“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Mother Teresa.

And she was right. I’d rather be poor in Uganda than in the UK  – at least family and community exists here in Africa.

Or it does for most people. It didn’t for Milly who we recently transported, with her newborn daughter Amulle, to the North of Uganda and re-housed with a caring, loving Christian family who wanted to help her. When we came into contact with these two lost souls they had nothing – no possessions, no dignity, no friends and no self-respect. And, most terribly, no hope. I would have forecast another rape and/or murder for Milly and slavery or child-sacrifice for one day old Amulle.

NOTHING is impossible for God. As long as we do our bit. I wrote about the amazing and loving family that we found for Milly but I will confess that I was worried about whether she would settle. I was also worried about her physical and mental health. I had, unilaterally as ever, made the decision that J10:10 would sponsor Milly and Amulle and I prayed for the best. And God………….. ‘gives us more than we could ask or imagine’.

Firstly, a J10:10 supporter increased his sponsorship donation to include Milly. Secondly this individual cocked up the online banking and paid two lots of sponsorship in a month which bought clothes and medical care for Milly and Amulle! And thirdly…………..love’s unique and unrivalled power started to work in Milly’s  life. And in her troubled and tortured mind. The ‘Okello-Larkin’ family took Milly to a doctor where she received treatment for severe internal bleeding that was undetected (no flipping surprise) at our local government hospital. They also spent a lot of time just talking to Milly and letting her know that she was welcome and valued as part of their family. She settled into her new home (she has her own small house) in the large and love-filled compound with baby Amulle and she started to work in the fields, fetch water, do her own washing, wash herself and Amulle and resume a more normal life. Her new family now describe her as talkative and intelligent. The European psychiatrist friend of Okello’s Dad has met Milly and says she is not mentally ill but horribly traumatised – that the abuse, rejection and cruelty that were her old life warped her mind and changed her behaviour.

The love of God and of his people is healing the hurt and closing the wounds. And, in this place of God-given safety……..Milly has started to talk about what happened to her, what ruined her life until now……………here’s what we know so far.

In about 1994/5 Milly and her first two children were abducted from their village by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. She was brutalised, raped and her children were taken from her. Milly spent around 16 years living in the bush with some of the most brutal, evil and depraved men on the face of this earth. She bore two more children somewhere in the wilds of South Sudan and Congo as Kony worked his murderous way around villages in this part of Africa.

Last year Milly escaped. She left her two children in Congo with Kony and slipped away and over the border, half mad with relief (freedom), regret and guilt (children) and self-loathing (16 years of daily horrors). She walked the 90 miles from Congo to Kabale where I live and where she first came across kindness in the form of the police who housed her and fed her. When they pooled money and helped her go back to her home village after 16 years away she was, as is so often the case in the North with those who return from captivity with the LRA, rejected, reviled and chased away. And so she came back to Kabale, the only place where she’d recieved kindness in the past few years, on foot. All 780km of it. Where a loving God arranged for her to meet us and receive his healing love.

When there was no hope for Milly and Amulle…………………….God had a plan. Milly will, by Western standards, always be poor. But she need never be lonely, scared, abused or afraid again. Thank God for setting this captive free – He STILL does miracles! I suspect that another 1600km trip to the North is looming for me. To see God’s grace in Milly’s life. No hardship there.

 

Milly – safe and secure in front of her new house.