come by the ministry tent I was serving in, and hover around, listening. I always smiled at her, hoping to engage her.
Finally, on the third day, she was still there, (a local whose family lived in the bush in neighboring village), when I had my camera in hand, she paused. I held the camera out to her, saying ‘kamera? Picha?’ Which in English is, Camera, Picture. Or Photo. So, she nodded her head, stopped and posed.
But didn’t smile. Not at first. Like the previous days, she just starred at me. (Later I was told by my interpreter that I was the first ‘white’ person she’s ever seen.) So, I made a face back at her, similar to the expression she had on hers, which is just like the one of her baby brother on her back’s face, and then stuck out my tongue, and laughed…and that’s when she smiled at me!
She followed me over to the ministry tent, cause I asked her if she wanted a ‘treat.’ While there, I had my interpreter help me in finding out if she had received Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hadn’t. Praise God! She was open, and since she had heard me preach the gospel multiple times before, and because she heard me sharing my testimony many times before, she was ready. Faith came to her in the hearing of the Word! (Romans 10:17 ‘Now, faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the Word of God.’ I enjoyed thoroughly praying with her after taking her picture, and then was successful in leading her to Jesus!!! Oh, how I enjoyed that! That, and giving her sweets …though Jesus is the sweetest sweet ever!
I can’t tell you all enough how THANKFUL I am to you all who support our ministries, because without your help, people like Malaika may never get to hear the gospel, or have opportunity to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! THANK YOU for helping to send me to Gulu, Uganda! THANK YOU for your faithful prayers! THANK YOU for your caring and partnering with us! YOU MATTER! Your support matters! Thank you so much!