Inside EMI web feature by Jaz Lambert / EMI United Kingdom / Uganda
Photos by David Lambert
It was 2009 when Show Mercy International (SMI) first asked an EMI team to come to their site near Kaliiti Village to design their 'Field of Dreams' site as they began their ministry in Uganda. Five years later, Show Mercy directors Mike and Lori Salley invited EMI back again to design the next phase of their work: a primary school that will eventually grow into a boarding school for 300 children.
While our team's architects, engineers, and surveyors were figuring out the technical design for the new site, I talked to several of the young people SMI has hired as staff. Each of these people had a story of how their lives have been transformed by God through the love shown by people at Show Mercy. The story of one of the staff in particular, David, really impacted us all. We got to know him in February as we included him in some of the tasks the project team was working on in the field. One afternoon, David Muyanja and I sat down to talk about his life and how he came to Show Mercy.
David's first memory is of living on the streets of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. He has no parents and no family that he knows of, no relatives to care for him or take an interest in his life. Looking back at that time, he told me that he has no idea how he survived. He believes that it must have been God's mercy and grace alone. Street children like him don't usually live for long as injury, hunger, and disease take their toll. They simply disappear and there is no one to ask questions. Orphaned and abandoned children like David are seen in nearly all the AIDS-ravaged countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is to help children like him that Show Mercy began their ministry in Uganda.
David shares about his life with Jaz Lambert one afternoon at his new home – the Show Mercy 'Field of Dreams' site.
When David was eight, he started doing cleaning jobs and helping in a local church to earn some money. He was allowed to sleep in the church building at night. Later, a family took him in for a time as a house boy and he was able to earn food by doing odd jobs. But there were problems in the house and he didn't always get fed. He longed to belong somewhere and his eyes filled with tears as he shared how lonely he felt.
When he was 17, a visitor named Sonia came to the church and began to take an interest in him. She talked to him about his life and asked him if he would like to have somewhere new to live. That night as he slept he had a vision of a beautiful place. Not long after this, Sonia brought him to the Show Mercy site where he received prayer and encouragement. Seeing the site reminded David of the vision and knew he had found his home.
Something about the landscape and beauty of the 'Field of Dreams' site reminded David of the vision he had and gave him peace about staying there.
David has been employed as a groundskeeper at 'Field of Dreams' since November 2012. Show Mercy has provided work, support, and care for him as a full-time staff member. Being loved, feeling useful, and given self-esteem, David feels he has received more than a job here – even more than a fresh start on life. Here he feels he has finally found a home. He has found long-term hope for his future too. In fact, David told me he is trying to save up enough to buy land and build his own house someday. And, when he gets married, he hopes to care for his own children with a sort of love he never received himself: The love he found at Show Mercy.