by Amy Balzer-Pemberton
On my recent Mission Trip with Women of the Pearl to Uganda, we did a lot of special things as the first team of women to accompany Lynn Corker in her ministry. We sang with children, danced with women, we told The Gospel through nail polish!
A few things to know about the women who live in Uganda…in their culture, a woman’s value is less than the animals the family owns. They spend their time serving others, earning a living, cooking, caring for children, but never once are they pampered. As a woman raised in the U.S., I can’t imagine this.
…a woman’s value is less than the animals the family owns.
I have this thing about nail polish, I have loved it since I was a kid. I’d paint my nails up with graphics, patterns, you name it – I loved my polish! I have a special friend named Lilly, who is 11 and always loved to paint nails with her mother. This wonderful mama was one of my husband’s best friends since college and she sadly passed away 5 years ago. When I spend time with Lilly, the first thing she asks is if there is time for us to paint nails. Knowing how precious this act is to her, my answer is always “YES!”
As I tried to figure out my place on the WOTP team and how I could contribute, I stumbled on an idea about using nail polish to pamper the women. We were going into villages to support the women and also speaking at a Pastors’ Wives Conference, so there was ample opportunity to try it out. I had envisioned painting nails with the girls, but soon discovered that the women needed to be the recipients.
We used the Wordless Book technique, which utilizes color to tell The Gospel. The colors are:
- Yellow (God loves Me – John 3:16)
- Black (I have sinned – Romans 3:23)
- Red (Christ died for my sin – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
- White (I am God’s child – John 1:12)
- Green (I’m growing in Christ – 1 Peter 2:2)
What made this even more wonderful is that most of the colors used are also found in the Ugandan flag. So we surprised the ladies at our Pastors’ Wives conference with this technique and asked them to paint the nails of the friend sitting near them. The room was filled with conversation, laughter and smiles. It was precious!
The room was filled with conversation, laughter and smiles. It was precious!
One of the highlights of our trip were village visits. As we spent time in Bufuula and Namwendwa, we used the Wordless Book Nails as our devotion. Lynn and our translator Violet read the Bible verses while Janette, Christine, myself and our friend Mary, a local student, each took a color and painted the woman’s nails.
While I couldn’t really say much more than hello, I looked each of them in the eyes and shared a smile with them. I love that a smile, a hug, a touch translates into every language. The outcome was the same in the villages – a look of pride came across their faces. You could see in the images we took how much they enjoyed it, and we really did too!
It’s easy to forget how a simple act can impact people’s lives. Doing this, helped me remember that in a small act we can impact lives around us the way that Women of the Pearl hopes to impact lives in Uganda.
On Sunday, April 12, Living Water will welcome Lynn Corker to share her faith journey and experiences in leading Women of the Pearl ministry. Lynn recently returned from Africa, where she led a team who shared teaching ideas and resources with Ugandan women. You will enjoy hearing Lynn’s stories and learn how she has taken a brave step to answer God’s calling and serve others in a foreign country.
Janette and Amy will be sharing their experience on May 17 at St. Luke – Ann Arbor during the education hour.