Melembe (hello) everyone!
Welcome to the life of Melanie as expressed in these short blogs! I have decided it's past time to start publicly documenting my journey to a ministry in Africa. With this in mind, let me fill you in on what I've been thinking and pursuing lately....
Anna Beth (my friend from Moody) and I were talking tonight about how we think about ourselves. We both are American, but we have an intense love for the African people, and in many ways think of ourselves as African. Anna Beth said it this way: "I feel like I'm covered in vanilla frosting with chocolate vanilla marble cake underneath." Since she's an MK with both American and African influences, I think this is pretty accurate! I told her I think I'm more vanilla frosting with caramel cake that desperately wants to be chocolate. :)
My whole memorable life I've wanted to not only move to Africa, but BE African too. I think essentially this means I desire to be accepted and loved by Africans as one of their own, and yet I also know this is highly unlikely to happen the way I imagine. Like it or not, I am American. My thoughts and perspectives will continue to be colored by my American heritage, yet I also desire to understand and appreciate my African people too. This is where I get my self-claimed title: African Muzungu. Muzungu means white person, or foreigner in Luganda, and that is what I am. A white. But not just a white. I am an African white! This is my prayer, that like Paul, I may be all things to all people (especially those I'm ministering to in Uganda). I pray He will use and bless all of the details He fashioned in me since my birth. Whether it be my western upbringing, or my affinity for cultures, I know He has a design for everything. Now it's my turn to offer up all that I am and all that I love for His work and glory.
Now for the news! I have applied to be a missionary with Commission to Every Nation (CTEN), a missions agency that partners with other organizations around the world in spreading the gospel. I am working on plans right now to travel to southeastern Uganda in early 2010 to work with an organization called Deywa. As a Child Development Officer with Deywa, I would be concentrating on finding practical means and programs to address the needs of orphans, widows, and at-risk children in Uganda and Sudan. This might include music and drama programs in the schools, hygienic programs in the villages, and house visitations. You might be asking, "where does your music fit into this?" Answer: I have no idea. :) I really don't know exactly what the Lord intends to do with my gift for piano, but I have every confidence that He will provide just the right opportunities when He sees fit.
All of the details are still a bit hazy, and nothing is definite right now. I am waiting to be officially accepted to CTEN, and I have already recieved a formal invitation from Deywa. This is the direction the Lord seems to be leading me in for now, but it is still very much open to change. All of your prayers for wisdom, guidance and PATIENCE would be so greatly appreciated! I still have a month and a half left before I graduate, and I must continue to dedicate myself to the task at hand, even though my heart and mind are in Uganda.
As I continue to sort out details with Deywa and CTEN, formulating budgets and deputation details, etc., would you join me in prayer? Would you interceed on my behalf for all of the details that need planning, for my peseverance, and first and foremost that I would keep my eyes set firmly on the Lord, not just His ministry. I recognize that I cannot do this alone, I need each and every one of you. As you pray for me, I too pray for you, that the Lord might pour out His blessing on you and your individual ministries as well!