Prodigal Child

We encounter many different kinds of situations while working in the juvenile facilities. Some of the children with whom we work, are not actually prisoners, but are homeless. We work to get these children resettled either back with their families, a relative or a foster family. While some of these children go on to attend school and accomplish great things, none of the stories are simple.

Today I spoke with our social worker and she told me the story of the young lady I mentioned in the March prayer letter. “Jane” lived in the village with her parents and eight siblings. Her father worked to provide for his family, but couldn’t afford to send his children to school. One day a group of “born agains” (Christians) came to their village to hold evangelistic services. The family attended the services and the “born agains” said they wanted to sponsor some of the village children. They said they would take the children to Kampala where they would attend a good school. Jane is the second oldest child in her family so her parents gave permission for her to go. In Kampala she was forced to work as a house maid. She was never allowed to go to school and was abused. The “born agains” were obviously frauds and were trafficking children. Jane eventually ran away from the home where she was working and went to the police. They brought her to one of our facilities. After we began working with her, she was returned to her family and we sponsored her so she could attend school.

Not long after Jane returned home, her father went missing. Sadly, they discovered that he had been murdered. People came and stole their land from her mother, so the family had no place to live. In Uganda, women are typically considered second class citizens. It is common for land to be forcibly taken from widows. Jane’s mother is crippled so it was very hard for her to find a job. The family moved when a man gave them a small plot of land. They built a mud hut and they planted some vegetables. The mother has to scoot along the ground to get to the garden so she can harvest the food. Jane’s older sister moved out and got married, leaving Jane to help her mother. Jane went to school then came home to and cook, clean and help with the younger siblings.

About a week ago, Jane stole $8.50 from her mother and left home. Her mother is heart broken and devastated. She has no idea why Jane would do that, or where she would go.

Although things with Jane and her family appear hopeless, while in Uganda, I have seen God redeem seemingly hopeless situations time after time. Please pray that false “born agains” will not harden the hearts of those who so desperately need the love of our Savior. Please pray also that the Lord will draw Jane to himself and that she will return home. Finally, please rejoice with me that we have a Father who loves us lavishly.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.’

Luke 15:20