I didn’t anticipate serving across the world would lead to my healing. But my God restores the broken by His abundant grace.
When I first visited Africa in 2006, I was trying to put my life back together after a difficult 26-year marriage. I had emotional wounds due to physical abuse and my ex’s pornography addiction.
But God began healing me in Northern Uganda as I served with a missionary friend. As a therapist, she helped those traumatized by the terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has wreaked havoc for 35 years in four African countries. As a nurse, I provided medical help, but God blew my mind as I heard the people’s deep emotional needs. I unburied my pain and shared my story. God brought clarity to my experience as I saw its purpose—so I could share the hope and healing found in Jesus with others.
After a decade of short-term trips, I moved to Uganda in 2016, leaving a 20-year nursing career and my three sons and their families.
Today in northwest Uganda, I work among many refugees, displaced by terrorism, tribal conflict, civil wars, and ongoing drought. I serve alongside Africans to bring Jesus’ hope and healing using material from the Trauma Healing Institute (in association with the American Bible Society), the Freedom in Christ discipleship course, and an ongoing feeding program for refugees and villagers in desperate need.
Bidibidi, the world’s second largest refugee settlement, accommodates 350,000 Congolese and Sudanese. It’s estimated 95% of those in northern Uganda have some form of PTSD due to abject poverty, conflict, and pain. “Suffering” has become their identity, yet God can bring deep restoration.
I see this reality in people like Rose. Crippled from birth, Rose was considered “cursed,” and twice LRA soldiers wanted her killed. Initially she wouldn’t meet my gaze. As the women’s group continued meeting, Rose unfolded like a flower as she found a safe, accepting community and experienced Christ’s healing power. I knew transformation had occurred when Rose voluntarily shared her story in a nearby village. No longer the marginalized woman, Rose walks in freedom in Christ.
The needs here are very overwhelming. However, I don’t focus on what I can or cannot do, but on serving as a venue for Christ’s work in others. I have tasted His abundant mercy which He offers to all.