Saturday, July 26, 2014

why i'm leaving uganda...

well, this is a post i never, ever ever planned to write. like ever, but i'm pretty sure that's kind of how God works.

i can sing and state "His will, not my own" but when it all shakes out i still honestly hold out hope that "my" will and His will match up. sometimes, they do. but sometimes, they don't.

when i announced my "move" to Uganda, i planned to move. my plan was to stay until November, go home for Christmas, and move back indefinitely in January of 2015. it seemed like a perfect plan, i felt [at the time] that this was God's will for me and that it was what would happen.

i came thinking i would be making this my home. my indefinite, forever and ever home.

but, sometimes God's plans aren't always our own. sometimes, His plans are mind blowing and make you want to, with everything in you, resist. because sometimes what God sees fit is not at all what you saw fit for your life.

the two weeks leading up to my move to Uganda were stressful beyond belief. it was spent finding plans had fallen through, finding broken situations, and realizing how incapable i am. i was shaken and knew that God had something else in the works. i thought that maybe this wasn't His final plan after all. but i still packed everything and headed to uganda according to plan.

once in uganda, God continued to work on my heart. He continued to reveal needs to me that I had no idea about before. He broke my heart for what broke His and brought me to a new understanding. God transformed how I saw the world within a few days of being in this land.

I prayed and sought His will for my life and He showed me so clearly time and time again the answer. when the answer came, i came out kicking and screaming. this was not my plan. not my want. and certainly not the lifestyle i pictured. yet, at the end of the day my loyalties lie at the feet of Jesus and trusting that His plan for my life is so much better than my own.

His plan you ask?


in this country, education is the key to everything. it is a door opener and it is a world changer. it is the key to everything i would like to do. if i want to make a difference in uganda or anywhere else in the world, an education is crucial.

i never want my only qualification to be "professional baby holder" because to be honest, a Ugandan can hold a baby and therefore i'd be completely useless.

i want God to use me in every way and in all of my talents.

if i come to this land with no prior education or anything to help educate and empower these people, i'm doing no good.

i've had quite a few people confused.
"why do you need an education there?" they ask
and this is the only way i know how to answer,

the people of uganda deserve the best. they deserve better than an 18 year old girl with nothing but high school and google to help empower them. they deserve someone that can teach and train them. they deserve the best. not "good enough" or simply ok. i would be crazy to think i could teach a class, preach a sermon, or train others in therapy for children in the states if i didn't have recommendations, a college degree, volunteer hours, and previous experience. so why should uganda be any different?

coming to terms that i have to leave where my soul loves for this new season is hard. so hard. but this time in uganda has been a season, too. the season ahead is one that i feel God has called me to and is absolutely necessary for my future and my future in uganda or wherever He may call me. it may not be the season i planned, but i am slowly learning that God's plans aren't really affected by my own. and i find myself more thankful everyday for what the future holds and for this land that i have been able to call home for a short time.

this is by no means the end to my ministry or to missions. this is simply a step in the process. it just means it will take a few more years and a lot of summer trips in between. it is just a stepping stone + i've come to realize through all this that i still have so much ahead. and i'm anxious to see where God leads me on this journey.

so here begins my most unexpected adventure yet…


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

in Uganda

while i've only called Uganda "home" for eight short weeks, the honeymoon phase ended about two days after my dad left + reality sank in rather quickly. life here has become quite sweet, but please don't think it goes without road bumps. life is much more than an instagram post, + hopefully this post gives you a little insight. 

In Uganda...
if you wanna get anywhere, you better get real comfortable with a boda [aka motorcycle]
roads are made with potholes in them and they are as fun as they sound on a makeshift motorcycle.
where cheese is non-existent 
people use the phrase "it is okay" or "it is not okay" instead of a simple "yes" or "no" 
where your night guard is your closest friend + a compound is the norm. 
joy is abounding, but so is grief and poverty.
where not having power for 5 hours in one day is totally normal + if the power doesn't go out for an entire week..wait that doesn't happen. 
where the color of my skin makes people daily ask me for money + make me pay more for everything from a boda ride to a necklace.
the thought of rain is exciting + miserable all at the same time. 
where you realize not having A/C isn't so bad after all + also realize that 65 degrees outside IS cold enough for a jacket.

where you experience the most heartbreaking things + also the most joyful and sometimes it happens all in one day.
the color of my skin also means i'm a modern day celebrity anytime i enter a village, my dirt road [that i walk down 4+ times a day] and anywhere else for that matter.
where i am no longer a name, but simply a "mzungu"
where chaos surrounds me and days are never, ever easy.
where death is a way of life.
where the need is sometimes so overwhelming that you almost lose hope…. almost.
but then you realize you were made for a time such as this and that in Uganda isn't so bad after all, it's actually the greatest blessing/experience of your life. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

walking home

every day during my lunch break and after work is over, i walk back to my house. it's not a long walk and usually takes no more than 10 minutes (and we don't walk fast)

most days we are greeted by kids in our village yelling "muzungu! muzungubai!" and hugging us. it's usually one of my very favorite parts of my day. the kids always hug me, hold my hand and i get to talk to them about their day. slowly, but surely i am learning their names + their stories. it's the best thing to watch it unfold.

today was a rainy day. which is not really normal saying it's "dry season". we also did not have power for a good portion of today and it was cold. like i had to put on a jacket in the middle of uganda cold. yeah, not the happiest feeling for a day. anyways, on our walk home from work today we met a new group of kids. mostly boys and mostly older (think 6-12 years)

it didn't seem too out of the ordinary to have kids running up to us, but today was different indeed. today, these kids were pretending to be us (aka muzungus) and how did they greet us? with toy and pretend cameras in our face. they were talking to us saying "smile" and "muzungu look!" they were "taking photos", "videoing" us, and asking us to pose and dance for them.

while the kids thought it was incredibly funny and i found the kids to be really sweet, i also found this situation rather sad.

i don't want the people of uganda or the children to ever look at me and just see a photo-taking-muzungu. that is not my goal. it deeply bothered me that when these kids see us "muzungus" all they see is a camera. or at least, that's how it was for these kids.

that's just not ok.

when these kids see me, i want them to see jesus. i don't ever want a child to wake up thinking about a white girl that only takes their photos and invades their privacy. i don't ever want this ministry or the work in uganda to be about me or muzungus in general. because that's not the point.

i never want to be get so caught up trying to capture a moment that i miss the moment. 

and i am the absolute worst. i love photos. i take too many pictures and love capturing little moments and posing with cute kids in cute moments, but i'm going to take a step back. i plan to reevaluate and not focus so much on capturing photos but instead on relationships.

it has become so common to make our goals "the perfect photo" or to "make sure i look good" instead of not caring what photo you get, but instead what life you change or what friendship you make. i've seen it happen so often in the time i've been here and even in the states. it's heartbreaking to watch and it's even more heartbreaking to know you've participated in it before.

i think it is desperately needed in this day and age of social media, selfies, and everything else. i don't want these kids to remember me by my camera. i never want to get to the point where i only focus on getting "the perfect shot" because that defeats the purpose. i want kids to remember me by my actions and by my love and better yet His love.