Please accept my apologies for taking so long to post an update. The past two months have been a blur of airplane flights, my 30th birthday in Ethiopia, six weeks of being frozen in Roanoke, visits with dearly loved friends and family, a surprising news article with my face on the front page of the newspaper (a bit uncomfortable for me!), and almost a month of getting adjusted to a new role in Uganda in a newly formed ministry organization. I’ve hardly been able to concentrate enough to sit down and type.
I’m here now and have so much to say. One thing I didn’t mention above is a hundred phone calls to Uganda during those 6 weeks in Virginia. Some of you know about those hundred phone calls, but many of you don’t. I had loads of comments from people I know and love over those six weeks and all of them were about this “glow” that I had that they just couldn’t put their finger on. They’d say “Maegan, I know you love your work in Uganda, but there’s just something else that’s making you glow with happiness”!
The truth is: It’s because of an unexpected love. Those phone calls were to a doctor in a village in north eastern Uganda. That brilliant, generous, honest, loving, and faithful doctor is now my husband to be. We both know that God brought us together in an unexpected and beautiful way and we thank Him daily for this gift. Dr. Emma (Emmanuel) came into my life at a time when I wasn’t looking. God knew my heart and He knew what I needed, even when I didn’t know myself. I have learned so much about love, relationship, and truth from this man and I look forward to every day of our life together.
We plan to continue working in Uganda for at least one year and be open to any other place in the world where God leads. We have committed to supporting each other in our work and taking as many opportunities as we can to work and serve God together. One of those opportunities is in a village about one hour from where I am currently living in Uganda. As the Regional Director of Life Center Ministries – Africa, I will be part of the effort to develop a project that will impact the hearts and lives of many people, both physically and spiritually. As it turns out, this project wouldn’t be completely possible without Dr. Emma’s help.
LCMA is an organization formed in partnership several Roanoke, VA based organizations: New Life Christian Ministries, Gentle Shepherd Hospice, and Kissito Healthcare International. LCMA was formed to carry out the mission of God through the vision of a few faithful, generous, and passionate people. In a village called Butiru, there is currently an 8 acre plot of land with a under utilized hospital, the foundation of a new church, and a twice monthly nutritional feeding program for severely malnourished children. As LCMA continues developing and expanding this project, there will soon be a bustling health center where villagers will receive high quality care at an affordable price. There will be a life saving nutritional outreach program that will both educate mothers and treat children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition. With prayers and support, there will also be an inpatient treatment center for severely malnourished children. Finally, there will be a new 500 seat church and discipleship center that will be the base for a thriving ministry seeking to reach the nations with the Truth of the love of Jesus.
Steve and Katrenna Sandy and their children Phillip and Katie are also missionaries from Roanoke, and have moved to Uganda to oversee these projects. Steve will be managing construction, the daily activities on the compound, and the agricultural programs and ministry activities. Katrenna will be taking the lead on the nutrition program in partnership with Renee Bach of Serving His Children, another Roanoke based ministry located in Uganda.
Interestingly enough, neither Steve, Katrenna, nor I have any medical experience whatsoever. God has a good way of getting people out of their comfort zones when there’s something big He wants us to do. When we take a step of faith outside of the comfort zone, it seems like He always sends someone to the rescue. That’s where Dr. Emma comes in. He is currently the Medical Officer in charge of another local government hospital in a nearby village. He manages the facility and staff while being on call to perform emergency C-sections and other surgeries. Emma has a wealth of medical knowledge, the heart of a leader, and the gift of healing. People in the community refer to him as a doctor with blessed hands, as every one he treats or performs surgery on just seems to get better. The best part about his gift is that he humbly gives credit to God for every successful surgery and saved life.
The hospital project in Butiru requires some serious work and planning, neither of which myself or my American counterparts are capable of doing. Dr. Emma has the experience and skills to get this hospital in shape, and running efficiently. There is even a fully stocked surgical theatre in the hospital, just sitting there waiting for a qualified doctor. Once a doctor is on staff (they currently don’t have one) the surgical theater can become fully operational and capable of receiving women in obstructed and complicated labor. It seems like God has brought us all together for such a time as this. Only God knows the plans He has for us. Only He has the ability to use us to carry out His plans.
What I know is that I am thankful. I am thankful for the gift of life. I am thankful for this opportunity to do God’s work in Uganda. I am thankful for this rare opportunity to experience true, overwhelming, amazing love. I am thankful for this man God sent me to from halfway across the world.
But maybe only God knows the purpose of this unexpected love.
Dr. Emma taught me something his mom taught him when he was young. The most precious gift is the gift of LIFE. As long as we are breathing, we are living. As long we have life, we have HOPE.
And The Bible teaches us that three things in life remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the “greatest of these is love”.