Monday, April 29, 2013

My calling is no less sure... just more painful.

Good grief! Where is the time going?! I'm really enjoying being here in the States. Probably too much. I'm going to find it really hard to head back in a few weeks. I'm afraid I'm getting too comfortable, enjoying these comforts, food, good internet, easy travel.... I wish the urgency, the calling, the necessity of being in Uganda was more strongly felt.  Already, the thought of all the goodbyes is enough to wreck me. Had to say goodbye already to my brother, and his wife and kids as they headed back to Pennsylvania. The thought of several more years before I see them again makes me cry even as I type this. My calling to Uganda is no less sure in these times. Just a lot more painful.
Yesterday I read:  
You can’t fully experience, enter into, own, gain victory over, or learn from what you refuse to name.
So today I'm trying to name it. Grief, I guess. Grieving the stuff I don't get to enjoy when I'm in Uganda. Like food, entertainment and creature comforts. I don't like that I'm so shallow but it is the truth. Grief also that I'm not a big part of the lives of my family and friends. I hate being so far away and not knowing what it going on with them. I hate goodbyes because they are so long in between. It will most likely be two, maybe more years before I'm back.  There is a lot of life that happens in that much time.

I also hate that I'm here for six more weeks but I'm already dealing with it. The countdown seems permanently in the back of my mind. Wondering, will I do this again before I go or is this the last time?  Will I see this person again or should be say bye now? Should I be doing more in the limited time I have? Am I already trying to do too much?

So now I've named it. Hopefully I can learn from it... Do you have anything you need to name?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Talking about Uganda

9 speaking engagements last week (including Sunday). Feeling excessively tired today and out of words...
Ministry Fair
My natural predisposition is to introversion and reticence. I can overcome it easily, possibly too well, but I think I won't be talking too much today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"How are you doing?"

So, how am I doing? I get asked a lot lately. In Uganda, for mental and spiritual health, we ask each other often and expect that the answer won't be "fine" but that we actually consider and answer honestly. Here, I get asked but haven't slowed down enough to answer well. But I don't think anyone does. However, I've tried to pause today....

Isaiah Yoder
I'm genuinely enjoying being here in the states. I was taking care of my 3 year old nephew and 4 month old niece for two weeks. Also taking care of the son of some good friends who were in the hospital giving birth to their second child. (Congratulations Levi & Shannon!)  For the first time in my life I could actually picture myself being a mother.
Meeting his new brother.
Helping me make dinner
I'm also really enjoying doing a bit of wedding stuff with my brother Nick's finance, Katie.  And helping him undo his house from the bachelor pad condition that it has been in for 3 years now.

I'm comfortable and content and a bit afraid of it. I'm possibly too comfortable. I'm loving all my modern conveniences and how easy life is. I love being so close to family and knowing exactly what is going on in their lives.  I love how simple it is to make meals, to get on the internet, to figure out where I'm going and get there on time, how nice it is to speak the same language as everyone I come in contact with, I love than I can have a different fruit or vegetable every day of the week, .... this list could go on and on. So, how am I doing? I'm doing very well and trying not to think of heading back to Uganda quite yet....

I got my work permit!!

Wow, time is flying by. I head back to Uganda in 8 weeks! I found out last week that I've received my much needed work permit which will allow me to work for three years! Thank you everyone who was praying that the needed paperwork would be accepted.  Thank you Lord for providing!!

While here in Michigan, I have several times left that I'll be sharing pictures and talking about what God is doing in Uganda.

  • Saturday, April 20th    Breakfast buffet  9am to 12. Come when you can, leave when you want. 1040 Roger St. NW Grand Rapids  
  • Sunday, April 21st   11am-12pm  Remembrance Church Chapel 
  • Sunday, April 28th  Open house at Remembrance Church. 2pm to 6pm. Come when you can, leave when you want. 
For my friends in other states, I'll keep you posted.   ;-)

Monday, April 1, 2013

In love with Africa. Or Not.

I don't know this woman, or anything about her or which mission organization she is with. I do know she is a missionary in East Africa and resonate so much with this post that I wish I had written it. But I didn't. So I'll share her writing today....
I am not in love with Africa.
Sometimes I hear people say they are in love with Africa, or that they love Africa.
I’m not and I don’t.
If, for a moment, I can lump 47 countries, hundreds of people groups, and more than 2,000 languages into one big clump, I will say that a lot of the time I don’t even like Africa.
Those people who love Africa are, often, those who saw a sunset over the Serengeti, communicated “How are you?” in an accented foreign language, and gave a few coins to begging children and thought these experiences had given them a spiritual awakening.
I have seen thousands of sunsets in Africa (only approximately 8 of those over the Serengeti), communicated a heck of a lot more than “how are you” in a heck of a hard language, and given countless coins to begging children. I’m still waiting for my spiritual awakening.
I take that back.
I’m not waiting. I think I’m in the midst, or throes, of one.
But it isn’t because I saw beauty, crossed language barriers, or called poverty by the names of her children. It is because Africa has brought me to the end of myself and that is where I am meeting Jesus in new ways.
It is because a few years ago a homeless man climbed into my car and gave me directions.
I was downtown Djibouti, lost. Henry was in the backseat. We were looking for the Kenyan Airways office and had passed the statue of Henri Monfreid three times.
“Mom,” Henry said, “you passed the statue of Henri Monfreid three times.”
“I know,” I said. “I can’t find the office.”
There were no street signs or addresses, the telephone number didn’t work and there were no blinking billboards to direct me.
I heard a taptaptap on the window. A man stood there, rapping my window with his cane. He only had a few teeth and his clothes were ragged.
“Madame,” he said, “you passed the statue of Henry Monfreid three times. Where are you going?”
“I’m trying to find the Kenya Airways office,” I said.
“I am the way,” the man shouted and started to open the door. Henry moved over, unsurprised.
“What?” I asked.
“I am the way,” he said and proceeded to direct me to the office.
In three minutes, we pulled up in front of the office. He climbed out and disappeared before I could pay or thank him.
Later, I read John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” and I thought about that man. I thought about the way he climbed into my car and took me to where I was going. He didn’t stand outside and point me in the right direction. He got in with me, he went with me, he took me there.
That’s how Jesus is the way. I’ve read that verse a thousand times and now, thanks to a homeless man, I understood it better. Jesus is the way. He will get into my life, he will go with me, he will take me to my destination.
No, I am not in love with Africa. I am in love with the Jesus I am encountering in Africa.
(Rachel's blog is here.)