Yesterday some of us went to meet the chief of police. Cheryl is with the California Hwy Patrol so she brought her badge and ID with her. When we arrived the chief was not in so we met the inspector. Tom told him we had a police officer with us and the inspector began looking the men over to see who it was. They pointed to Cheryl. Pleasantly surprised the inspector welcomed her and a sergeant and another officer popped in. They NEVER allow photos but he did allow a photo of the three of them and Cheryl. Cheryl asked if we could see their operation and he willingly agreed. We saw where they do fingerprinting and the crime lab. There was a large line of women waiting to speak to someone in the domestic violence division. A woman was checking in with a big knot on the back of her head and blood all over the side of her face. Then we walked down a narrow dark hallway where the jail cell was. It was difficult to see the prisoners as they were in a small dark room. Cheryl stopped and said, “Have you been bad boys?”
“No. We are only suspects.”
Later, a Ugandan told Cheryl that if the men are sent to prison the conditions are much more deplorable. They are beaten senseless every night and are forced to do hard labor during the day. Their one meal a day contains embalming fluid so they are slowly poisoned to death. Those who are released are so sick they die anyway.
In family time this morning people were remarking about the extreme joy these people have in spite of being raped, beaten and having lost family members to AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Tom related to how the Ugandans prayed so furiously for him when he had cancer. They would fast and cry tears to God on his behalf. When he and Sarah arrived in Uganda this past June there was a huge celebration. People waved flowers and banners, and danced and sang with jubilation. Tom noticed one of the women dancing feverously. He kidded her later, “You were getting pretty wild there!”
“When I heard of your cancer I went without food or water for six days, praying continually. I suffered so much so my joy must be greater.”
Tom reminded us that the power of the gospel can ease the pain. Jesus knows our suffering. His family fled to Africa when he was a baby. He was beaten and mocked. Although he had the power to hurt back he allowed them to lead him like a lamb going to be slaughtered.
These people have wept deeper than we have ever wept. They’ve experienced sorrow way beyond anything we could ever experience. Yet they are not cold and bitter. They aren’t hiding behind their troubles and are not violent. Their height of joy comes from their depth of mourning.
We welcomed Bill Goodwin to our team last night. After our team leaves Bill will go to Kenya for a prayer conference.