Africa in the studio Ministry photography

in the studio :: hope in the pit of hiv

Welcome to In The Studio, a place to show off your studio and meet some great artists! I just got back on Wednesday from Uganda. It was my third time in the Pearl of Africa, and it was just as amazing as the other two times I went. The Ugandan people are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met. Today I want to use the creative outlets of writing and photography to share a story with you of one of those beautiful people, Olivia. I’ll be sharing more stories next week, stories of HOPE, so be sure to check back. God is doing incredible things in Uganda!

happy olivia

As soon as we stepped out of the Toyota truck, she was there greeting us with hugs and smiles. I could already tell there was something amazing about Olivia, and I hadn’t even heard her story yet. She ushered us into her home and had us sit on the cushioned couches while she took the floor. Her smile slowly faded as she relived the painful events of her story.

olivia & i

Her husband died in 2000 from HIV. Apparently he had gotten very sick and had even gotten tested but never told her his status…positive. After he died, she got tested and found out she was positive. It was in the hospital that she saw the whole Earth and that she was going to die and leave her children, the youngest being one. In that desperate moment she received Jesus. The tears came as she continued to tell her story of finding God’s hope in the lowest of low moments. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized she knew God’s hope more than I ever could, because she had gone down to the depths of despair like I never have. Left alone with seven children, sick, living in a shack that was falling apart, and no way of earning income, it was a low moment.

God saw that low moment, and she grabbed onto His hope and has never let go.

paper beads

Olivia sat there rolling her paper beads that she’s going to use to make shoes, and the smile and laughter returned as she talked about her Jesus. It was beautiful. This scene. This moment. This woman. These paper beads. The hope was so real I could feel it. She went on to show us the coffee she’s growing outside to sell. This beautiful woman isn’t sitting in misery. She’s living life and doing well.


It was such a joyful moment, and then we met Winnie, her daughter. Winnie was laying on a mat outside and was so sick. My heart broke when I heard that Winnie stopped taking her ARV’s because the kids at school were making fun of her. She lay on the mat that day instead of sitting at her desk at school taking her exams. Her body is sick with a disease that wants to overtake her, but still Olivia clings to the hope of Jesus.


In the lowest of lows, in the pits of despair, there is hope. We can cling to what will disappoint and bring us down or we can cling to the HOPE that Jesus so freely gives.

Today I choose HOPE.

Now it’s your turn! Remember your “studio” can be anywhere. Let’s celebrate each other’s creativity by linking up and visiting as many as the other studios as you can. Check out the about post for more info and don’t forget to grab the In The Studio button!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Elisa | blissfulE
    November 15, 2013 at 7:24 am

    What an amazing story!!

  • Reply
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    November 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you Jen for sharing that story. There truly is inexpressible joy when we are grateful for what God has rescue us. Praying you were a blessing there that will continue. And for little Winnie too.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Her beads are beautiful! I hope her daughter can get better. That is so sad that the kids were making fun of her for taking ARVs.

  • Reply
    Jennifer {Studio JRU}
    November 17, 2013 at 2:35 am

    love stories of hope. thanks so much for sharing these beautiful souls with us, jen!

  • Reply
    Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA
    November 18, 2013 at 2:51 am

    There is so much love, joy and peace when you're doing the work of the Lord. Blessings!

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