Catherine, a woman of about 60 living in the Ugandan town of Gwase, showed up for worship recently at the community’s Lutheran church.
“I experienced the love of God as you treated our homes,” she said, “and I have come to be a part of you.”
Most readers will readily resonate to the expressions “I experienced the love of God” and “I have come to be a part of you”; but many might puzzle a bit over phrase “as you treated our homes.” This story will of course clear up any confusion—and, we hope, offer a picture of the power of practical holistic ministry.
A Lutheran Hour Ministries—Uganda outreach team traveled to Gwase in east-central Uganda to present an Equipping the Saints training workshop and a film showing as they do in rural areas across the country.
“We had no idea what more the Lord had prepared for the audiences whom we were soon going to meet—outside ETS and film shows,” says ministry center Director Rebecca Kyomuhendo. “Our mission was to equip the laymen with skills and strategies to embrace personal evangelism for the kingdom of God in their communities.”
But something else was indeed awaiting the team in Gwase: jiggers.
“Jigger” is one of the popular names for the chigoe flea, a parasite found in tropical and sub-tropical climates. During the reproductive cycle of jiggers, the female burrows into exposed skin on the feet of animals and humans, feeds on blood from the vessels near the surface of the skin and lays her eggs. The results are almost always irritation and infection—typically on the feet or hands, but also on other parts of the body; often anemia and disfigurement occur as well.
According to Kyomuhendo, the jigger problem in Gwase was severe.
“The Jigger infection in Gwase was overwhelming as we beheld people whose feet and hands had been eaten, including babies,” she says. “Under the direction of a local health official, we moved from home to home treating those who were infected by washing the affected parts with detergent and Hydrogen peroxide and fumigating their houses with louse-killing chemicals. In total, more than 40 people from 10 families were treated for jiggers.”
Catherine was one of them.
“The activity was not just a social act for the affected families,” says Kyomuhendo, “but another way that God intended to show His love to His people. We believe God’s people felt the touch of His hand of love in their deepest need.” The team used the situation to talk about God’s creation and about His plan for human beings: “we also encouraged the affected families to take good care of their homes and bodies, as one of the things God desires of them,” Kyomuhendo said.
For Catherine, this demonstration of God’s love was the ministry God had designed to lead her to still greater healing—healing of the soul forever.
To learn more about Lutheran Hour Ministries—Uganda, visit www.lhmint.org.