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Friday, June 3, 2011

my friend John Jigo



We made it! We are all snuggled in under our mosquito nets ready for sleep! I LOVE THIS PLACE!! When I took my first step off of the plane I drew in a deep breathe and whispered "Thank you Lord for bringing me back!!"

When Gwen and I first started 147 million orphans we wanted to add a bag to our product line. all of the "business people" that we talked to encouraged us to order them from overseas for a dollar or two and print them the way that we wanted them. Every time we started the process, we just felt like something was missing. So, we started looking for an individual to sew them for us. Through a contact we met John Jigo. He was born is Sudan and fled from the war-torn country when he was seven years old. He now lives in Nashville with his wife and two children. He works in a factory sewing tags on uniforms for his day job and works for me and Gwen in his extra time. He is always joyful and thankful for anything and everything that the Lord blesses him with. He is ray of sunshine each and every time I meet with him to discuss a different bag. I have had the women at our fabric store call me three different times just to tell me how much they love it when he picks up the fabric and it how he just brightens their day. He still has a VERY thick African accent. I can hardly understand him over the phone. It took me six months to relay to him the design and "look" that we wanted for our bags. Still, "business people" tell Gwen and I that we could make so much more on our bags is we would order them overseas....and our answer is always "NO".

John mentioned to me once that he dreamed of returning to Africa to see his family. He wanted to go before his mother passed away, so that he could tell her that he has forgiven her for abandoning him and his siblings when he was seven years old. The war tore through his village and at seven years old, he fled as far as he could go....ending up in Uganda. (His journey took him to Egypt where he joined the armed forces and fought in the Gulf War on behalf of the US) All the time hoping to one day make it back to his family in Sudan. Regretfully, he never made it back home before his mother passed away.

When Gwen and I started planning this trip, we instantly thought to ask John to come with us. How full would our hearts feel, to help reunite John with his two sisters and brother? SO, here we are...just landed in Entebbe with John Jigo!! I asked so many questions during lay overs and over meals. We learned that he was sending his mom $100 a month for medicines up until the day that she died...even though she had abandoned them and he had not seen her for 32 years. We learned that his village has no clean water and he wants to take pictures to bring home so that we can help in putting in a well for his family. His siblings told him that they would not believe that he was coming until they actually see him in person. He shared with us that this is a bittersweet trip for him. The smells, music, people bring back a FLOOD of memories...mostly bad. He plans to first stop at his mothers grave and pray over her asking for forgiveness that he did not make it back before her death. He brought gifts for each and every family member that he has here. He told us that throughout his life, his heart has not been whole. Something has been missing and he knows that this trip will fill that void. He talks about being a "survivor" and not knowing where his next meal was coming from....totally dependent on Christ.

Gwen and I are so happy that Christ brought John to us. He is truly a blessing! Pray with us that his heart will feel complete after being here. That the Holy Spirit will just fill those voids within him and that we can be the blessing to him that he is to us. He will be separating from us in the morning and going to Sudan while we go to Katies. Pray for safe travels....

7 comments:

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

WOW what an amazing trip of memories. Praying that he finds peace with this trip and hope too!!!!!

amy said...

What a sweet gift of love and healing you are giving to John. Love how
God binds our hearts to fulfill His greater story. Praying for you all...keep your
eyes up! Can't wait to hear what God will do in and through you.

Kendra said...

I love this story--thank you for sharing---we met a friend while in Ethiopia both times and we will consider him our "brother" for a life-time. Gos is soo gracious to bring such people to us. I hope John finds peace while he's there.

jstromli said...

I used birthday money to buy my MayVall bag this fall and it is hands down one of 'My Favorite Things':) It is cute, fun, sturdy, and durable...
And somehow I LOVE IT EVEN MORE after reading your post...thank you so much for sharing this story...I have so much respect for you and Gwen and the way you run your business and feel like I have a new friend in JOHN:)

Anonymous said...

So happy to get to tag along on your journey electronically. Praying for you all as you join katie and excited for you as you take the next steps into the gifts God has purposed for you! :) lisa h

Shelley said...

What a wonderful man. I hope he finds the peace he is looking for. Praying for everybodies safe travels. I love the work you are doing. The Lord has impressed upon my husband and I to adopt from Uganada. Can't wait to hear about your wonderful trip. God Blessings over all of you.

Auntie Amanda said...

Beautiful story- I'm getting chills just reading it. Praying he has a fulfilling journey in so many ways, and for you all too. Cannot wait to hear more! <3 Be safe and hug everyone for me!

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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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