I wish you could see in person this remarkable young woman whom I have grown to love so much! Don't let her quiet unassuming nature fool you - God has great things in store for this girl! :)
|Fauza in March 2010|
I first met Fauza (pronounced Fow-za) when she joined the secondary school in early 2010, just a few weeks after I came to Uganda. Because of her good primary results, she won a partial sponsorship to study at Lingira Living Hope.
Initially, I had difficulty drawing information out of her. Being that I am SHIM's sponsorship coordinator, part of my job is interviewing and getting to know new students, and continuing to encourage and follow-up with them as long as they are in the program.
Despite her quietness, there was something about Fauza that grabbed my heart and I wanted to meet with her on a more frequent basis. So, sometime in that first year we started weekly discipleship sessions. We met only when she was at school and would break off during school "holidays." And then at times we couldn't always coordinate our schedules, but we did meet many times - in a classroom, under a tree or on a nice shaded piece of grass.
I spent part of this past Sunday with Fauza in what may have been the last time we will sit - just the two of us. Four school years have nearly passed and Fauza is busily preparing for her final exams which begin in a week. And in early November, she will graduate from the school. You wouldn't know it by her demeanor, but she is one of the top students and the best-performing girl of her class of 33 students. We have high hopes for her performance and I pray she can continue on to a good school.
When Fauza leaves Lingira she will go and live with her Aunt Selena in eastern Uganda, roughly three hours from the island.
|Fauza last September, holding a "Certificate of Recognition" |
for her academic efforts.
I will miss Fauza very much and our sweet times of reading and studying the Bible together, sharing about our families, encouraging each other with what God has been doing in our lives, lifting up our needs to Him in prayer. But I will miss the most seeing with my own eyes God work in and through this special young woman. In the past three and a half years, Fauza has grown and matured in remarkable ways.
She has passed through her own challenges. After her father died, her mother married a Muslim man who mistreated Fauza because of her Christian faith. At one time, she couldn't even live at home and was taken in by our own Pastor Samson, who spoke highly of her character and her need. Challenges with faith, sickness, with her family and her peers have only seemed to strengthen Fauza's commitment to Christ and molded her into a sensitive and silently strong young woman.
During her time at the school, she felt God ask her to step out and do different things - like join the choir, translate in church, serve as a class monitor, help with Sunday School. And as much as possible, she obeyed and went far beyond her comfort zone to serve her Savior.
She told me yesterday she has a strong burden to go back and teach the young children in the village church. She is also being drawn to show Christ's love in word and action to her "rough" Aunt Selena, a Muslim who has been hardened and embittered by hardship and rejection. While many people avoid this tough woman, Fauza sees someone who is hurting and needy.
Even though I will miss seeing Fauza several times a week, I told her we must stay in touch and I promised to visit her in the village.
I am excited to see where God will take her and how He will use this shy, innocent young woman to accomplish extraordinary things for His kingdom.
God does not choose the strong, bold or powerful. He chooses the obedient, willing and faithful. Fauza is an amazing picture of God's unmatched wisdom and grace.