This past summer in Uganda, I watched momma after momma tie their babies on their back. I loved watching them do this! Momma would bend over, grab the baby’s arm and leg and slide them over their back…then they would tie the bottom of the wrap around their waist and the top under their arms. And voila….baby on the back! It looked so easy to do….but its not! Some of the mommas laughed at me trying to do this myself and showed me how to do it.
I would just marvel at the difference in Ugandan women versus American women. These women continued on with life as they know it….cooking by the fire, washing dishes in a basin on the ground outside, washing clothes in a basin bent over, tending to the crops, working, caring for other children….all while this little bundle of joy is tied to her back.
The baby just goes with the flow….I never saw one baby crying on a momma’s back. They always look so content and happy.
The wrap that they tie the baby on with is called a “lesu”. Its a simple piece of cotton fabric….nothing fancy.
While I was in Mbarara, the mornings were so chilly. One particular morning, I arrived around 7 am and the mommas were washing their babies outside in basins on the church grounds. The children would shiver as their momma got something to wrap around them….
But some children had nothing.
My heart broke…..Oh, God, to give them something.
Some of us would offer our jackets, some of us would take a child and snuggle with him to warm him.
I made a mental note: next year I will bring extra blankets to hand out.
The Lord used this moment and brought it back to mind this week. I was thinking about those blankets I want to give out….
But He had a different plan.
I remembered my message I taught these women in Mbarara….
“Carry Your Cross”
On a grassy church lawn in Mbarara, Uganda, I told these women my story. That I was just like them. I told them that I knew what it felt like to lose a baby…I’ve lost two. I told them that I knew what it felt like when your husband leaves…and you feel all alone.
I told them that I knew their pain.
And their loneliness.
I told them that I was just like them because I too had asked God, “Why?”
And I never had an answer.
I told them that I knew what it felt like to cry all night long.
I told them that I knew what it felt like to raise your children alone.
They lit up. A Mzungu was just like them.
I told them that God told me that His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are not my thoughts….that I wasn’t to question Him….I was to trust Him.
I was to carry my cross.
And my cross would bring Him glory.
I challenged them to carry their cross, the story of their child, and claim that though they don’t know why they have a child with a disability, they can choose to say, “my child will glorify the Lord.”
“My story will testify of His goodness.”
And the women danced and sang and celebrated that they would carry their cross!!
This week the Lord gave me a vision of what to take back with me….lesus.
For each woman in Gulu, I want to give her a lesu with a scripture written in Acholi, her native language. When a child is born with hydrocephalus in Gulu, the witch doctors urge her to loose the child off of her back by untying the lesu into the river. When the baby drowns, the curse is broken.
I am going to Gulu, Uganda next summer to break the curse and proclaim life over these children. And when we leave Gulu, the word will remain….
On the back of a momma, who is carrying her beautiful cross in her new lesu….
On her back, I said…
like our sweet Savior carried His cross….
For all of Gulu to see as she passes by.
For the mommas who choose to carry her cross, her new lesu will have a patch on the back that reads this:
This lesu is like the arms of Jesus around you. Every time you tie it on, I pray you feel His arms around you. This lesu holds tight the cross you carry for Him. Feel His love for you – He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is the Lord God Most High – your Savior and your Deliverer.
“Then He called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?’ Mark 8:34-35
Carry Your Cross
What a mark to leave on a nation! What hope I pray is left in their hands!
He sends me to take light to a very dark place.
To show them how to carry their cross.
To be His hands and take His words.
To wrap a lesu around a shivering naked body….and put the arms of Jesus around him, and tie him to his momma’s back.
Praise the Lord for “Lesu Love”
Here is a sample Lesu….with my very favorite baby model….”African Ward”
I couldn’t think of a better baby to try this out on! (I think the Ugandan mommas would still laugh at me trying to do this!) I love little Ward! I met Ward’s momma, Kim through “Mighty River”. The Lord has blessed me with this friendship. Ward was born with hydrocephalus and is doing great! You can read Ward’s amazing story before he was even born in previous posts.
If you would like to sponsor a lesu for $60, please click here: