Monday, December 8, 2014

Long Term Investment

Blog December 1st 2014

I cannot believe how fast the time is slipping out of my hands. To think that I have been back for as long as I was home completely blows my mind. To think of the impact this community has left on my heart. To recognize what the Lord is doing in my life is more than I can even begin to describe. December. A  month of celebration to the goodness of God for sending his only send to die for us. What a huge blessing and a weight that can only be described in one word: selfless.

These last two weeks have been incredibly challenging. The feeling of defeat has crossed my mind several times. Just feeling like I am not useful here or that I am just feeling like the fringe at the end of your favorite shirt. It is a feeling of discouragement.

At the same exact time as we were sitting in the van on our way home from church yesterday.  I was challenged by some of the girls to think about what it is going to be like to return home. That some day at some point I am going to have to say goodbye to this family. At this point I really don’t know how I could ever say goodbye to this community-  I am way too invested at this point and there is no turning back now. I love that I can walk down the red dirt (having not bathed for two or three days so literally looking like a Ugandan) road and be greeted from afar and just visit people homes and invest in lives.      I know I say that phrase a lot…”invest in peoples’ lives”

But really there is no better way to explain it. One of the most valuable things you can give to someone is time.  Interrupted only by other children and village people walking through to greet you.

I don’t know if I will ever be ready to leave.

2 Timothy 1:7English Standard Version (ESV) “ for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

I don’t know why God has given me a love for an age category that I completely did not enjoy. But I LOVE THE YOUTH. I am pretty sure that I spend more time with the youth than I do any other age category here. This weekend we had a youth conference in the village and had over 200 youth in attendance. It was a huge answer to prayer. This is the same youth conference that we had planned for in September but was postponed due to Tonny’s passing. Porsche and I really struggled with this event and there were several times we were just ready to give up but felt like God kept showing up and giving us the phrase ‘fill us up and send us out’ so we had three guest speakers We ended up going out one night earlier than the rest of the team because apparently you have to cook the beans a night before this which we didn’t know. So Porsche, Alex (Village best friend), and I went out there about 5 pm on a rainy afternoon. After one of the longest days ever. We had to take a boda ride a ½ hour into the village because the taxis stop at the town. It was dark by this point not a light to be seen except that od the other bodas and some candles in the town area. We hopped on a boda and the big machines had been working on the roads there was mud EVERYWHERE. Porsche and Tim at one point even fell off because the boda could not make it through the mud. During the freezing cold ride I looked up and saw what was one of the most beautiful nights that I had ever seen. After arriving in the village Porsche had and tim had a meeting and so I had to go with Alex to find water…in the dark. After getting everything situated we realized we didn’t have any firewood and it was late in the night and there was nothing to be done. Needless to say I was done with that day. The four of us prayed that the Lord would protect our hearts from being defeated. The following day.  Food. Games. Worship. And an abundance of God’s goodness. We had one young girl named Sophia give her life to Christ and Porsche and I got to walk her through those steps and praise the Lord for her life at the end of the service.

I have no idea what to write about right now.... How is it that I have so much going on in this life of mine but I have nothing and everything to say.

Giving… Something we absolutely take for granted sometimes. This week we got to spend time as a time as a team and share what we are thankful for. It was a beautiful evening full of so many different cultures: from Uganda, to the UK, to Korea. All different people being able to participate in a special day and just enjoy time in conversation and fellowship that is different to anything else we do here. Thanksgiving. We had a turkey that was only a bit smaller than a chicken, lots of good food though. Homemade stuffing, jello, and even pumpkin roll- that one was a first for me but I will definitely be carrying it to the rest of my Thanksgiving meals. We had the opportunity to share thanksgiving with some of our favorite kiddos from the village. They were so confused why we would make SOO much food on one day but they enjoyed it so much. Not only did they get to experience that but we got to go to the cinema and get ice cream for the very first time. You really take those first moments and experiences for granted and don’t realize how important they are. ;)

As the holidays approaches and people begin to return home I was hit with the feeling of an emotion that I don’t want to lose. There is always a constant flow of people here in and out of the organization for long periods and some for just a short two weeks. As I build these relationships I think to myself ‘Am I becoming callused to the emotion of loving someone completely and accepting them for just who they are?’ As I laid in bed one night battling with that subject I felt a sense of encouragement come over me. That the answer to my question was a BIG no. Not only does God provide for those moments and each relationship, but He has been preparing me for this for my entire life. I think back from when I was seven and we had our first foster child move into our house. That I would have to share my home, my parents, and worst of all my toys… J But not only was I so excited to have a temporary sister I was always more excited to see them go on to a better and bigger situation. Not realizing then that he was getting me ready for a greater task at hand loving these volunteers and being used by God to encourage them as they are in a transition period of their lives in most cases. One of the most beautiful parts of being a volunteer coordinator is being there through every stage. Watching these young people come and learn so much about Christ. Not having any clues what is next for them. Almost all of the volunteers I have seen come through have some plan that has come together since being here.

Today was a surreal day. I went through all of my suitcases and re packed them with the things that I am going to be taking home. Just to think next time this week I will be waking up in my own bed and writing a blog from the other side of the world. Excited to be used as a vessel for Christ. If any of you know any volunteer work that I could be involved in please let me know! I am really hoping to make it to the cancer ward at children’s in Seattle. So ready to share what God is doing in my life!

One week. ☆