Saturday, July 21, 2012

The full story of Irene

I want to tell you more about my friend Irene. I told you a story about her earlier this year, but here are some more details. She is a "fashion designer" and owns her own shop. She has 2-3 tailors who work for her and they make clothes to order and fitted to the customer. We met last summer when a team from Asbury University came. Each girl had a dress made so our relationship started well.

I continued to go visit her and even had a shirt and skirt made for myself in September. Two of her tailors are Congolese and I began going to the shop some just to practice my Swahili with them. They showed me a few sewing things. In November her shop was robbed. Her sewing machines, all her finished projects and most of her raw fabric were taken. She felt devastated and attacked. I went to her home to show some love. It was one of the hardest things for me culturally.

By going to her home, I showed that I cared for her more than just someone I did business with. It shocked her, I think. It was also hard because as we prayed together I came face to face with some of the cultural differences in our Christianity. While praying, another woman prayed that justice and punishment would come to the thief. I would never pray for bad things to happen to someone who has hurt me. This is just one of the many things that we need to look at through the Bible and be sure we are following His word and not the cultural influences, Ugandan or American, of the church.

After praying and visiting for as long as I could, I offered her my sewing machine to get her business back on its feet. She did not respond to my offer but I stopped at her shop and also told her tailors about the offer. A few days later she called and said it would really help. She used it until she was able to make enough money to get her own machines again.

Her business is back and doing great and our friendship is growing. I am excited to build this relationship and I can't wait to see how God uses me to help her grow and how God uses her in my life as well.