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The One VS The Many

Caitlin’s personal thoughts   With just over one week under my belt after Uganda, I have finally had a chance […]
Caitlin’s personal thoughts
With just over one week under my belt after Uganda, I have finally had a chance to process
and put into words some of my personal feelings on the trip. 
These are just my own quiet thoughts, and do not necessarily reflect the views of LMF. 
This trip I had the absolute privelage of leading a team of people, most of whom 
had never been to Africa before. Even though it was my third trip, many times I felt as though
I was experiencing things for the first time right there with them. The age old issues of 
Africa came up once again for me. The main theme I found I wrestled with was the tension of helping one
or helping many. 
At the clinic dedication, a lady grabbed me and led me through crowds of people to her sick grandson. 
I couldn't understand what she was saying, and no one was around to translate, but I could make out 
the word "malaria" and he didn't look healthy. I had actually seen them when they arrived. 
I noticed him because his clothes looks worse than the other boys, and the lady with him looked old 
enough to be his grandma. 

I didn't know what to do. To be honest, my heart felt hard.. I was embarrassed in front of so many
people who were all sick and in need of a doctor, and I didn't know how to help. I told her to wait there 
and the doctor would see him. Once we left, I couldn't be sure if that happened or not. What if it didn't?
Even though we were sitting there celebrating the fact that this clinic would see 1000's of 
patients per year, I was worried, and am still worried, about the one. The "1000's of people" are made up 
of individuals, all with their own unique stories and needs, so what happens when we fail someone? 
When we fail the one in pursuit of the many?
Similarly our time in Barr village visiting the Cents for Seeds ladies was equally as bittersweet. 
When we arrived we spoke with out friend Ann who we had helped back in 2010, she asked us to pray for
her little baby Emmanuel, and we left her some money as he was very ill. Sadly she told us that her little
boy had passed away on 3 weeks earlier. He had spent 4 weeks in hospital with respiratory problems,
but the doctor said he was safe to go home. Sadly he passed away in her arms on the walk home.
This news was just gut wrenching for us. To learn that we had just missed him, that if we had been a few
weeks early maybe we could have helped... that this lady was now left with empty arms, and there
was nothing we could do.
Even though we were celebrating the marvelous success of the Cents for Seeds program, and the fact that Ann
will have a plentiful harvest this year, I was mourning the loss of something greater, and wishing there was
more that we could have done.
We were too late for little Emmanuel, but there are others that we now must seek to extend ourselves to 
save, not because we are the saviour's of this village, but because Jesus is and we follow him.


  1. Thank you for sharing your reflections and for the work you are doing in Uganda. It is humbling to be reminded that so many people are doing without while I have so very much. You can not know the reach oh your actions. Sometimes helping one is helping many. You may help to save the life of one mother and indirectly you are contributing to a better life for her five children. Again, thank you for the work you are doing. My heart is with you and those you are helping.

  2. Thanks Emily. That is so kind to hear from someone who I don't even know! Thanks for your encouragement. Your words a true- I hadn't thought that before, that sometimes helping one is helping many. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Cait

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