A couple weeks ago I started having this tiny little backache. It’s not a big deal whatsoever, but it’s just annoying. Every time I take a wrong step, or bend over wrong, or twist awkwardly it inhibits my once effortless movement. On a scale of 1-10 of pain and severity, this back ache is a 0. It’s nothing- miniscule, but it consistently affects my daily life in the smallest of ways. However, it stops me in my tracks to imagine a more serious pain. What if I had a bullet embedded in my skin from 10 years ago? What if my nose had been cut off to signify I was a child soldier, or my right arm blown off in an explosion? Even worse, what if I didn’t have ANY access to medical care? No ibuprofen bottle sitting around to numb the shooting pains, no antibiotics to stop an infection…nothing. How in the world would I go about living daily life? The physical pain would get to be at times so unbearable my mind would literally shut down and make it impossible to focus on anything other than the immeasurable hurt going on within my body. There’s absolutely no way I could work a full day, or sit down and focus entirely on any sort of task. Not to even mention having a fruitful quiet and prayer time without crying out to God begging for any sort of healing.
Unfortunately this hypothetical situation, as far-fetched as it is for us here in America, is the norm in Uganda. While in Africa a couple of months ago, we heard story after story of physical ailments that plagued the Ugandan people’s everyday lives. They weren’t complaining or whining; they were stating facts. Their people are in a world where pain casts a dark and haunting shadow over absolutely every part of their lives. It’s not that they are lazy or unwilling to work to start picking up the broken pieces a 25-year war left behind, they are physically unable to. We’ve often been asked why The Tuli Initiative includes the “body” part of our mind-body-spirit approach. The Nameless Project’s main mission is psychological healing, and Switchboard Missions’ focus is on spiritual awakening- so where does physical healing come into play? As deep as their scars run emotionally, we can’t expect healing in their minds or spirit until the body is mended. And what better way to present hope than by introducing them to The Great Physician? By establishing the fact that we care about their physical needs, whether it’s providing a roof and bed for orphans, or clean water to drink, or doctors to perform life-changing surgeries, we can help provide freedom from constant pain and thus open thousands of doors in their hearts to a healing far more eternal.