They Just Want to Feel Valuable – Uganda Update #1

They Just Want to Feel Valuable – Uganda Update #1

Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting brief highlights from our Uganda trip–stories and events that have had an eternal impact on my life.

Here’s the first.  The night before we got on the airplane to head back home, one of the Ugandan pastors pulled me and Tasha aside to share some parting words.  The man’s name is Charles Mbazze.  And a few weeks ago I asked for prayer concerning his health situation.  See, Charles suffers from a heart condition in which his heart continuously leaks fluid down into his stomach.  It is a condition that he’s had since birth, and one that has caused him enormous pain, both physical and emotional.  The constant dripping of his heart fluid over the years has caused a large tumor to grow on his abdomen.  The tumor is about the size of a football and because of his small frame, it is something that is incredibly difficult to disguise.  Charles is open about his condition and has shared with me on numerous occasions about the emotional scars he bears from being teased and made fun of growing up.  Charles is 29 years old, and unless he gets a heart transplant, this condition will likely take his life some day.

During our week of ministry with Charles, Tasha and I felt compelled to help him out financially, though he never asked for a dime.  Not that we had alot to offer, but in Uganda, a little goes a long way. So we visited him, by request, in his home on Sunday afternoon, his humble dwelling no bigger than a prison cell. It was obvious, though, that he takes tremendous pride in it, because it was spotless upon our arrival. We shared a few brief moments with him there in his house, prayed over him, and then gave him a small monetary gift (a gift that will actually pay for 3 months of his rent). He cried as I placed the money in his hands and we told him that we loved him and believed in him and that we would continue to pray for him.

That’s the background.  Now back to our conversation.

Charles pulled us aside last Tuesday night before we left and began to pour his heart out.  First of all, he had a thank-you card for us, something that, in itself, is a monetary sacrifice.  Then, through tears, he began thanking us, not simply for the gift, but for the fact that we had thought of him.  And a statement he made will stay with me forever.  He said, “Josh and Tasha, you’ve made me feel valuable.”

As I’ve been reflecting on that one statement, “You’ve made me feel valuable,” I’ve come to a simple conclusion:  The poor and needy of this world don’t really care about money.  They don’t really care about financial gain or well-being. What they really want, more than anything, is to know that they matter–that they are not forgotten. They want to be remembered. They want to feel valued.  And they want to feel like there is a place for them in this world.  Charles represents the majority of the 6 billion people that inhabit this planet, surviving on less than two dollars a day, wondering if the meal they are eating (if they have one) will be their last.  With the enormous resources and blessings that God has given us here in America, how can we not care about these who are forgotten?  God, help us to remember them.  God, help us to help them–to help them feel valuable.

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'”He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)

One Response

  1. debbie thompson says:

    josh and tasha,
    truly a wondergul and precious gift you have given charles. he’s truly a remarkable individual. i, like you, have feel in love with his remarkable love he has for Christ. he is the most unselfish, loving individual i know. thank you for allowing Christ to be used in your lives. i love you both and thank you for all you do. your sister in Christ, Debbie Thompson

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