There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted….”
— Thomas S. Monson
Mary is a symbol of hope to all her know her
She is a head nurse at a hospital in northern Uganda. When Brooks and I first met her, we were seeking some conflict resolution regarding a young man who had shown up on our doorstep with severe health issues. One of the hospital nurses did not want to allow him there. The patient suggested we talk to Nurse Mary, whom he knew from a previous hospital stay. Mary handled a very difficult situation with amazing Christ-like charity and genuine respect for everyone involved. As we talked privately afterward, we were surprised as she became tearful saying she wished she could do more for this young man, but she had some difficult situations that prevented her from giving more of herself. After some gentle coaxing, she shared part of her story.
During the 20+ year war perpetuated by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, Mary and her husband often took in people in need, so when a stranger from Kitgum whose family had mostly been killed or abducted, brought his teenage daughter to Mary asking if she would raise the girl, there was no question she would do this.
When Mary’s and her husband’s third child Praise was born with Cerebral Palsy her husband left them all without ever providing any financial support. Praise’s condition was very fragile, with many additional health problems. Mary was overwhelmed with all the responsibilities so years later, she took the teenage girl – now a grown woman with a child of her own — back to the father’s remote village. The father refused to take her saying that his daughter’s suffering would be too great in the village. In spite of some serious conflicts regarding the woman, Mary continued to support the stranger’s daughter and her little boy as well as many others. To compound the challenges, without compensation her estranged husband would send his sick family members to stay with her, fully aware Mary’s heart would not turn them away.
Today Mary’s sister and her children live with her and she supports them as well. Although at times overwhelmed with all her responsibilities, Mary continues to lovingly and patiently serve as a caretaker for many, as well as her little Praise.
Even though Mary is privileged to have a steady, salaried position, Praise’ medical needs are often beyond her economic abilities. Yet as a faithful Roman Catholic, she continuously acknowledges God’s tender mercies on behalf of the extended family she supports. She provides hope for many as she patiently and cheerfully deals with her own life challenges. She constantly teaches her family by word and by deed to always be hopeful, to always do their best, and in due time the blessings will come.