From Self Pity to Community Leader

January 5, 2017

Dorothy has lived her entire life in the Bundibugyo District of Uganda. This fairly small strip of land is located in far western Uganda along the river which separates Uganda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

In 2001, the Congolese army attacked the village of Bundibugyo causing Dorothy and everyone else in the village to flee for their lives. For the next two years these people found themselves living in a refugee camp, using all of their abilities simply to survive. During this time of living within a displaced persons camp, Dorothy’s pastor began teaching her and the congregation that he led to begin using what God has trusted them with for the good of others and for the building of God’s kingdom.

 

While in the refugee camp, Dorothy’s husband passed away. As a result, when everyone was able to move back to what was left of their homes and community, Dorothy had nowhere to go. Women in Uganda do not have property rights, so the land where she had been living was passed down to her husband’s brother, who kicked her off the property.

 

Dorothy moved in with some friends but from that point she began to struggle with what her pastor was saying. Her pastor kept saying, “God owns everything and what you have is not yours but simply what God has trusted you with to manage for him." But what had God trusted to Dorothy? She had no home, she had no income, and she lived day-to-day on the generosity of others. Somehow she had been left out of the challenge and the adventure. She felt as if God had not trusted her with anything.

 

Dorothy struggled with this thought for almost 6 months.

 

And then she entered church one Sunday with so much excitement, she was barely able to contain herself. She immediately began sharing with both her pastor and the congregation that she had figured it out. She finally had learned what God had trusted to her. As she looked around the church, she reminded everyone that as a result of the war and the encampment many people had died, leaving 126 children orphaned in their village.

 

Dorothy said, "God has trusted me with the heart of a mother, and if you will trust me with one of these orphans, I will raise it as my own.” This generous statement coming from a heart fully given over to God caused many in the room to consider, “could we do this as well?”

 

Within 60 days, 100 families adopted 126 orphaned children. No orphanage was built, no staff were hired, no beds and food and clothing were collected, and no money from the West was needed. Everyone simply welcomed a child into their home.

 

Dorothy answered a call beyond self-pity. She led the way for her entire community to be transformed through the effective stewardship of the calling God placed on their lives to be the mothers and fathers to the children God had entrusted to them.

 

 

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