By Team Member - Ande Truman
We prayed for no rain, but it came anyway, hard and fast. Within a few seconds we gathered the bead supplies from an open area outside in between the tiny shacks and carried everything into Alice's house. Alice's house consists of two rooms: an 11'x13' living room with one barred window and a bedroom with no windows or doors. There is one light bulb that hangs from the wall near the door that illuminates the living room. The walls, made out of cement, and the roof, made of tin sheets. There isn't much on the walls except a framed image that says "With God I Will Never Fail" and Fashion & Compassion's mission statement.
After they welcomed us with song, dance, and theater, we walked through the village to the rock quarry where all of these 12 women were rescued from, thanks to F&C. We hugged, high-fived, and shook hands with the children, snot, sweat, and all. Soon after, we gathered on the straw mat floor of Alice’s living room, all 18 of us, sharing a meal of posho (a thick, white dough made of cornmeal and water), beef chunks and broth, cabbage, white rice, potatoes, and creamed corn husk greens. We ate the hot food on the floor as we kept sweating and eating and sweating some more.
After lunch, we prayed that the rain would hold up so that we could work on the jewelry in the cool breeze outside rather than indoors. As the storm clouds gathered and the winds picked up, we filed into the dark living room and prayed again. But within seconds, the clouds parted and the rains fell hard, raindrops clanging on the tin roof so loud, we yelled to the person next to us.
Soon after the rain started, they shut the only window and door in the living room. Eighteen sweaty, dirty, smelly bodies all squished into a tiny dark room with no circulation in the middle of summer, and I'm sitting in the back corner furthest from the door. It must have been a work of the Holy Spirit Himself for me not to panic. We worked together in that room for three hours straight, most of the time with the door and window closed, laughing, singing, making jewelry, and sweating. As the sweat dripped off my face while I cut wire for the Christmas ornaments, I daydreamed about downing a gallon of cold ice water (I limited my drinking while in the village so I wouldn't need to go), and standing under a stream of a shower, or at least the lukewarm trickle of my hotel shower. I literally dreamt of soap.
As it was time to go and we approached the taxi, we were, of course, met with more children, snot, sweat, scabs and all. And of course, we hugged them and loved on them with no hesitation because we were all genuinely excited to meet one another! They’re amazing!
We left Acholi Quarters and sat in traffic for an hour on our way to downtown Kampala, the capital city. Thousands of people lined the street, shoving, yelling, staring, and making comments as we walked by. I glanced over to see a headline about a new deadly virus in Kampala. Great. I am by no means germaphobic, but I could just feel the germs on my skin. We piled back into the taxi van and our bodies were so close together, we had to shift our hips to fit in the back seat.
Two hours later after sitting in hot traffic with black exhaust filling the cab, we were at our limits. Smelly, dirty, sweaty, tired, hungry, cramped, and dehydrated. We are desperate for refreshment. Desperate for a cleansing. And then it comes: water from one of the best showers I've ever had, not because it was warm or that the water pressure was great--in fact, it barely dribbled out of the faucet and it was just cooler than lukewarm—but because I needed it more than I needed anything in that moment. As it flowed through my hair, down my legs, through my dirty toes, the red dirt water swirled around the tile and down the drain. All the sweat, dirt, germs, stench and filth, gone. Never to be seen again. I felt like a new creature. That is, until tomorrow when we do it all over again. And such is our walk with Christ. We absorb the grime of the world, from our own selves and the grime of others smeared onto us. We wake up clean and then within moments we feel envy, anger, hatred, anxiety. We hear gossip and complaining by friends and coworkers. Before we know it, we're dirty all over again. Soon enough, it cakes into the creases of our heart like this red dirt caked into the creases of my elbows.
And then, Jesus. Humility. Confession. Daily baptism. Newness through Christ. A clean slate. A breath of fresh air.
Forgiveness. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
In those moments when you feel the grime in your soul, what do you do?
Where do you go?
Do you daydream about your spiritual shower from the Lord or do you sit in the mud?
Are you desperate for the red dirt swirl at the bottom of your spiritual shower drain?
Without desperation, the lukewarm shower would not have felt so glorious. And without a spiritual desperation for the redeeming blood of Jesus, His living water wouldn't be so glorious. Take the plunge, friends. The Water is waiting, and it's deep and lovely.