Has your brook dried up? Is there a drought in the land so severe you have no idea where to turn. This is where Lukendo found himself, just like the prophet Elijah. The brook which supplied sustenance to them both simply dried up. God was about to do a new thing.
A connection was made for Elijah to be resettled in a new land. He was to meet a widow with a young son in Zaraphath. God instructed the woman to feed Elijah and he met her as she was picking up sticks to build a fire. He asked for some water and a bite to eat. The woman said she had a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle. She planned to make a final meal for her son and then they would die. Her brook had dried up too. But God made a promise that her jar of flour would not run out and the bottle of oil would not become empty until the rain came and the drought ended.
Lukendo’s brook had also run dry. For eleven years as a refugee in Uganda after he was forced to flee his homeland of DR Congo, he has tried to support his family. A few things worked and he was resourceful in establishing a program which received funding, but then his brook dried up. But not before making a connection which the Lord had orchestrated.
A Divine Connection
Lukendo who is also known as Jerry reached out to Polly to help him write stories about the refugee youth in his program. She was eager to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of these young people and to help encourage them in their dreams while in the midst of chaos and lack.
But Jerry’s brook dried up and along with it went the meager existence and sustenance it provided. God instructed Polly the storyteller to get to know Jerry and his family. Over the course of months while Polly learned about the life of a refugee, she reached a point of having a few dollars to send to Jerry. Unbeknownst to Polly, that gentle nudge to send the small gift was actually a big answer to desperate prayers. See the backstory A Gentle Nudge.
God Chose Me To Provide
It is clear to me now, the plan God orchestrated is the one where he chose ME to provide for Jerry’s family. The Lord blessed me with a job which afforded me this opportunity which was actually a miracle for my own needs. God continues to fill my jar of flour and my bottle of oil and I continue to supply Jerry’s needs to educate his young children and to keep a roof over their heads.
When I start to worry about how long I can sustain this giving (since I am getting to be an old retired woman), the Lord assures me that this is HIS project not mine. I just need to obey and He will do the rest.
Film Making in Africa
I enrolled Jerry in film school and sent a film lab to Uganda for Jerry to help me create a movie about our story. His film training will help him find some entrepreneurial projects to help support his family. And the family is so very grateful.
Beans, Beans and More Beans
Imagine eating beans for every meal which are cooked on charcoal in one pot. Imagine not having a refrigerator or a stove. Why even a kitchen is not essential because there is not enough money to stock a cabinet with food let alone a pantry. Imagine washing your clothes by hand on a washboard and hanging them on a wire in the compound. Imagine sleeping beneath mosquito nets in sweltering heat praying against malaria.
Imagine learning a new language (English) and finding a way to get a Bachelor’s degree while in a strange land shortly after escaping your homeland with only the shirt on your back. Imagine the hopelessness of eleven years of trying to find a way to support your family when no one will hire a refugee. Even jobs for the Ugandan people are nearly non-existent. Imagine the infections that one could contract under these conditions and to realize there is no welfare system to provide medical care. Without money to pay for medical care, you die. In the last few months, there have been three life-threatening infections requiring a hospital visit.
Instruction To The Widow
So after months of being the widow instructed by God to care for one of his precious families, when even my own coffers were bare, God is filling the flour jar until he sends the rain. We are already thanking Him and awaiting Jerry’s resettlement to the US. And no matter how few refugee immigrants are being allowed to come to the US, I still believe Jerry’s family will be chosen.
Giving When You Have Nothing
Jerry’s family and I have become family sharing our struggles and our dreams. They know my birthday is this month and they discussed as a family what they could do to give back to me. Preparations began to make me an authentic African dress fit for an American Queen Mother.
We don’t speak the same language when it comes to clothes size, weight and height. Turns out I am about 87 kilograms fat and 166 centimeters tall, but they really did not know this when they went about designing this dress. They asked for a full length picture of me. I am always on the other side of the camera with good reason. I did find a photo standing at this exact spot the last time I was in Bloomington for my job and I sent it to them having no idea what they were up to.
Jerry’s sister Emiliane went to tailoring school. She is nineteen. Zawadi, Jerry’s wife picked the material. They worked together creating zippered sleeves with open arms, and ruffles at the bottom exactly the perfect height with my boots on. And by some miracle, I was able to fit into the dress.
The Letter Rivaled The Dress
The letter Jerry wrote is equally as special as the magnificent dress. I have never met the family in person but we have been writing and talking for several years and I have sent friends to Uganda as messengers. One of those angel messengers delivered a dress that was created in Africa especially for me. I get to see the handwriting of a young man who calls me mother. We pray his own mother Esther is in heaven as a result of the brutal attacks of the enemy.
Jerry writes, “Life is full of surprises, there is a lot in store, for some people think that we only have one mother and only one that we adore. But as for me, I have two mothers and have understood how dear both of them are to me. You came into my life when I was hopeless, you gave me lots, you helped me to overcome difficult situations when I needed the mother in my life the most and you fixed things that might have gone wrong then.”
“As you celebrate your birthday this November, remember that you have an African son who loves you so much and imagines the pain mothers go through while giving new lives which is translated with the pain our dear Lord Jesus Christ went through for us to be born again. This is to say let us celebrate your physical and spiritual birthday mother as we wait for Jesus’ coming back to celebrate forever and ever.”
Most Liked Photo Post EVER
I posted a picture of an old fat woman in an African dress and found it was the most “liked” photo and had the most comments of anything I have posted in my entire Facebook career. Love is universal. Hope and Help are essential. Is Jesus asking you to be the miraculous provision for another even when you have only a handful of flour and a few drops of oil?
Who wants an original designer dress from Africa? I am taking orders!
I need to make friends with an international flight attendant to transport the dresses, handbags and accessories to and from Kampala, Uganda. Can you connect me?
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is a freelance journalist connecting people through the stories they tell. She is the first white woman inducted into the Bushi tribe in Africa and is now called Mwamikazi. Check out that story Mwamikazi
Read the entire African Refugee series at TheStoryTeller.net