Uganda: Day 1 on the ground
To wake up under a mosquito net, where the light that is reflecting off the nile river, is illuminating your bedroom. There aren't quite words. Better than I deserve.
Tonight as I sat in the home of someone who has made this place a sort of famous, I was very reminded that I was among young men and women who have abandoned their lives for the call of Christ. Some who left their American dream. Others who are losing their British accent because they've been gone so long and still another who when asked about her leaving this sweet Uganda one day simply says 'I'm here indefinitely; until the Lord calls me elsewhere.' Oh my. Can't help but feel like I'm being steeped in the Lord's goodness.
As we sat and studied 1 Corinthians, we were all a bit freckly from the Ugandan sun, but refreshed by the cool of the evening - I was blessed to watch a little man. Maybe 8 or 9 years old at best, he was sitting at a kitchen table made for at least 15, dwarfed by both its size and his sickness. Though we've spent our morning at homes where babies are nursed to life and where disabled children find family, I'm not sure I have seen a child as weak and thin as he was. His arms were merely bones covered by skin. Stretched skin at that. It was like something you see in a POYi contest. Surreal.
During bible study I listened to what Paul had to say about the wisdom of the Lord, my eyes continually drifted to that little man. Who received his medicine from a large syringe inserted into his wrist without even a peep while we sat and sang Come Thou Fount. And Hosanna - my favorites. Who gets to live because a young woman answered the call of the Lord on her life. Gets to live. Let that sink in deep. Gets to breathe. Gets to eat once more. Gets to stand up and walk. Because of the kindness of a young woman.
To stand and witness the loving of our neighbor as Christ would have wished it. To be able to observe. To be able to offer up images of the truth of Ugandan life - oh what a gift. The use of my gifts while I'm here will never match the gifts I've received in just my first 24 hours on the ground.
Fear isn't from the Lord, but this trip sure is.
Last Sunday in the states, I stood before the church as they prayed and shook like a leaf at the trip I was about to leave my life for. Shook like a leaf. Every part of my body twitched. Two weeks, folks. Felt like two years in my mind. I began a business in my teens and run fearfully, full-force into every project I start, but I stood mentally dwarfed by the fact that I would be away from my desk for two weeks. The desk I've spent two and a half years diligently sitting behind. I cried on Skype to my dear friend instead of answering the, 'how was your day' question before me. Oh my.
I can tell you after a full 48 hours on this orange soil, that at my desk isn't where I was meant to spend these two weeks. So much is changing. For those of you who know me well, I watched a child throw up today. I still had to fight my severe flight nature, but I survived. That makes two kids I've watched throw up in the last month. My gracious. From the Lord. I made pictures of babies joyfully partaking in their rice and beans. Looked into little faces who have no parents; who need the love and support and sacrifice of the people who care for them or they would be dead. The lives of strangers offered up to serve the least of these - to save their little lives. The least of these who are made in the image of God, just as you and I were. Please excuse my untoned, straight from my camera images, but I wanted to share the month-old, 6 pound baby we held and a another of the sweets face we've spent time with.
I'm here to warn you. Don't ever sit on the posh beach in the Miami area and pray for the Lord to break your heart for what breaks His, for Him to teach you what prayer is and for Him to give you opportunity to cling to Him like it's all you've got. He'll far exceed your expectation. Every. Single. Time.
That's where I was a short two months ago - reading about the town I'll walk the streets of in the morning. Reading about the folks here who love orphans like it's the only thing they'll ever be interested in doing. God'll wreck ya. And he'll teach you to raise your standards, expect the un-expectable and put you on a plane to a place that'll make you shake and cry and worry. God is good.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29