It has been one whole year now since I have been serving in Uganda, and what a year it has been. Having just returned from a sweet time with family and friends in the US, I am looking back on what He has done this last year , and looking ahead with anticipation of what is to come .
To describe this past year in two words, I would say that it has been “gloriously challenging”. It has certainly stretched me and taken me to places beyond my comfort zone and even way past what I had imagined I could ever endure. However, the reward is so sweet. I am truly learning what it means to rely on God for every need and in my most desperate moments, I find that He is more than enough. This path of obedience has been so much more than establishing myself as a nurse at Arise Africa and meeting medical and spiritual needs of those that I have come to serve. It has been about establishing myself as willing to go wherever and be whatever he has called me to be. As I have surrendered completely, I have seen that it is only out of the overflow of what He is doing inside of me that I can pour out into ministry. Anything else is nothing more than a humanitarian effort with no eternal impact.
So many things threaten to overwhelm, distract, and discourage. Cultural differences cause misunderstandings. Third world life never ceases to shock your sensibilities. Homesickness leaves you emotional and your white skin alone makes you vulnerable to those who intend to deceive. Without Jesus, this would be enough to send me back to America because “it’s just too hard” or “it’s just not worth it”. But with Jesus it is possible. Cultural boundaries can be broken, third world living stress can change your perspective on true need, homesickness can be managed, and your white skin can open doors to extend grace and the gospel. Because even though it is incredibly hard, He makes it worth it. Every gloriously challenging thing.
It seems the moment came out of nowhere…when I realized I was becoming the work He had called me here for and not merely doing the work. I pressed in and held on for dear life. And one day, it seemed like in an instant, I realized that I found myself truly content. None of the hard stuff was easier, but his grace had proved sufficient. I trusted Him for the rest. I lowered expectations, sought to understand, and begged for wisdom. In that, my soul found rest, and He was finally free to use me as His hands and feet.
That has currently brought me to the place where I am today. I am serving full time in our Babies Home as the nurse and assisting with daily administrations. Health and wellness is my first priority for 57 kids aged 0-13 and all of our staff. Wellness, however, encompasses so many things beyond the physical. Mental and spiritual well being are also essential. I love teaching our kids the Bible and the discussions we have as a result. I love having Bible studies and fellowship with our Aunties, realizing that behavior change that is to be real must occur from the inside out. I also work with all of the short term medical missions teams that come to work with Arise Africa, planning and overseeing the delivery of free healthcare to people in remote villages. The work is overwhelming, but He is faithful. This is the work that He has called me to, and my prayer is that He will find me faithful as He continues to stretch and grow me beyond what I ever thought I could accomplish, and that as a result, He will receive all of the glory!
As I start my second year serving full time here in Uganda, I have had time to fully reassess the actual costs and living expenses. So much of my first year’s budget was an educated guess and was significantly underestimated. I am still requiring additional monthly support, as I currently have about 60% of my monthly requirements being met. I ask for your prayers as God continues to provide. He has already blown me away by providing a very unexpected donation to purchase a vehicle. This will allow me much safer and reliable transportation around town and from Jinja to Bukaleba which is about an hour’s drive each way. I am so incredibly thankful and confident in His provision.
I want to thank all of you for the way you have so generously given to the work that the Lord has called me to here in Uganda. Thank you for allowing and entrusting me to be your extension of His love to the people of this country. I pray that God would bless you richly for the way that you have blessed me, not only financially but with your love, prayers and encouragement. I am so thankful to have such an amazing support team standing behind me, and sending me forth with their blessing. Together we can make a difference for His glory until all peoples have heard the Good News!