As Christmas is quickly approaching and our time in Uganda is also drawing to a close, I find my self not wanting to think about leaving. In the short 5 months we’ve been here this place has really become home. Not that it doesn’t have its challenges and frustrations. No, it definitely does and it lacks the convince and comfort that we have in the US. It’s been interesting getting ready for Christmas. (One of my favorite times of the year.) I look outside while listening to the Christmas song let it snow, and I find myself thinking, “Well, the weather sure is frightful just a different kind of frightful. The wind is blowing but it’s blowing dust not snow or rain. And the fire is anything but delightful.” Our decorations are at a minimum, no tree or lights. (Those of you who know me know that I love having a tree and lots of lights!) We don’t have a lot of gifts, and no hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. (if we lived here full time we would have an artificial tree and lights and there would be more Christmas shopping) But it’s actually kind of nice. Christmas is not about the weather, the tree, or the gifts. It’s about Gods gift to man and the redemption that Jesus brought. And this Christmas has been a good reminder of that.
God has given us such a love for these people and this country. I have loved being here with my brothers and sister and getting to know them better. Getting to study Gods word together and just talk about life. We’ve made some great friends and gotten reconnected with old friends. I know I’m called back home in the US for at least a while, and I’m excited to be back home and to see family and friends. I know what an extreme blessing it is to live in the US and in California at that. As much as I am excited for getting back to a 1st world country, I know I will have some reverse culture shock that I will have to work through. The grocery store may be overwhelming with the over abundance of fresh fruit and veggies. Being able to leave my house and in 10 minutes have bacon in my hand might bring tears of joy to my eyes. (And I’ve only been gone 5 months) The variety that is available, you can choose from hundreds of restaurants and types of food that are within minutes of where you live. We are so blessed. The bumpy red dirt roads, crowded markets, being the minority, lots of open space scattered with small huts, and cattle roaming around have all become the new normal. And it’s completely ok with me. The Lord has taught me so much here. Lessons that I have been learning my whole life and that I know I’m not done learning. Humility, grace, working not for the approval of man but God are just a few of them. I am humbled to have been able to be here for the time God gave. Humbled that he would use me. A missionary is no one extraordinary. No I fact missionaries are quite ordinary with an extraordinary God. A life of missions isn’t something unattainable. It is just living your life in a different country. You should be living with the same heart and values in the US as you would on the mission field. A lot has changed since I left, and things will continue to change because that’s life. I know the lord has more to teach me in Nepal and then in the US as we go home. I will be tested in contentment in times of want and plenty. I will be tempted to become bitter when people from the Orange County/LA bubble just don’t get it. Just as I have been tempted when people here don’t get it. I guess what I’m saying is that the lessons I’m learning might not change much just the situations in which I am learning them. I don’t know what God has up next for me, but I trust Him! I know He is faithful and He loves me. Even though I worry and fret at times he still loves me and forgives me! Following Jesus full heartedly sometimes feels like it will be a boring life of dos and don’ts, and that you will have to sacrifice too much. In reality it’s a life of adventure, not that it doesn’t have its moments of monotony. It certainly does but even times where life is slow are a time for growth and learning. Sacrifice is involved but I find when I sacrifice I really feel like I get so much more in return for the little I have given up. For those of you who have stuck with me through this long post, thanks for letting me write out my thoughts! 🙂
Now for a few updates from the past week. Mary our Tetanus patient is up and walking the halls with a walker. She is still very stiff, but can eat normal food now and has been out of bed playing most of the day! Thank you all for the prayers for this girl. We are so blessed to see her recover. All the premature babies are home. Our 29 weeker went home Monday, keep praying that she will grow and start eating well. Baby Heather came in for a check up also on Monday and has gained more weight. It was such a blessing to have all this happy news after having the baby with severe asphyxia that Heather mentioned in the previous post. As for us, on Friday we were able to do a fun and extremely beautiful hike to Sipi falls on mount Elgon. It was too beautiful to describe and so fun to get out and excercise. Our sister Lydia and brother Majok got to come with us! Tuesday we hitched a ride with some friends down to Kamapala. We rode true Ugandan style in a 10 seater van with 14 people. You could say it was a little snug! Thankfully we dropped one person off after a couple hours. We stopped in Jinja for some craft shopping, lunch, and a beautiful boat ride on the Nile. After 13 hours (due to a little car trouble and the Jinja stop) we made it to Kamapala and enjoyed some really yummy Indian food! We were so blessed to be given a ride here and a place to stay with our friends. I got to see Star Wars today which I didn’t think I would get to see in theaters so really God has showered us with blessings. It’s getting late here so I should probably get to sleep, but I pray you all have a blessed Christmas and remember the true reason for the season. Remember to show love and grace. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Display unity in the body of Christ by being of one heart and one mind in a world full of division and pride! Love you all and can’t thank each one of you enough for your prayers.
Here are a few pictures from the hike
We have had all the neighbor kids over a lot since it is Christmas break. The house has been full of noise and laughter and painting. So much fun!
Monday I taught a BLS class
Here is Mary with her walker
Here is a short clip of her walking
Silas and I at his first movie theater experience.
Jinja at source of the Nile.