“Stop crying and do something about this!” She was yelling at me while I wept.
“Do you know how powerful you are?” She was outraged and violently angry at me.
As I look back, I understand why she unleashed on me.
She was the matriarch of a refugee camp in Lira, Uganda where the food had been cut off to encourage families to return to their homes in the countryside. But word from the underground said that the leader of the Lord’s Rebel Army was still on a rampage through their territories, looking for children to be desensitized through murdering their own families to join his army. So instead, parents were dying of starvation to try to keep their children alive at the refugee camp in hopes that a miracle would change their fate.
This is what I had stumbled across. I was tired, devastated, and overwhelmed by what I saw.
My team of 19 and I were on our way to an orphanage in that same area where happy children had been rescued. They were singing and dancing and putting on plays about their rescue and the goodness of their lives. How could it be that only 10 miles from this happy orphanage emaciated moms were salvaging the last crumbs of food for their babies and toddlers languished with distended bellies and malaria?
The matriarch of the camp found me and changed my life forever. I wish I could thank her. She was powerless to change her situation. But she somehow knew that I could. And she had power over me, to shake me up, wake me up, and tell me who I was. I was powerful and powerfully positioned to help her. It took a lot of yelling, repetition, and not giving up on me. But the switch flipped. And I got it.
Our team of 19 quickly went to work turning an old building at the orphanage into a new house for 30 children from the refugee camp to move into within 24hours. Our three doctors agreed to stay an extra week and safely transition the children over and deal with the malaria and near starvation. We had resources and new people at home who would sponsor these children when they heard our story. We could pay for beds, bedding, medicine, and food. It wasn’t that expensive, and it wasn’t that hard to do, once we shifted from our passive grief to our powerful selves.
The point of this story? I needed the reminder. And maybe you do, too.
What are you crying about?
Do you know the power of your voice…or what you are powerfully positioned to do?