“Know this well, then. Take it to heart right now: God is in Heaven above; God is on Earth below. He’s the only God there is.” -Deuteronomy 4:39
Wooh…it’s been a while. Life hit and it hit hard. I’ve had the idea for this blog post for a few months, but I have struggled to find the time to describe everything I have felt and experienced over these last few months. I have sat down multiple times and stared at my computer trying to find the words that capture and do justice to my friends and the work they are doing here. Every time I have come up empty. So here is this post, far from worthy of the love, joy, sadness, heartbreak and everything in between I have experienced here.
God is AMAZING, and the only thing I can really say is that here I’ve found I seem to remain in a constant state of awe and wonder of Him. I’ve had family and friends ask me on many occasions what life is like here. I usually just end up responding with “It’s great.” It’s hard to describe how guilty this answer makes me feel. I wish so very much that I could show all the ones I love back at home why this place has such a tight hold on my heart. Why I am so privileged to stand in wonder of God each and every day. If they knew my friends here, if they heard my coworkers sing, if they saw the breathtaking landscape that stretches from one end of the country to the other, they’d understand it too. I have found God’s unending goodness here more than ever before in my life…even in the moments of pure heartbreak.
I am awed by the perseverance of every Ugandan I have come in contact with. By the beauty God so perfectly created in the landscape of Uganda. By the relentlessness, fearlessness, kindness, and child-like faith of our staff. I know I am not doing my friends and this place justice in describing how truly incredible it all is. I feel like I am downplaying the transformative work our staff is doing. They are changing Uganda each and every day. They constantly share the love of God by fighting for justice and change in our community, reminding me of the stars I witnessed in Kidepo…so many points of light shining in the darkness, you can’t help but marvel at their brightness. I see God in every single one of them. They love Him and each other with the same love that hung His son on the cross: freely, unconditionally, overwhelmingly. I am in awe of them every single day.
The longer I am here, the more normal life becomes. But that is just it…I don’t ever want the things I am experiencing or feeling to ever become normal. I realized this one morning in devotions. I looked around the room at our staff singing; up until that point it felt like another morning. I walked to work, greeted staff, fixed my coffee, spent time in stillness, and then came downstairs for devotions. As the room began to be filled with the sweet sound of their voices singing out in passionate and loving praise to Him, I realized:
Nothing about my life here is normal. Nothing about the work we do is ordinary. And nothing about the God we serve is plain.
And I would never want it to be.
I have stood in wonder of Him so many times in the 7 months I have spent here. Whether it’s watching our team engage with our clients, where so much love and hope can fill the room it flows over everything in reach. Or the picturesque beauty of the landscape at Kidepo National Park, so beautiful only God could have created something that perfect. Or the hearts of my expat friends here, so selfless, kind, and faithful. They do everything from church planting, to educational training, to community empowerment. I have seen His goodness a thousand times over, despite the heartbreak and violence our clients have endured, despite the loss our staff has experienced, despite how difficult life can be here sometimes. There is so much hope here, as our staff sings: Lubanga wani gin ma loyo pe (There is nothing that defeats our God.)…and this is why I am not ready to leave just yet. If you met the ones I love here, you would see why too. So for now, I will stay in this awe and wonder of God for just a little while longer (at least until June 2019 or until He tells me otherwise).
Kuc obed kedi! (Peace be with you!)