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26 May, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

It was beautiful, it was hard work and I was a hot mess at times. Tuesday afternoon was the Mothers’ Day celebration at Jangu Omulise, a ministry of Uniquely Woven with Doors Ministry. Women began arriving as soon as the door to the open air community meeting room was unlocked. By the time the gate was closed there were somewhere between 150-200 mamas crowded in, sitting closely together on benches, chair and mats on the floor. It was beautiful!

But serving that many women is hard work. Many volunteers showed up, including myself, willing to help however needed. We counted the gift bags to be sure we had enough. Re-useable sanitary pads were packed into the gift bags. A kilogram of rice was then added to each bag. Benches were unstacked and set up in the meeting room. Chairs were placed and mats unfolded. Tables were arranged and speaker plugged in. Excitement mounted. “Happy Mothers’ Day” was spoken often.

Women were individually greeted and welcomed. Blood pressures were checked. Food was prepared and carried in. Smiles and handshakes were shared. Laughter flowed and grace abounded. Praises rang out and worship carried our hearts far above that community meeting room. God’s Word was opened to us all and the Holy Spirit moved. Hands were raised and prayers were offered. Salvation was received and burdens were lifted. It was beautiful and I was a hot mess. The Spirit of God was upon us. 

 We demonstrated the use and care of the reusable sanitary pads. They smiled and cheered when they heard of their personal gifts. They raised their voices and said, “Thank you!” to the women in America who honored mothers in their lives by giving so these mamas could have this help. It was beautiful (and a little funny as we demonstrated use of the pads---they kept glancing over to the male volunteers).

Songs were sung and dancing broke out. Food was served and fellowship shared. Sodas were taken and gratitude flowed. Gift bags were handed out and farewells spoken. It was hard work. It was beautiful. And I was a hot mess at times. Happy Mothers’ Day!


18 May, 2017

Broken and Thrilled

My heart is broken. My soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices. My soul feels crushed. All of this happens every Tuesday afternoon as I gather with other volunteers and women in this community. While women come I assess blood pressures, answer questions mamas ask about their pregnancy or other health concerns, hand out Mama Kits, greet their young children and I pray. During the meeting we offer praise and worship, we share God’s Word together and we pray.

 Looking at their surroundings it could be assumed the women gathering here have nothing. But when I am with these dear ones, my heart is broken and my soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices even as my soul feels crushed. And just when I think I have seen it all, THIS HAPPENED on Tuesday…

As the opening announcements were being given  and ladies straggled into the gathering, one very pregnant mama stopped to talk to the leader. In turn, the leader shared with me that one of the mamas who comes regularly gave birth within the last 48 hours. All was well with the mom and babe until about 24 hours later when the mom wasn’t doing so well. She was transferred to a hospital.

The leader reported she had just been told that mom has nothing with her in the hospital. Her husband is in prison. She has no baby clothes. She has no food for herself and no money to use to meet any of their needs. This is not an uncommon scenario for these women. The leader said the mama who told her of this dire situation wanted to know if they could ask the women gathered to contribute to help the mama in the hospital. I agreed with the leader, “Yes! Let’s give these mamas a chance to be blessed through giving.”

The announcement was made. The ladies stood and prayed together for the mama in the hospital and for her tiny newborn. They prayed earnestly, with sincerity, asking God to intervene and meet that mama, one of their own. My heart was broken but my soul was thrilled! I could almost feel the breath of the Holy Spirit.

And then, they put what they had into the offering cup. 

They gave, and not just a little. These precious women collected nearly 40,000 Ugandan shillings (just over the equivalent of U.S. $10)! Amazing! My heart rejoiced in their generosity even as my soul felt crushed with the weight of what they would be going without in their own homes in order to help give life to the mama and newborn in the hospital. I could almost hear the angels rejoicing.

On Tuesday afternoons my heart is broken. My soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices. My soul feels crushed. And I can hardly wait until Tuesday comes again.


09 May, 2017

A dream come true

Last week I renewed my nursing license. We drove across the city to the office of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council. On the way I reminisced through my childhood dream, my dream of being a nurse one day. I wanted to help people.
Oregon License

June of 1981 my dream became a reality. I graduated from nursing school. November of the same year I received my official registration (RN) from the Oregon State Board of Nursing. Hooray! I worked as a hospital nurse for nine years in Oregon, learning much and helping many people. Through nursing I connected people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Kenyan License
 Little did I know that ten years later I would become a KRN; a registered nurse in Kenya. My dream multiplied. I was Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN. My avenue for helping people multiplied as well. Oh, how I loved teaching nursing students, in Tenwek School of Nursing, how to help people. My students helped more people than I ever could as just one nurse. They connected many people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Ugandan License
Imagine my surprise when 21 years later God invited Jeff and me to join Him in what He is doing in Uganda. We moved to Kampala, the capital city, in 2012. For the first year I observed and I listened. I learned much. Then my dream multiplied again. I went through the process to be registered as a nurse in Uganda. Now I am Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN, URN (Uganda Registered Nurse). I don’t work in a hospital and I don’t teach in a nursing school. I still help the people God brings my way.

At a Sports Tournament
Sometimes they come to my door. Sometimes I go to where they are playing sports. Once in a while I give advice on medication dosages or clarify medical reports for people unpracticed in reading the medical language. I teach community health lessons, helping people know how to help themselves and others. I take blood pressures and pray with pregnant women as I hand out a maternity delivery kit, called a Mama Kit. I have many opportunities to give spiritual care, connecting people to Jesus. I help people. I love my work.

I had a dream and God multiplied it. I am a nurse. I help people, connecting them to Jesus. I love my work.

What is your dream? Are you willing to let God multiply it?