June 2016: My Justice
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Luke 9:16
My father, Charlie Byrd, was born and raised in the southern part of the U.S., educated up to third grade, the son of a Baptist Minister, and lived through the Great Depression. When he came home and greeted us after work, he would exclaim “my justice!” My mother’s usual response was “I made ____ for dinner.” I soon understood that “my justice,” according to the “gospel” of Charlie Byrd, meant “What’s for dinner?”
While Charlie Byrd is no longer with us, I still hear his call for “my justice,” but now it is “our justice” and it comes from the people we work with at the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), a Global Ministries partner.
I heard “our justice” from Annette, a woman in Uganda, as she told us through tears, “Food is educating our children.”
Annette received assistance from OAIC to set up a farm in her community in Uganda. She was trained and given cassava to plant and soon her farm became transformational. Because of her improved income, Annette and her husband were able to educate their children and contribute to their daughter’s tuition. Their daughter will be the first generation in their family educated up to university level.
Annette started a group in her community called “gema ku mwino,” meaning “hold your friend’s hand” in the Busoga language of Uganda. The group teaches the community about farming practices and nutrition, thus improving the life and health of the community.
Charlie Byrd’s call for “my justice” became part of my spiritual destiny. It taught me that the injustice of food insecurity in the world is partly caused by poverty and often leads to malnutrition, poor child development, war, and civil strife. Annette reminds us that we cannot be satisfied that we and our families are well while millions are food insecure. We must “gema ku mwino.”
Rev. Phyllis Byrd serves with the Organization of African Instituted Churches as the Director for the Just Communities Program. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.