ROWAN partners with over 30 villages in Uganda, with their main office at the village in Mawanga. Everyone knows the word “village”. We’ve all heard, “It takes a village to raise a child…”. Many a town in England boast a village green; a pleasant, common green space in the town center. There’s the East Village in New York City, a hip, happening neighborhood—the Village People probably started there!
According to Wikipedia and it’s sources, “…a VILLAGE is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town. Villages are often located in rural areas and are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings. The dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape. Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village is often small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Historically homes were situated together for sociability and defence, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.” This seems like a pretty accurate description. And with ROWAN, the village—the clustered human settlement with fixed dwellings and farming—is also a family. As I mentioned in a previous post, our son Jake served with ROWAN on a college student team in the summer of 2014. As Jake made preparations to go, I helped where I could. I took him to get some whopper shots. We bought village supplies at Target. We prayed over him more than once. When we took him to the airport and as he hugged his younger brother goodbye, my husband and I felt a peace and excitement for Jake. But I also felt something else. This is what we’re supposed to do, right? Send them out into the world?! Then I remembered what author and teacher Elizabeth Stone said about having a child; to do so is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Okay, THAT’S why I had a lump in my throat the size of the sun. These feelings are the stuff of love.
So he went. And when he returned he was changed. He was still Jake for sure, but he had met God there in Uganda in a new and different way, and he was also part of another family. We asked if we could also join that family and soon after we began our first ROWAN sponsorship with a wonderful young man named Cyrus. Part of what God taught me through Jake’s first journey to Africa (uhhhh yes, there were more—the die was cast!) was that there are mothers in the village, who have lost their hearts that were walking outside their bodies. And children who have lost their mothers and fathers. And despite our distance and differences, I feel a kinship with these village mothers. Through unimaginable pain they rely on and love Jesus and because of Him they have the light of the world in them. Their hope and joy is unique.
We are humbly learning from our village Amaka—it means family in Uganda—about the vast and intimate love of Jesus. Would you like to join us?