Spring is such a great season because everything is new and fresh. All the life that was dried up and squeezed out of everything is being reborn and made new. It has endured through the cold and treacherous winter and is now having the opportunity to see the sun again and have a chance to grow. I want to grow this season, do you?
During these last three month I have been a terrible blogger because I had so much I wanted to say but at the same time there was so much instability that I wasn’t sure what I could say to give you all the pieces that I wanted to give you. I was presented with making a decision and I didn’t know how to process it all. For your sake and mine I just became quiet. I wanted to have such a clear direction of where the Lord was sending me and I wasn’t getting a sense of that in the slightest. In all honesty I don’t think I will for some time either. I am in a refining period where the Lord is surrendering me to the fire and the flame to test my endurance and faithfulness. Where will I put my hope and my strength? Where will I find my sense of belonging and purpose in life? All of these seem like such deep and theological questions that are way out of my comfort zone and all a little bit too wordy.
Let me just give you a little recap….
January I got to spend at home with all of my home town family and friends and just be a part of the ministry that God is doing in Port Orchard. I was blessed with a great job that gave me the flexibility to have mornings with my momma and dinner with my family that same day. Also, I got to spend a lot of time at church and jumping into the ministry that God was working on in my family’s life. I don’t mean to toot my dad’s horn. But I am so excited to be following the leadership of a man that I get to call dad. I am so blessed by his message every Sunday and I am so thankful that I get to keep up with what he is preaching even here in Uganda. And that somehow it almost directly correlates with something that is going on here. It really seriously blows my mind how much I can get out of one sermon of his.
In February I got to go visit the Blair Family and see beautiful Italy. I spent one of the evenings I was there speaking to their Awana group on base and got to share the joy of living and pursuing Christ in Uganda. They were amazed at the place I got to live and had all sorts of questions for me but, in all honesty I wanted to sit at their feet and ask them all about living in Italy and getting to make childhood memories in such an incredible place. One of the families that lived on base ended up being from Everett which was pretty fun. It was such a great reminder that this world that we live in is not all that big. That the Lord provides the right encouragement at the right time to reveal himself to us. How great is that? We serve THAT God. The Blair family was so hospitable and introduced me to true Italian pizza, olive oil, and showed me around some of the sites. I had a delicious breakfast of a cappuccino and pastries in front of a beautiful cathedral. And of course bubbly water. Oh Europe.
Next stop was Scotland to see my roommate from Uganda. I met Laura at the Glasgow airport and I had to actually pinch myself because I felt like I was dreaming. But I wasn’t. I was actually in the flesh. In Scotland. I walked through the city with my head tilted back looking up at all the beautiful architecture and realized how boring we actually are in the states. Everything there had so much beauty and architecture. That evening we stayed in the train station hotel that had a very harry potter esque look to it and I was awestruck. We spent the next couple of days enduring sunshine and snow and touring around Edinburgh and staying in the cutest little snug on the top floor of a red door apartment. I had such an incredible time of just being able to relax and reconnect with someone who had lived in Uganda with me. I was so blessed with the time we spent there and I cannot wait to go again.
Valentine’s day I hopped on a train and said goodbye and made my way down to Northern England- The Lake District to be a bit more exact. Porsche and her mum met me at the station with flowers. I love flowers. As we drove home I could smell the ripe smell of sheep. The next 6 weeks were spent in ministry with Porsches pastor and family. Travelling to different Primary and secondary schools and sharing about Uganda. Every Wednesday night they had a group of teenagers come to their home to share a meal and have time fellowshipping together. Similar to youth group but in someone’s home so it felt way more personal. We spent the mornings going to prayer meetings or home visits and just sharing what God was doing in our lives. Every time I opened my mouth someone would comment on my accent. It was so fun to be in a place where I had the cool accent.
Porsche and I travelled to London and walked around all of the beautiful sites. We got to meet up with an amazing group of Ugandan women who are living, working, or studying in England. We spent a whole night praying and worshipping together to see the Lord bring revival back to England. We travelled to Oxford to see another friend from Uganda and spent two nights in her flat within the gorgeous old town. We walked past the doorway and lamppost that is meant to have given CS Lewis his inspiration for Narnia. We attended church in a beautiful old cathedral. And again spent time in prayer. Caragh was an incredible host and we got to worship again with her the same way that we had in the little backyard all the way in Uganda. Again, it is so overwhelming to see how the Lord brings people into your life to encourage you and see you grow. I would have never met people like Caragh and Laura and Porsche if I had not followed the Lords calling to Uganda in my life. Then it was off to Hungary for Porsche and I. We got to spend the better half of a week in Budapest with yet another friend that we had made in Uganda. It was such a beautiful place. To be honest I do not think it would have ever been a place on my radar to visit if I had not met this friend of ours. Again these architects must be doing something right because EVERYTHING is absolutely breathtaking. All the detail that goes into one building. Even if just the molding around the top of the building had so much detail. Your brain does not even know where to focus. Now one thing I will say throughout my travels I learned so much about prayer and the importance of it and that it is always necessary at every moment of every day. When we landed we got out of the terminal and the first thing we did was stop and thanked the Lord. That is so how I want to be known and how I want to live my life. There was one fellowship that we got to attend that was an 8 hour worship session in Hungarian. At first it was a bit overwhelming and I didn’t know if I would be able to be sustained for the whole fellowship. But the Lord was so present and so faithful. Porsche and I recognized a few of the songs that we sang and sang the English version alongside the Hungarian version. We got to see all denominations come together just for the sake of surrendering all to the Lord and giving Him all the praise he deserves
That is just a little recap of what the last few months have held.
As I got on a plane to come back to Uganda I really had to seek the Lord and ask for strength and direction. It is so easy for us to lead with our hearts. I wanted to listen for the groanings of the Holy Spirit.
The elections in Uganda were a lot smoother than they had anticipated and thankfully there wasn’t too much disruption in the country. All of your prayers were and are so greatly appreciated. Uganda is such a beautiful place filled with some amazing people that I get to call family. There is something so rich about this country. Rich in life and love and joy. Something that we could use a lot more of. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be serving back in this place that is so full of Gods face. The sunshine has been ridiculously bright lately and therefore has been a lot more humid than I remember. It’s a full house being back and we have volunteers from Ireland, Australia, America, and England! It is so fun to have such a diverse group here.
My first week back I went to find some chocolate cake. As many of you have probably already heard I got into a little tussle with some gravel and a boda (motorbike). I got my knee scraped up pretty good but I am very okay. We are in the healing process still and it is beginning to itch so much. I am constantly finding myself sitting in meetings or at projects just itching my kneecap. It’s the left one in case you want to add it to your prayer list.
I have dove head first into going to projects with the rest of the team and just pouring into the ministry side of things. Last week we planted grass. Yes. Grass. Barefoot in the hot sun with some music and a hoe and got six blisters. Blisters that I am oh so thankful for. I have found a new love for manual labor. For those of you have come to Uganda you can totally vouch that it has not been a strong suit of mine. But how the Lord has made something new in this girl of his.
Let me just brag on the amazing team that we have on ground right now. It seems that is in every moment of everyday we are always challenging each other on things that God is working on in our lives and I have been absolutely and completely challenged by each one of them. It is so fun to have some of our core group still the same: Lindy, Porsche, Anna, and Kelsey. Reuniting with them has been pure bliss to be able to look forward to what God is going to do in this new season. I also have a sweet roommate from Australia that is such a gem. But unexpectedly have had the blessing to meet another pastors daughter. It’s funny how when you meet someone like that there is just an immediate bond and a connection of “you totally know what it’s like to grow up as a PK” its unspoken but there is a connection there for sure. We have had several spontaneous worship and devotion nights and have been able to really allow the spirit to work in ways that are so beautiful to be a part of.
I have read several books since I have been back and I totally want to share them with you. If you are looking for something that will challenge your faith and make you want to step out of your comfort zone and make yourself aware of what God wants to do in your life than these are the books for you:
The first one is called Scary Close and Ican honestly say that it may very well be one of my most favorite books ever written. Written by Donald Miller it is a book all about relationships and getting off of the stage of life and be you. That people want to love you for who you are and love without boundaries. Stop hiding behind the hurt and the guilt and love relentlessly like Christ has called us to. Its all about finding real and true intimacy in all of our relationships.
The second one that has really stood out to me it called Lets All Be Brave by Annie Downs a book about living life to the fullest and really being brave in whatever the Lord has called you to. Whether it is to move across the street or around the globe. Be brave in what he is convicting you of. To stand up and stand out for your faith and where your heart on your sleeve and see the name of the Lord be preached in all areas of the earth.
Both books are incredible and have been so challenging in my walk as I have come back to Uganda. I am so expectant to see what is in store for these next couple months before I come home for Megan’s wedding. It has been so fun to wedding plan from a distance and I cannot wait to spend a couple weeks with her before she says I do to the man of her dreams.
To all of those who are still with me on this post as you can tell there is so much going on and so many new and exciting things that God is doing in my life. What tomorrow looks like, I do not know. But I DO know that I am HERE today and that I am going to serve the Lord with my whole heart and stand firm in every conviction that the Lord has given to me. I want to see his name praised. I want to encourage. Mentor. Teach. Learn. Seek Him more. See Him more.
And I want to grow.