Through interpreting for the Children’s Heart Project, I have been blessed in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I recently served as interpreter for a Ugandan boy named Peter.
Peter was strong from his first dental checkup in Uganda through his hospital stay in Texas. He is a special child whom I have grown to love. I wasn’t scared during his operation because I knew God was before us, and all we had to do was to surrender to His will. I stayed strong and encouraged Peter’s Aunt, Ajuletar, all the way.
I can’t say that there weren’t some difficulties during our stay, but I’m thankful to God that He gave us the grace to pass through the difficult times. For instance, one day we were in a waiting room without our host family. An elderly lady came in and sat at the end of the waiting room far away from us. When the doctor called her in, she told the other lady next to her to watch her bag.
“I wouldn’t want them to run away with my bag,” she said, pointing to the three of us.
Then she walked over to us and said: “There is nothing valuable in my bag, so don’t think of running away with it!”
I chose not to answer her, and my response was a gentle smile. But I was angry, and tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t think straight. It was like the spirit of anger had taken over. In my heart, I questioned God.
“Why didn’t she even give us a chance? She branded us thieves the instant she saw us.”
It ruined my attitude because I let anger take control. I didn’t practice love at that time. However, in the end, I realized my mistake. The lady hadn’t given me a chance, but neither did I show love to her. Though I didn’t retaliate verbally, I thought of unkind words I could have said to her.
It’s easy to be deceived by the devil. In the blink of an eye, the devil can cause us to sin, even in our thoughts, and that’s why we need to meditate on His Word. I can say that in all things, God’s grace is sufficient for us, and His strength is made perfect in times of need.
Another lesson in love was Peter’s guardian, Ajuletar. Mothers usually travel to North America with their children for the Children’s Heart Project, but Peter’s mother was ill. Even though Ajuletar is not Peter’s mom, she loved and cared for him as she would her own child. She is not able to have children.
I wondered how someone who has gone through so much could still smile when she talked about her past. Having nursed her husband until he died, her stepchildren, whom she had raised, tried to take away the home she had built with her husband. She also underwent a surgery, and the incision became so infected that the doctors would not treat it. She began to lose hope, but God, the Great Physician, healed her.
Shortly thereafter, she was involved in a car accident, but God still spared her life. After learning about her past, I couldn’t tell her that I understood what she had been through, but I listened and prayed with her. Ajuletar previously bore the nickname of “Atoo,” which means “dead or death.” Her mother lost three children before she was born, so she had no hope of Ajuletar surviving. Her host family gave her a new nickname, “Ajoo,” which means “alive.” She is alive in Christ and walking in His promises!
Transformed by God’s Love
I have learned that we should bear each other’s burdens as if they were our own and pray for each other as if we were praying for ourselves. Both Peter’s and Ajuletar’s stories have ministered to me. I’m thankful for my life, especially how far God has brought me. I feel I can love others more, especially where love is lacking, because it’s the only way we can reach out to one another, by loving each other. We often grumble about a lot of things in our life and forget to be thankful even with the little we have. We always seek God’s hands and forget to seek His face.
Our host family was incredible. They were like ministering angels. Not only did they open up their home to us, but they also opened their hearts. They treated us like we were their own. The host mother, Holly, poured her love into us, and my eyes were filled with tears. I have never received such love and care before. She’s been a great friend and role model. My prayer is that I carry that same love and pour it into others.
Holly is so full of love that it radiates all over. We often talked about ways we can show love to those who have hurt us. I feel I have been taught how to show the same love and care she did to those who haven’t showed it to me or who haven’t experienced it. And the host father, Steve, was a great role model to Peter.
The people of Texas are amazing! I remember being told that Americans can be so busy that they don’t even have time to greet each other. But that wasn’t true for me. I was greeted wherever I went; people who didn’t know me would even wave at me when driving, and others smiled or nodded their heads. Total strangers even shook my hand.
God truly went before us and prepared the way ahead of us. I remember asking Ajuletar where she had seen God’s hand, and she couldn’t explain it because He had always been there with her and with us. He wasn’t just there at a particular time, but He has always been there. More than one of us has been transformed by God’s love!