when the women gather…

The sun rises in an overcast sky, for which I am thankful because it tells of the rains that are coming now almost daily. The green crops sprouting across the land breathe praise to the One who gives life and rain and growth. My morning starts with a rush because I am hurrying to the women’s bible study. Typical to African culture, the “program” started at 7, which meant women started walking to the meeting place at 7am. I arrived about 7:40 to set up the benches and greet the early ones, and then they came by the dozens. Old akumats in dresses they bought for this specific occasion- the chance to gather with women and hear the word of God and praise Him together. Mothers with their babies on their backs and small children following close alongside. The woman who bought new shoes for this morning, even though she was hungry, because she wanted to have new shoes for when she entered to worship. Their smiles were filled with such joy as we all greeted each other… and then the singing! The akumat (grandmother) in her gray suit jacket and swishy green skirt with her hair tied up in a sassy floral bandana… shuffling to the middle of the circle, with her face split wide in joy and the other ladies laughing with her as she danced and clapped and praised Jesus with her whole heart, shamelessly, for everyone to see. Then Betty started the jumping and the women left the burdens and the cares of the day behind as they sprung into the air with big smiles… jumping for Jesus. And more women kept coming in, and I left to find more benches, and there still weren’t enough seats for all the women in that room! And then the word of God was shared- Holly told of how since creation God has had a plan and the stories leading to Jesus and His gift to us of salvation (Creation to Christ).. and women still kept coming in, sitting and standing along the walls just to hear this story that has been meant for them since the dawn of time, yet has taken so long to reach their ears. The meeting continued with some discussion and ended with everyone greeting their neighbors with smiles and laughter. Whether from the town or village, all are hungry for the Word of God. They’re beautiful.When the meeting was finished we drove the ones who had walked far back to their homes, and the 15 women packed into that Land Cruiser tried to lift the roof off with their songs- singing joyful praise from grateful hearts so loudly that people we passed on the road stopped and stared after us, wondering the cause of such rejoicing. As the women returned to the work of the day– weeding their gardens and cooking for their families and caring for children, they had the Word of God in their hearts and a song of praise to Him on their lips. God is moving here. Y’all. He’s hearing our prayers. Keep praying for these strong beautiful women of Karamoja. May they know a personal relationship with the Father, this One who loves them so deeply, and is worth giving our lives in surrender to Him for the joy and life He brings. I want them all to know true joy and love, because only a few do, but their joy is contagious. For those who do know Jesus, I want them to be discipled in His truth and share that hope with others. Ain’t no party like a Jesus party. When these ladies gather, walls shake.

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