If you were to ask me (and I know that some of you are wondering) what I have been doing for these first few weeks here in Uganda, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It has been one thing after the other since arriving. I am usually not at a loss for words, but I am having difficulty writing about all that has been going on here. I am not sure why…there’s plenty to say! But I think that the Lord has me in a very contemplative season, so bear with me.
If you keep up with Facebook and Instagram, you have probably had a bit of an idea what I have been up to! Multiple kids sick with malaria and other infections, treating those in the Arise Africa family, and going out into the community to provide some medical relief to those who are far from it. I have been to Mbale with little Shaluwah and her mother (Shaluwah has hydrocephalus, and due to the generous support of so many, she was able to have the surgery she needed) and I have been to Kampala (which was an adventure in itself); I have celebrated my friend Dacia’s return to Uganda and my 31st birthday with great friends. I have braved authentic Ugandan restaurants and survived many boda boda rides (motorcycle taxis). I have been overjoyed to see our babies laughing and playing at the home, and heartbroken when they have been sick and hurt. I have been thrilled to see how Arise Africa is making a difference in the lives of so many-and completely overwhelmed at the job that lies before me. My emotions have been as raw and unpredictable as the orange Ugandan roads. But one thing remains constant-the peace and comfort that He brings when we submit to His will.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” ~John 14:27
Last Sunday, I was working on planning for the upcoming year and began to feel so overwhelmed at the job God has given to me. I have more than once asked Him why he chose me for this ; so often I have felt inadequate and ill equipped. But one thing that being in Uganda has shown me, is that I am inadequate and ill equipped! I am a regular girl from the US-doing life there and being a nurse there is what I know. Doing life here and being a nurse here-now that is a different story! From cultural challenges and language barriers to lack of resources and limited finances-I have definitely landed in another world. I am so far from home and from the comfortable. But once God allowed me to see how absolutely impossible (and ridiculous) it would be to try to do this work without being completely desperate for Him, and how much He wants to do the impossible and improbable through me, it started to make sense.
I read in Mark chapter 4, when Jesus told the parable of the sower-you have heard it I am sure-The sower went out sowing his seeds, and some fell on fertile soil, others fell on rocky soil, still others were snatched away by the birds. Some took root and grew while others were scorched by the sun. And then Jesus explained what his purpose was in telling that story to them: Different people are like different soils…some are soft and fertile, ready for the gospel message. Others are hard and rocky, preventing it from taking root. Still others are at risk of Satan snatching away the message from them through distraction, disbelief, etc. But the truth for us is, we are responsible to sow the seeds. Through whatever means he has called us to. For me, it is through caring for the poor, sick, and orphaned. I am only responsible for what He calls me to. I cannot measure my success by those who receive or reject the Message, because I do not know what their soil is like! It reminds me of something that Pastor Jimmy at Journey always said: “When you surrender the work that God has for you to do, then you are no longer responsible for the outcome.” We spread the seeds of love, compassion, and the gospel message, but we rely wholly and completely on the Holy Spirit to prepare and cultivate their soil.
This perspective change was what I needed to move forward in ministry planning. It allows me to step out in faith and “dream big” because after all, they are God’s dreams, not mine. It allows me to set goals that seem unattainable because they are His goals, not mine. It allows me to continue to hand this work back to Him because this is His work, not mine. And it requires me to be completely in tune with His heart and desperate for His guidance…because He has called me to do this in His strength not mine. And His strength is perfect-it is more than enough.