I first met Mukaka (Grand-mother) just over 2 years ago. I can’t remember if she was drunk on that occasion but there is a pretty good chance that she was. Like all alcoholics, myself included, drunkenness for her was a combination of self-harming and trying to obliterate reality.

From that perspective Mukaka had every reason to drink. Reality was pretty flipping grim.

Her daughter had disappeared leaving her to care for her three grand-children, her house was falling down, her house mate was her schizophrenic son, and the grand-children she should have been caring for were infested with jiggers – a flea that lays eggs under the skin which hatch before the worms burrow painfully out. In the case of her three grand-children, Stidia, Cleophas and Dennis the infestation was so prolific that the boys could barely use their hands or feet because the worms had lifted nearly every fingernail. They were the first African kids that I had ever met who didn’t smile at a muzungu (white man).

God had a plan.

You see my God loves the failures, outcasts and losers. He used this failure (me) and J1010 to construct a new house for the old lady and her grandchildren. He used us to keep an eye on the family and provide them with enough food to eat but not to sell for alcohol. And He used us to find sponsors for these three children so they could be relocated to the J1010 House and start school in a place of safety.

Last term little sad Dennis came second in his class, Cleophas will graduate nursery top class at Christmas and Stidia achieved a respectable 17th place out of 41. All of them are unrecognisable from the children that I met 2 years ago – clean, happy, confident and loved.

Mukaka has offered to give me the land on which we built her new house on several occasions. I obviously refused. She just couldn’t understand why a complete stranger would care about her and her grand-children. In a world that had been unremittingly cruel to her she couldn’t comprehend unconditional love.  Particularly for someone who had failed as she felt she had.

Over the past two years Mukaka has come to an understanding of what, or rather who, offered this baffling and beautiful love. Jesus. Jesus living in me as I facilitated this help. Jesus living in Becky as she washed the grand-kids and removed the jiggers. Jesus living in the pastor and staff of Kigezi Baptist Church as they explained His love for her.

And today, Mukaka was baptised into the family of the God that wouldn’t let her go. The God of second, third and millionth chances. I had the honour and joy of attending her baptism with all our kids from the J10:10 House – and so obviously with her grand-children.

Mukaka is sober, Mukaka has led three women from her area into a relationship with God – one of whom was baptised with her today, Mukaka is saved. Wow.

Is nothing impossible for God? Alleluia.


A prayer before baptism into new life

A remarkable story - a remarkable God

A remarkable story – a remarkable God