Still Calling…

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
– James 1:17 –

It’s hard to believe it has been a little over two years since I returned home. Uganda some days seems so far removed, like a whole different life. And others days, so close I can still hear the sounds of bodas and chickens. Smell the cooking fires burning. See the millions of stars dotting the sky.

Some days I fear that the sweetness of so many of the beautiful memories I carry with me will start to slip away, and I never want to forget. Forget the sound of laughter of my friends, the faces of the ones I love, the person I became or the Glory of the Lord I so vividly witnessed.

Looking back on the last two years, my path has been anything but straight. Over a year ago I surrendered to stay in the states and accepted a Fellowship at JAARS. At the time, it seemed like such a huge sacrifice. I remember crying to my mom before accepting the position knowing that it meant I would be staying at least 1.5 years more here and I have felt that weight each day as I have fought to stay present here as my heart has only wanted to go.

I am grateful for this year and all the beauty, wisdom, and sweet community it has brought. The Lord has changed so much of my heart in these last 11 months, yet at the same time so much of me has remained unchanged.

Recently I had the privilege to spend a week in Clarkston, GA. If you don’t know about Clarkston, let me say this, it is as close to “going to the nations” as you can get without getting on a plane. A town where many Refugees are resettled, there are over 120 people groups living in a town that only covers 1 square mile.

Nepalis, living next to Congolese. Women walking down the street carrying grocery bags on their heads. The sound of Urdu and Arabic filling the streets. I worshipped with Pakistanis and South Sudanese. I heard the sweet sounds of Congolese praising our God in Swahili coming through the walls. I was so beautifully reminded this week of the power and freedom the Gospel carries for all who know and believe its words, but also heartbroken at the lostness and suffering in this world.

Please do not misunderstand me, Clarkston was a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like, but the people who live there are Refugees who have fled and left behind their countries for many different reasons, far removed from the ones they love and the cultures they know and call home. They have witnessed tragedy and experienced loss. They need Christ just as much as we all do.

In this week among the nations as I was honestly dreading returning home, I realized just how much my heart has remained unchanged. The Lord gives good gifts. The community I have made at JAARS, the extra sweet time with my family, and the wonder I’ve witnessed here have all been incredible gifts. But I cannot deny that since stepping on that plane to return home my heart has never left. The longing to return to East Africa is still deep in my bones. You see, there is something about Africa that gets in your bones, your blood, your soul. Ask anyone who has witnessed her life and beauty and they will likely tell you the same.

But the Lord is so faithful. Two years ago when I drove out of the city that had become my home, I wondered when and if I would ever return. I have asked God “How long, oh Lord” since that day. A year ago when I accepted my fellowship and chose to stay here in the states I struggled on whether I should let that desire deep in my heart go. If it was even of the Lord anymore. But now I see Africa once again on the horizon. It feels so close I can almost reach out and touch it. And when my feet finally touch that red dust again in whatever country that may be I know that none of these years in between, none of the waiting will have been in vain. I am infinitely hopeful at where the Lord is leading and the ways I know He will continue to show His goodness and wonder both here and now and when I finally return.

I have come to witness and love so much in the short 27 years I have been on this planet. But the biggest lesson I have learned in the last few years of so many ups and downs is this: God is good in the bright light of wonder and in the midst of the dark night of the soul. He is good in inexpressible joy and in provision, in pain and in suffering. He is good through it all and I desperately want others to know that on a deep level. Which is why I cannot stay; I must go.

Kuc Obed Kedi. Africa I will see you soon (maybe in a year or three).

2 thoughts on “Still Calling…

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