An abandoned woman, an orphan and a simple decision to say YESRich Stigall
Marsha Campbell, Uganda
Jane, from Nebbi-Town, Uganda, like thousands of women in Africa, found herself abandoned and struggling to support herself and orphaned three year old Dennis. Committed to addressing the plight of abandoned women and orphaned children in Africa, Jane’s Bishop invited her to travel with him and another to share her story with others in the United States. Jane made a simple decision to say, Yes.
Eleven years ago, Co-Rector Alison Barfoot, of Christ Church in Overland Park, Kansas asked Linda, a friend and parishioner, if she would be willing to host a woman visiting from Africa in her home for a few days. Linda made a simple decision to say Yes. She opened the door to her home and God opened the door to her heart. A simple Yes began to transform her world.
Jane, an abandoned woman struggling to survive in Uganda, and Linda, a wife, mother of three, suburbanite, comfortable in Overland Park, bonded both in heart and soul.
Soon, Linda and her family decided to say Yes to investing in making a difference in one woman’s life. Their investment provided educational and life support to both Jane and Dennis for several years.
Last year, an opportunity to join a circle of women who hoped to build a village for orphaned children in Uganda was offered to Linda. Once again, Linda made a simple decision to say, Yes.
A few days ago, that circle of women began a journey of discovery and joy to Africa to meet 100 orphans now living at the newly built village in Kabale, Uganda named The Father’s House.
After two days of travel, upon landing, our circle of nine women becomes 10 as we are warmly welcome by none other than– Alison Barfoot (the Reverend Canon Dr.), Assistant for International Relations to the Archbishop of Uganda, with membership of over 10 million.
After our first full day of sightseeing, Alison delights our team with an al- fresco dinner on the Namirembe hilltop verandah overlooking the panorama of Kampala glittering below. Jane from Nebbi-Town has travelled ten hours for this dinner reunion. Suddenly, the distance of those 9,000 miles and eleven years is overcome in one instant, as Linda and Jane embrace and tears of joy begin to flow. (See photo: Harriet, Denis, Linda and Jane.) Jane is now Pastor Jane, overseeing the ministry to women and children in a diocese of over 150,000. With Jane are University graduates Dennis and his beautiful fiance, Harriet, one with a degree in social work and the other a degree in development studies. This young couple will minister hope and love to abandoned women and orphaned children and those so brutally affected by the AIDS pandemic. Dennis has certainly caught his mother’s vision. Pastor Jane has also “adopted” another orphan, three year old Nancy.
In God’s economy, time and distance are but a heartbeat.
Overland Park to Nebbi-Town, Uganda.
A simple decision to say, Yes to open the door.
Our lives will never again be the same YES!
Linda Peterson, Rev. Jane Anikane and Alison L. Barfoot (The Rev. Canon Dr.)