Saturday, December 24, 2016

Whirlwind

What a whirlwind of a month! In anticipation of my move to Kamonkoli in January, I knew that I needed to be in Uganda these weeks, and boy have these weeks been full! Here’s some of the highlights of what I’ve been up too…


Time in the office after coming back gave me the chance to brainstorm and plan out some of the media projects we will use in fundraising next year. Our school fundraising video for this year has done well. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it now!


Andrew loved being a part of the video, and has come asking me several times this year if he’s going to be in the next one too! :) I will definitely be looking forward to introducing you to more of the kids that have stolen my heart, and I hope will steal yours too :)


I’ve also had the joy of multiple deep, genuine conversations with several dear ones here. Each time one of them trusts me enough to be open with their pain, joys, and innermost thoughts I am amazed again. Ugandan culture as a whole is so guarded with personal information. There is such rampant “Lugambo” or gossip here, that it’s hard to find someone you trust enough to share things that really impact your heart. Each time one of these dear people makes the decision to trust and confide in me, I know it is a work of the Spirit! I so treasure the opportunity to listen to their hearts and speak whatever truth Jesus gives me for them. I know that it’s often in the context of these deep relationships that change and healing take place. Pray for us, would you? I know I need change and healing just as much as they do, and in the beauty of Jesus’s ways I know that He can bring it to us through one another.



One of our partners, Orphans Heart had a team out here and hosted not only a day long women’s retreat but also a Christmas party for over 2,000 children in the village!

It was a crazy wonderful day that had been much anticipated by kids from all the surrounding villages. The promise of a tasty lunch and lots of fun to be had is certainly a major draw for everyone within walking distance!
One of the fun parts for me was helping cut the 20 twelve inch cakes into over 2,000 pieces. If you’re thinking American slices, obviously that’s not possible… but the kids were more than happy with their small square of cake and icing. They also enjoyed the lesson, crafts, small gift bags…and dance off!




The same week, we closed out our 6th school year at Genesis school with handing out report cards, final instructions for the kids and a gift of a plate and cup for the top students in each class. I’ll miss these kids like crazy until school starts again in late January! Until then though, I’ve got lots to do preparing for the coming year while at the same time moving!!



And this past week was full of starting to pack, getting things ready for a yard sale (a perk of living in equatorial Africa is having outdoor sales in mid-December :)), and hosting a Christmas party at my house for my coworkers at HUM! I loved having them over for cake, presents, and “christmas shopping” through a lot of the things I wanted to give out as I’m downsizing.


Yet again, I found myself saying goodbye to another dear friend. Callie has been my friend and faithful housemate these past 3 1/2 years but Jesus is moving her into another exciting season of life! She will be marrying her fiancĂ©, George, in the States in January. Callie’s written some about their journey here. I’ve loved being a part of their lives as their relationship has progressed and am thrilled for them. But I’m also not very thrilled about having to say goodbye.

                                                  photo credit: Hannah Elizabeth Photography


When I went through orientation before moving to Africa, they taught us how important saying goodbye well is for a missionary…probably because we have to do it so often. It seems like it would be so much easier just to bury my head in work and not think about it. Pretend like it doesn’t impact me. But each and every goodbye does hurt. Even when the words are so common they almost seem route…”stay in touch,” “I’m gonna miss you,” “It’s been great,” “Can’t wait for heaven, and more more goodbyes.” Still the pain of those goodbyes will push through my busyness and distractions and remind me again to grieve.


I know January also holds another goodbye. Goodbye to the house I’ve called home for 3 years. That’s the longest I’ve stayed in one place since high school. I know all my Colorado Springs military friends will understand that challenge. As much as I’m excited and looking forward to a new season of life in Kamonkoli, there’s also a degree of loss in changing seasons.



But word has gotten out in the village that I’ll be “shifting” there soon, and everyone seems really excited. I’m still praying for funds to come in for the house where I and 2 other girls will be living. So far, we’re about 23% of the way there! Once we have enough to begin building, it will take about 3 months for construction to be finished. In the mean time, we’ve found a couple possibilities for places for me to stay in the waiting. Our biggest challenge has been deciding how to store all the furniture and appliances from my current house until my new house is finished. Safe storage space tends to be pretty limited here :) I’m confident that we’ll have a good solution when the time comes. With so much change and transition in these past few months and the months to come, I know I will be so ready and excited to move into the new house when it’s done! I’ve learned that feeling settled in is a luxury in Uganda. It’s one I definitely long for and miss, but also one that I’m willing to sacrifice for the sake of those long conversations, joyous interactions, and hugs from my kiddos. This life certainly isn’t easy, but boy is it fulfilling!


In this Christmas season, I’ve been thinking a lot about how Jesus left everything He had (family, home, control, safety, consistency, etc) in order to come be one of us. That momentous moment in small stable when the King of Kings became poor for my sake. He sacrificed it all so that He could be with me. Oh how I long to not take that for granted. The way I do most days.


And how I also long to do the same. To be not only willing, but also actively pursue sacrificing whatever I hold dear in order to bring the truth and light of Jesus’s presence to my people. Writing this from the States where I’m soaking up Christmas with my family before my brother’s wedding on the 30th definitely brings the sting of the sacrifice home. I know that in 10 short days I’ll be leaving them again. But I know the pain of the gift is what makes it so valuable. I remember when David bought the field from Araunah in 2 Samuel saying, “I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing." So whatever the cost… the goodbyes, the constant change, missing my nephew’s childhoods, distance from my family, the physical comforts…I will count them all as a appropriate price for the joy of obedience. I know that my greatest reward will be seeing my people enter more deeply into the presence and friendship of Jesus.


And that is exactly my prayer for each one of you too. Whether in the daily grind, or the festivities of the season, may you know and experience communion with Emmanuel in your every moment. Merry Christmas everyone!

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