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How God Makes Things Happen

What adult can’t readily recall the mystery of Christmas approaching in your childhood?  There was an eager anticipation, excitement, and a huge OOOOOH Ah on Christmas morning as the longed for surprise was revealed.

All the shopping activities, decorations, music, pageants, and baking projects only served to intensify the upcoming moment.  When the suspense was mitigated and there in all its glory, were your dreams come true. Another baby doll, hot wheels set and doll house and endless gifts throughout the year remind you of that very beautiful Christmas morning.

Now take that same sentient experience and you have exactly what occurs in the daily life of a Christian who lives according to Jeremiah 33:3.  And here’s what it is, “…and things which thou knowest not, which I call the Jeremiah faith mystique, occurs.  Every day is a walk saturated in meditation, seeking God’s guidance and promises that are millenniums old.

It is never difficult to know what God doesn’t want me to do.  It is spelled pretty much in black and white as I observe the culture and am repulsed by the blatant poking of God’s eye.  In our recent walk of faith as we served in Africa, it seems we are many times we are walking through a mine field with our hands over our ears. Occasionally we hit a mine and get injured, but quickly brush ourselves off and continue on.

Knowing that God provides every resource to complete each vision and call, gives us a total sense of confidence, contentment, and rejoicing.  God opens doors through the people we meet.  When we have been obedient to show up for appointments that we would rather miss, events we never wish to see, or a moment in time where we would rather have the covers pulled over our heads under a pile of  lankets.

But these meetings have been the key that opens the door at the right time.  How one gets from one point in ministry to the other over a decade becomes so convoluted when explaining it, it is better to be

But this is another miracle of which we experience daily.  Located in the far southwest corner district of Uganda, in the district of Kabalae.  In it resides our friends Emmanuel, his wife Leonia and five children.  Emmanuel walks using two crutches which he grips in his hands.  Many children, when he was young, were smitten with polio. Stories and rumors permeated the local culture that the immunizations
were contaminated and were in fact, targeted, to insure the eugenics of the tribe.  How diabolical.  For this reason, many children were not immunized and many adults today bear the mark of this plague.

Our Ugandan children, Paul and Honorable Florence Nyiga Ssekabira, live with this as Florence in her childhood, contracted polio.  Her past years of childhood confinement, teen years of crawling on the
ground, give disperate contrasts to the woman she is today.  A vibrant, joyful, hardworking parliamentarian and minister to the disabled of the Uganda, she has served to help the disabled
demographics.  She inaugurated the National Council for the Disabled of Uganda.  At her initial meeting of this Council in July of 2002, where many people with disabilities attended, was our dear friend, Emmanuel, representing his far-off district in SW Uganda.

A long, tedious, seven-hour drive one way, was the journey that Emmanuel commuted to the capital city of Kampala.  It was there that he performed his work for the disabled people of Uganda, like himself.  It was at that inaugural meeting that the two “giants” met, i.e. Emmanuel Rutakiangwera and Mike Meaney—Emmanuel with his crutches, Mike with his wheel chair.  Don’t bother looking at the mechanical devices.  They are not an impediment.  They are, to be sure, a gift from God.

It was “love at first sight” at that first meeting.  Emmanuel, though huge like a small giant, was in spirit the kindest, loveliest man you would ever want to meet.  He and Mike both had the same energy, determination and drive, seemingly imbued by mechanical devices such as crutches and wheel chairs, to accomplish God’s purpose for their lives.

That very day, Emmanuel was elected by his peers in the Ugandan government to become chairman of the Ugandan Council for Disabled People of Uganda.  He asked Mike to serve as a member of the board in an advisory and consulting capacity.  With great joy and momentum that day, was germinated the seeds of a program to meet the needs of ALL disabled Ugandan citizens.  Over the years via phone and e-mail, many plans were made and facilitated that carried through their vision. Honorable Florence, Honorable Emmanuel and Mike Meaney produced a synergy no one could have ever predicted.

June 26, 2006, a seminar/luncheon was held at the beautiful five-star Serena Hotel.  Invited to it were the people who hire employees for large companies, representatives of education, government  programs and NGO’s.

This day’s events were to Florence, Emmanuel and Mike the coming together of all their ideas, dreams and aspirations.  We all lift that trip with a rich sense of accomplishment for the disabled people of Uganda.  Our relationship with Emmanuel and his wife Leonia was especially wrought with love and tender emotions as they gave birth to a little girl, Florence Nightingale, born with multiple birth defects.

Over the next two years, caring for our baby Florence required much prayer and loving deeds such as the Westminster women sewing dresses for her.  After many surgeries and months of extreme care, baby Florence had all of her major problems addressed.  That is, cleft palate, heart malfunction and other smaller maladies.  On Mike’s trip to Kabale to visit the Ruta family, Emmanuel was able to show Mike the beautiful hill where he was going to soon begin work on building his new house for Leonia and the children.  Mike reminded Emmanuel and Leonia that God knew exactly who to give such a severely  disabled child to.  Who else could be so ready and able to help baby Florence to grow into her God-given potential?

Two weeks after our last meeting with Emmanuel, as he returned home from Kampala, he was killed in a head on car crash.  The news was stunning to all of Uganda, us included.  In the midst of everyone’s breaking heart, Emmanuel was buried and his funeral service was directed by our dear friend, a man named Aloysious Kiiza.  In the next year after Emmanuels death, little baby Florence, not such a little
baby any more, almost two years old, died from complications of her birth defects.  Father and daughter are buried together on the side of the hill where the new house was to be built.


In the far southwest corner of Uganda is located the district of Kabale.  It is adjacent to Rwanda and Burundi.  In those mountains are the famous silver backed gorillas.  It also is home to the great mountains of Rwenzori, which provides fresh spring bottled water which is distributed throughout East Africa.  It is also the home of the pigmy tribes.  The little people who in recent years have become one of the  marginalized citizens groups in Africa.

It is in those terraced mountains that you will find the village of Kabale.  In that village our friends Aloysious and Margaret Kiiza have built a ministry which they call “Hope Africa.”  Because the general demographics have proven to be disastrous for the average person living there, their life expectancy is the mid-thirties.  This is a direct result of the AIDS pandemic, the disillusion of the family, the product of a corrupt government where people do not receive the benefits provided by philanthropic NGOs.

Margaret and Aloysious have committed their lives to literally rescuing and saving throw away children.  They are given babies by the police department, friends and neighbors and other people who care. They have received children out of latrines, garbage dumps and gardens.  Margaret brings them home, cleans them up, and feeds and loves them.  The Kiizas have always considered these finds a “gift” from God and continue to enfold, nurture, love, educate these individuals until they are on their own.  Many times they place them in loving Christian homes where they will gladly receive another child.

In the ministry of Hope Africa, they have built schools, church and programs that extend to the adjacent villages to help people who are in great need.  We met Margaret Kiiza when she appeared at our Ugandan resource classroom.  Someone had told her that there are teaching resources available if she could get there.  Amy, Julie and Marie met Margaret with great joy and expectations that what we could share with her would be a great blessing for their ministry.  In the John T. Miller resource classroom in Wamala, we took boxes and bags and walked around the large room, snatching teaching materials, student activity supplies off the shelves.  After a short while Margaret had enough boxfulls of teaching materials to fill the whole back of their pickup truck.  Margaret thought she had been blessed that day, but it was us who received the greatest blessing by meeting her.  She took the teaching supplies home and reported to us that her teachers there were so delighted to finally have some supplies and we all thank the Lord for that.

Later on, we were to meet her beloved husband, Aloysious.  Upon our arrival back in America, Aloysious sent us an e-mail saying that he was scheduled to speak at a local Bible conference in Seattle—could we
meet?  So on his first try to get to Seattle, Washington, he did not arrive in Seattle, Washington, but in Washington, D.C.  The Ugandan ticket agent assumed that when he said “Washington”, that he meant
Washington D.C.  Very few people outside of America know that there are two Washingtons, one the State of Washington and the other, the nation’s capital.  When he called to tell us the situation from “Washington, D.C.”, we were all shocked.  Fortunately, for Aloysious, he had friends in Maryland who rescued him and proceeded to give him a geography lesson.

The next year he ordered the correct airline tickets to Seattle-Tacoma Airport in the Seattle, Washington.  When he arrived and telephoned Mike, he said he was located in a hotel called Embassy Suites.  This hotel was well known since it was only one mile from our house.  Mike asked him why he was in a hotel when it costs so much money when he could stay in our home for free.  He said he didn’t know.  He gave us the name of the church and the pastor when he was going to speak for this conference.  Mike immediately went up to collect him at the hotel in Eastgate.

Arriving in our driveway was the conference pastor host named Eliston Supeyo, accompanying him, in our humble driveway were “apostles, bishops, prophets, teachers and other dignified persons”  emerging from a mustard colored BMW sporting a bumper sticker reading, “I run on corn oil.”  This distinguished group of Kenyans had come to collect Aloyisious to take him to the week long conference in North Seattle. But first to be dealt with was the proclamation of a car eating vegetable oil.  Being a cynic at heart, Marie had to have this proven before her very eyes.  These questioning statements seemed out of context compared to the very seriousness of this group of church leaders.

“How can a car run on corn oil, I don’t believe it?”  Eliston gave short explanation of how the vehicle had been given to him as a gift, fully converted from a gas engine to a corn drinking car. He said he would show me.  So Marie went to get a gallon of vegetable oil and a very large funnel.  Into the gas tank it flowed.  “Now, start it up.” He did, and that was that.  Otherwise we would not have believed it. Now we know Pastor Eliston Supeyo very well.  The Kenyon church community in North Seattle where Aloysious preached for a week was attended by Mike.  He reported that it was just like being in Africa, except that you’re in Seattle.  Aloysious went back home to Uganda. Pastor Elliston invited us to attend their church service the next Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  We attended, not knowing that this was another door beginning to open for ministry in Kenya.

After a couple of years of friendship, Pastor Eliston and his wife Terezza, brought many people to our home for fellowship.  We always laughed a lot, prayed and rejoiced at how God brought together two such diverse cultures under one roof.  One day in June 2008, Eliston brought his friend, Bishop Godfrey Nderitu of Ongatta Rongai, a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya.  Godrey, sitting in his best sharp creased pants, proper tie, and mother-of pearlized black patent, sharp toed shoes, was introduced to us and within minutes, if it was not seconds, he declared to Mike that God had told him to DO SOMETHING about the
countless, disabled people in his community.  His heart was open to serve them, but he didn’t know where to start.  HELLO!  Meet Mike Meaney.

That very day, the arrangements were pre-planned for us to visit the pivotal people in greater Nairobi area who wanted to start a program to help the disabled.  August of 2008, we were the blessed visitors  in Godfrey and Margaret’s home in Ongatta Rongai, Kenya for five days. Since we were going to be so CLOSE to Eliston Supeyo’s family, then we thought, why don’t we just “drop in” on them too?  Does  anyone have any idea what is involved behind “dropping in”?  Visiting the Supeyo tribe in Kenya?  On Wednesday, August 23rd, two days before “cow redemption day” in  Uganda, we were off early to visit Eliston’s family.  Our team consisted of Pastor Godfrey Nderitu and his wife Margaret, driver Dr. Ronald, Marilyn Baxter, Erica Goss, Mike and Marie.

The trip from the pastor’s house to the village of the Masaii was easily three hours one way.  It wound up and down the mountains and the valleys of the Rift Valley.  The entire time we listened to the CD
of Timothy James Meaney.  We played it over and over and over.  At one point, I (Marie) noticed a sign on the winding road that said, “Kajabi”.  That name rang a bell in my brain from my childhood.  I had
heard the name of that village hundreds of times as a child when the missionaries from Kenya related their stories at my mother’s dining room table, way back in 1945.  That name was imprinted in my heart.
The thousands of missionary stories that I heard as a child from my mother’s Sunday afternoon diner guests were alive in my subconscious.

Out in the “middle of nowhere” in the extinct crater of this mountain lived thousands of tribal communities.  To see primitive huts, cement block houses and then an enormous satellite dish, made us realize we still lived in the 21st century.  Modern technology and primitive cultural evidences brought together a picture of the blending of modern and ancient man.

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