Yesterday was a very, very, very good day for IJM Uganda. Yesterday morning we all arrived at the office to see the conference room decked out in streamers and balloons, a crate of sodas and a box of cupcakes in the corner, and a cryptic message on the whiteboard: “144+1.”
Our field office director told me to gather everyone for an “emergency” meeting in the conference room ASAP. By that point, the numbers were beginning to make sense in my head, and I could barely contain my excitement as I ran around the office: “Quick, everyone! You need to come to the conference room NOW. We have an emergency!”
What, you may ask, was this emergency that so urgently required our full attention? Well, ladies and gentlemen, on 26 October, 2010, IJM Uganda reached our victim relief goal for the year, which means that to-date this year, we have restored 145 women and children to their rightful land!!! HALLELUJAH!! (144 was the goal). What made this even more remarkable was the fact that last year we also hit our victim relief goal for the year on 26 October (I think IJM Uganda should declare this to be an office holiday forevermore).
Our director treated us all to a great poem, modeled after the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. He had stayed up all night writing it, and it truly is an inspired piece of writing. It documents both the incredible joys and overwhelming frustrations of our casework this year, with great months like May when we achieved victim relief for a record 54 people, and disheartening months like August where we seemed to make no progress in any of our casework.
My heart swelled to see the joy on everyone’s faces. It was humbling to reflect on the incredible perseverance, sacrifice, and teamwork that has allowed our team to achieve this goal. But what really made the event truly inspiring was what happened after the poem finished. Everyone clapped and cheered, but then one of our Aftercare staff members (a dear woman of God, who in many ways is the matriarch of IJM Uganda) broke out singing “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.” Amen.
Of course, our work for the year is far from over. We have many more cases we are working through, and even now we face many challenges and roadblocks in our casework. 145 is a great number, but it still is a small percentage of all those who still need to be rescued and restored. We still need your prayers, very very much. But for now, rejoice with us, and give Him the glory!