a few weeks ago i introduced you to my friend, Mercy. and i haven't yet given any update on her. so, i think i should do that now, since a lot is changing for her.
first of all, she now has a place to live! she found a room that she could rent for 20,000 shillings, or $8 a month. it is just a room. a room smaller than the master bathroom i used to have. it is a bare, concrete room with one tiny window and a wooden door. no running water or electricity, of course. it is furnished with a thin, small mattress on one side and a pile of clothes in the opposite corner. (and the side mirror from our van is propped in her window sill, bc some crazy truck driver knocked it off, and we had to get a new one.) she is SO proud of her home. i was with her the day she moved in, and you would have thought she was a signing a contract on her 1st 3 bedroom/2 bath home!
she has a new Bible and devotional book (which my mom sent in the mail), and she carries it with her EVERYWHERE. seriously. using the devotional book, she's started a small Bible study on Wed. at a little church in her community. she has now officially joined our cell group and still comes to Suubi church every Sunday.
i discovered that Mercy has some real artistic talent. i knew she could knit sweaters, but found out she also knits lovely blankets, makes handbags out of banana fibers and drinking straws, and crafts beautiful flowers and streamers from hand-dyed papers. more than that, she knows how to braid hair and "do weaves." we began discussing her options for opening her own salon and selling her crafts on the side. i quickly developed a plan for her to generate some extra cash in order for her save enough $ to get the business started...
we just hosted a team from the U.S. - from our home town, actually, which i could write a whole other blog about. the past two weeks have been crazy busy, crazy fun, and incredibly refreshing! they brought over 1400 pairs of shoes with them and helped us host our 1st basketball tournament here on the village, among lots of other very cool things. yes, i really should give them their own blog. but, back to Mercy - i requested the team to bring a load of yarn with them, so she could get busy knitting. and i requested Mercy to make as many banana fiber bags as she could, bc i knew the team would love to buy from her. i explained to Mercy that i would help her temporarily to sell some stuff to my American friends until she had enough capital to start her business for her Ugandan friends.
to sum it up, God blew up my little plan. you know how we hope for too little sometimes...? well, i had been trying to figure out just what Mika & Mercy could handle, while God had even more in mind. i thought it was clever of me to be her sales manager and help the team go home with some special souvenirs. after meeting Mercy and hearing her story, the team felt impressed to collect money - a lot of money! - more than enough money for her to get a very well-equipped salon up and running.
then, all along, i've been hoping/praying that she could get a job here at Suubi, perhaps as a custodial lady. i should have known that was just too perceivable. a couple Sundays ago, when Mercy was at church here, a teacher in the vocational dept. noticed her hand-made bag and began asking her about her crafting abilities. just yesterday, the head mistress of the school called her in for a meeting and offered her a part-time job here at Suubi teaching the students AND moms how to weave and knit. she starts at 8 in the morning with her 1st class! incredible.
my biggest underestimation was concerning Mercy herself, though. when she came to my door 2 months ago, i thought God was bringing me a "project," for lack of a better word. i now know He was bringing me a new friend. i see her so differently now. i sincerely enjoy her company. i appreciate her intelligence and laugh at her humor. i am learning much from her. we are SO very different, but, as i have seen the depth of her faith, i have come to know her as my sister, another daughter of God. she loves Jesus, and i'm convinced that God was going to promote her and bless her whether i had anything to do with it or not! if i had turned her away that day, i know she would still be seeing God's favor in her life. because she cries out to Him every night and blesses Him with every good thing that happens. i'm just glad i got over my trust issues so that i could call her my friend and be a small part of her story.
and i'm so glad that what i say is just "good enough," God always insists there is "even more!"