Impact in East Africa
Sacrifice by the Handful
A group of widows in northern Uganda know first-hand the struggles of living in poverty. Yet somehow, having less doesn’t stop them from giving more…
When Amazing Grace Children’s Home moved to its permanent location in Adjumani, Uganda, a temporary kitchen helped get the home established. Lacking funds for improvements, they used it until local officials ordered it torn down due to safety issues. Significant fundraising efforts by friends of Lahash provided a new kitchen and dining room building, and donations from Rice & Beans Month helped supply appliances, cookware, and other finishing touches. Today, diligent cooks add hearty measures of love and commitment to every pot of food, and children gather with joyful chatter as their plates are filled in this welcoming communal space.
In addition to this much-needed structure, the impact of Rice & Beans Month extends beyond the Amazing Grace compound and into the hearts of a unique group of women.
These women attend the same church as the Amazing Grace kids, and were surprised by the news that Christians on the other side of the world were altering their diets to help orphans in Adjumani. Although extremely vulnerable themselves, the women were inspired by the sacrifice of others, and were moved to join the effort.
The majority of them are South Sudanese widows, living as refugees in Uganda. Slowly, they are rebuilding their lives with the help of foreign aid, UN assistance, and most significantly, each other. Through facing loss, displacement, and poverty together, they have learned the importance of solidarity and support. So, from their meager resources and monthly food rations, they began to set aside a handful of beans here, a cupful of flour there. Once a month, they visit Amazing Grace to lead a time of praise and worship with the children, and compassionately
offer whatever food they have collected.
Josh Petersen, a Lahash volunteer and traveler, had a chance to talk with some of these courageous women about their commitment to the kids. Although many words were lost in translation, the most important ones came through loud and clear: “Jesus gave, so we give.”
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
In contrasting the gifts of the wealthy and the widow, Jesus tells his disciples that the widow gave “more.” More what? What do you think Jesus means? What parallels exist between this widow and those in Adjumani? Reflect on Jesus’ words, asking him what he wants you to see here.
God, pierce our hearts with the simple hard beauty of the widows’ sacrifice. Move us to deeper sacrifice and compassion. May we become more attuned to your prompting, learning to give as you give. Amen.
Find the video “Cooking With Kabang” here, and see how the Amazing Grace children’s rice and beans were cooked at their former location. You’ll know why they appreciate their new kitchen so much!
This story, along with 3 others, appears in the 2016 “Welcome to Rice & Beans Month” guide. If you haven’t received one yet, or would like additional copies to share with friends, send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org.