The Power of Hope & Faith: Nakato's Story
When a Light to the Nations team from Australia visited a Ugandan village in September 2005, they did not realise that their presence would bring about such a change in the life of one young woman who had lost all hope.
When we found Nakato in the village near Jinja she was in advanced stages of sickness due to HIV/AIDS. Nakato was a Muslim and married to a Muslim man when she contracted the disease. Unable to care for herself, her husband or her children, Nakato returned home to her mother where she could be cared for, and to get help caring for her children. As the AIDS related symptoms increased, Nakato realised that death was approaching. In desperation she surrender her life to Christ, fully expecting to die.
When the Light to the Nations team arrived in her village, near Jinja in Eastern Uganda, we had intentions of sharing words of encouragement and praying for the sick. But Nakato was already in the advanced stages of the illness. She was immobilised, lying on a mat in the shade outside the mud hut, extremely weak, unable to move and dehydrated, unable to drink or keep anything down. She had lost her ability to hear. In hushed tones, between forced breaths she told us that she was dying. Having seen death like this before, her family believed her. So did we.
We had come to the village with the intention of bringing hope and encouragement, but what do you do when faced with situations like this? What hope is there? How could we even encourage her faith when she couldn't even hear what we were saying? But since God had sent us, and since we were there, we refused to believe that God would not want us to speak to her, so we laid hands on her and prayed that God would at least restore her hearing so that we could at least leave her with a message of eternal hope.
After we prayed we began to converse with the other family members and about 5 minutes later Nakato spoke and declared that her hearing had returned!
As she lay there on the mat, the team gathered around her again and began to pray. I felt strongly that this should not be her time to die, although she was obviously in a terrible state of health. As we prayed we asked God to heal her and I felt the Lord impress on my spirit something like this: "This girl needs to have something to hope for. She believes that she is dying and in unable to imagine or believe that the future holds anything for her other than death... give her something to look forward to!"
As we prayed and looked at her we all felt terribly helpless, but I wanted to leave her with something to look forward to, but what could I tell her that would not be a false hope? I called my friend Liz over and asked her to translate for me. I told Nakato that if I came back to that village and found her in good health then I would buy her a new dress. It was a clumsy and awkward attempt at encouragement, but it was the best that I could do. Later on David, the local project co-ordinator, told me that it was likely that the Lord Himself would give her a new dress in heaven before I saw her again. We continued to pray.
It took weeks for the news to filter back to us in Australia that there had been a remarkable change in Nakato's state of health. On the evening of the day that we had visited her Nakato gained the strength to get up and bathe herself - something that she had not been able to do for some time. 4 days later her strength began to return and she started to put on weight. In fact, her recovery was so remarkable that Nakato resumed her daily chores and returned to her small business of cutting hair. Despite her remarkable recovery she remains with her mother because her Muslim husband doesn't want a Christian wife.
After hearing of Nakato's amazing return from the brink of death, and knowing that I was scheduled to return to Uganda, I knew that I had a promise to keep. On February 7 I returned to Nakato's village to keep my promise - to take her into town and buy her that new dress. The act of actually buying the dress I entrusted to an African female friend (women's clothing and African fashion are not my area of expertise!). I left the girls to shop and took Asman, Nakato's son, to a small local restaurant in Jinja - Ossies - which is run by Judy, a fellow Australian with a big heart and a huge love for the Ugandan people.
2 hours later Nakato and my friend returned from their shopping safari with a new dress, matching shoes and oil for her hair. From my perspective it wasn't the most fashionable choice of dress, but one well suited to the local culture - and the most extravagant gift that Nakato had ever received. As we sat in the restaurant we talked about God's extravagant grace, and how necessary it is for all those who come to God to believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Nakato has also been blessed with a Bible and a pair of breeding pigs as part of the Light to the Nations project in the area.
Please pray for Nakato and for her family and village. Pray that her health will continue to improve and that the whole community may be inspired to call upon the name of Jesus.
UPDATE: (March 2015)
- Allan Weatherall
Sunday, October 22, 2006 printer friendly version | 16332 reads
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