Talking About Hospice

"Dry gangrene" causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother's foot is gone. Unlike "wet" gangrene, it doesn't get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

“Dry gangrene” causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother’s foot is gone. Unlike “wet” gangrene, it doesn’t get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

One of my favorite groups of people in the world are the staff at Hospice Jinja and Hospice Tororo. Hospice anywhere is a tough gig — my mom always says anybody can do it, but I beg to disagree. Dealing with the dying, comforting them, encouraging their families… It’s very challenging. But the people who do it are truly some amazing folks.

Tonight I’m the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser for Sovereign Wings of Hope in Houston, Texas. I came last year, too, and gave a short presentation on why I go to Uganda. I’m really honored that they asked me back as the keynote this year! (And I am apparently also getting the Pioneer Award!) If there is one thing I can – and love to – talk about, for hours on end, it’s Uganda and her people.

This is an excerpt from my speech tonight, and it’s a point I try to make whenever I talk to people about Ten Eighteen Uganda, and now Andros. It goes along with my motto that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. I hope you’ll let it sink in, and then let the Lord lead you in making a one-time or monthly donation.

start where you are

I want to tell you what your money will do in Uganda, so you realize that you really can help.

  • Right now, a grande latte at Starbucks is about $5.  In shillings at today’s exchange rate, that’s about 12,650 shillings. For 12,650 shillings, you can feed a family for two weeks.
  • Papa John’s has had a special going this week, “your choice” for $11. That’s 27,830 shillings. In Namuwongo, which is the slums of Kampala, you can rent a home for 30,000 shillings a month.
  • The new Hobbit extended edition DVD in BluRay is $29.95. That’s 75,900 shillings. The nurses at Hospice Jinja are paid 60,000 shillings a month. (And, by the way, the staff at Hospice Tororo, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, is still all volunteer.)
  • If you take your family, let’s say four people, to see the new kids movie Free Birds (which suggests you eat pizza instead of turkey for Thanksgiving!), it’ll cost you $30.50 for the tickets. You’ll spend at least $20 on concessions (and you won’t get much for that!). That’s 127,765 shillings, which would pay for about 30 boda trips for the nurses of Hospice Tororo to visit patients.

I am not saying that any of these things are wrong! I chose the expenses I did because they are things my family, even on a fairly tight budget, does on a regular basis. You may think that $5 a week, or $30 a month, or whatever amount you could spare isn’t enough to make any difference. All I’m trying to show you is that, in Uganda, it can be the difference – LITERALLY – between life and death. A bottle of clean water is 32 cents! 32 cents!

James 2:15-16 says:  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodis that?

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ story of the Final Judgement in Matthew 25:

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

A friend of mine told me a long time ago that his reading of this passage gave him to believe that what we are going to answer for when we stand before God at the end of our lives is WHAT DID WE DO WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES HE GAVE US?

Sometimes, those are big opportunities, like adopting a child, or saving someone from a fire. Sometimes they’re small ones, like heeding His voice when he asks you to talk to the cashier at the gas station or to pay the difference for the guy in front of you who doesn’t quite have enough for his groceries.

It’s easier to see those opportunities when they come, although it’s not always easy to do what we should.

What I hope you’ll see here tonight is an opportunity. There is an unattributed quote that I use a lot myself: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

africa hope

Making lots of progress!

Now that the Youth Camp is firmly in the hands of my program director, I turned my sites to the Uganda trip. I began to panic a little bit, because Zeke leaves on August 21, and that is really not that far away! I’ve made an appointment with the travel nurse for both of us to get our typhoid updated (every 2 years…yay) and get our malaria prescriptions. That’s going to cost a pretty penny for Zeke’s long trip, but it can’t be helped. We’ve seen many people with malaria… No, thank you. (And don’t say, “They can treat it right away!” because I don’t even want 1 day of it!)

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I’ve made a tentative schedule, pending approval from our Ugandan partners, and arranged the transportation with Emmanuel Gabula, transport specialist extraordinaire. Here’s the tentative:

Zeke will go to Ray of Hope to work with the Haven boys on 3 Saturdays. This is going to be great, as the first Saturday will be the first one they’re out of school for the term, and the other two will be during the break, when they don’t have much to do.

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

I’m going on a quick day trip to Jinja on the day after I arrive for a friend’s wedding. No work that day (I may not even remember it, thanks to jet lag!).

Rinty and me, February, 2013

Rinty and me, February, 2013

September 16, 17, 19, and 20, I’ll be at Ray of Hope, going into the Namuwongo community, visiting our ladies, seeing the kids, and making the usual rounds. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as it was in February! Or raining. Rain plus slums isn’t a pretty picture.

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September 22 we’re going to head to Jinja. We’ll hopefully spend a night in Bukaleba at the Arise Africa babies home, and we’ll visit with hospice. I don’t have the time to go out in the field with them this trip, but we’ll spend half a day at the morning meeting and in the office. I was hoping to get to Tororo, but I don’t think we can this time – the trip is just too short.

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Friday, September 27, I’ll be back at Ray of Hope for a planning meeting. We try to look at the budget, evaluate the programs and see if we need to tweak anything, brainstorm some new craft ideas for the ladies (I actually have a great idea this time, so I’m excited to share it!).

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Saturday, September 28 is the Project Friendship party, always the highlight of the trip. Nesco will be catering it, of course, and we might use holi powder (what they use in the color run) with the kids. We’re going to do it in Andros next month, so I’ll see how that goes before deciding for sure. But it’ll be a party, at any rate, with friendship bracelets and tee shirts and food and dancing and speeches. I’m just super, super excited about it — it’s so great to see all our ROH friends (all 125 or so of them!) in one place before we leave.

Thank God for the tent!

Thank God for the tent!

 

 

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delicious lunch!

delicious lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1 we leave! See how fast that is?? So barring any needed changes by Ray of Hope, Arise Africa or Hospice Jinja, that’s the itinerary. I know it’ll be here before I know it — the Andros trip is so soon!! Please pray for us, for safe travels but most especially that we would accomplish everything that God has set for us to do!

OHHHH – and HOPEFULLY (praying, fingers and toes crossed), the Luganda Bibles will be ready before Zeke goes, and he can take a box, and then I can take 2 more!

Luganda-Bible