God Says it Best

God Says it Best

On my last trip to Uganda, I was asked to speak to the older girls about sexual purity. I felt my heart sink.

Many of you know that my husband, Duncan Hill, started Uganda Orphans Fund in 2002 to rescue orphans and children at risk. On my first trip to Uganda, over ten years ago, I had asked a Ugandan woman named Eva the hard questions about AIDS in Africa. “This is catastrophic! Why don’t people talk about AIDS over here?”

She spoke calmly, explaining that their culture had deep roots in polygamy. In modern times, that translated to promiscuity—almost a male “right.” On top of that, women in Africa are far more dependent on men. “In your country, women are independent,” she said. “If a man puts sexual pressure on a woman, she can say ‘No.’ But here in Africa, if a young woman goes to work and her boss imposes on her—to refuse is the equivalence of anarchy.” In other words, she stands to lose everything. So men get AIDS and expose others, including their wives.

At the time, great efforts to stem the tide were already underway in Uganda. HIV rates had reached epidemic proportions in the 80s, but declined in the 90s due to a government campaign called “ABC”—Abstinence, Be faithful, or Condoms. Reports showed that promoting abstinence and monogamy were most essential in reversing the devastating spread of AIDS.

But cultural changes are not that easy.

An agonizing and premature death provided a severe enough consequence. However, increased condom use reduced the fear of HIV. Antiretroviral drugs from the U.S. also changed the perception of AIDS from a death sentence to a treatable, manageable disease. Both solutions brought unintended results—risky behavior returned.

Now ten years later, how could I explain God’s reasons for purity to fifty girls approaching womanhood? Was it an exercise in futility—like trying to wade across the mighty current of the Nile? Why even get my feet wet?

Well, apparently God hadn’t given up. One night as I slept in a hotel in Jinja town, I had an amazing dream. In the night vision, I stood inside an ancient cave dwelling where people told stories through pictures, drawing them on the walls for future generations. The above sketch shows the gist of it, though I added the words later. The stick-figure message seemed like a warning about an age-old story of the human condition. The pictures showed an obvious progression: To live outside of God’s plan for monogamy, leads to a culture where women are raising children alone, or worse—children are abandoned or orphaned.

This is not just an African story.

It’s true all over the world, even in educated and prosperous countries like ours.

I used this dream as the basis for a talk with the girls. I told them what author, Fran Sciacca, said: that in high school, boys play with love, because what they really want is sex. Girls in turn play with sex, because what they really want is love. So who gets hurt in the end? Who ends up with the baby? Or does the baby end up alone?

Truth is best understood through story. So I illustrated my point with, The Parable of the Second-Hand Table:

There once was a woman who owned a furniture store. A man came in one day. She saw him eyeing a beautiful drop-leaf table. He asked her the price. “A hundred dollars,” she replied. He tried to barter with her, saying it had a scratch across the top. He held out a ten-dollar bill. She didn’t change the price. He pointed out that the finish had worn thin and needed work. He said he would only pay $25—his best and final offer. The woman thought about it and decided to change the price. The man’s face brightened. But she surprised him, saying she’d only sell it for a thousand dollars! He told her she was absolutely crazy and left the store. But later that day, he returned to give her the full amount. He paid much more because the woman knew what it was worth.

So the question is: How did he treat the table when he took it home—as if it was worth nothing? Or worth a lot?

I said to the girls: Do you know that you’re worth a lot to God? You’re His beloved daughters, children of the Most High God! He wants boys and men to value you, the same way He values them.

It all comes down to what you believe about yourself.

As Margaret Thatcher once said—Watch your thoughts, because thoughts become words. Watch your words because they lead to your actions. Watch your actions because they become your habits. And your habits form your character, and your character determines your destiny. 

They lined up to hug me as they left the classroom. Some have written me long letters, but time will tell if a seed was planted that day.

I’m convinced that the only way to counter a culture of polygamy, promiscuity, adultery and poverty is to plant a Kingdom Culture in the hearts of the youth. Government campaigns, condoms, and severe consequences are not enough. Apart from God, there is no hope. But He, alone, is powerful enough to bring about a lasting change, and His solutions have no unintended results.



  1. I too am a teacher of a different kind, I teach high school. breaking it down to the essentials is the only effective way to begin understanding. you did a wonderful job. perhaps you could make a picture book on cloth or canvas that could be opened like a scroll, so that the girls who leave, could in turn take your pictures, stick people and all, and then share the lesson in their own communities when they leave you. just an idea. love,janet

  2. margaret thatcher is as wise as they come, yeah? (yeah? sounds like skeets? yeah? !!)
    suzee B

  3. Kate Forrest wrote:
    “God doesn’t say don’t desire… He says desire MORE!
    Your table illustration was one that I heard in my early teens (over 25 years ago) and I never forgot it. I am so glad you could speak Truth to those young women!”
    He is good!