Tuesday, November 27, 2012

encouragement amidst the sadness.

I can't say too much, but I can say this: God has plans for each person on our team, and I truly believe that He picked every one of us for our trip with a bigger purpose in mind. After reading the emails from tonight's discussion, I am encouraged by our unity in fighting for the rights and wellbeing of orphans in Uganda.

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible; faith without deeds is dead. Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go 'til you are." -- Brooke Fraser

Sunday, November 25, 2012

worries and patience and faith.

Claire woke me up an hour ago because she was thirsty, and I'm having trouble going back to sleep. It's 330am - my own personal witching hour.

Worries are filling my mind right now. Things that I have no control over - as if I have control over anything, though, right? I have a big meeting on Thursday that I am eagerly anticipating. I haven't been able to send as much in donations to Ekubo and Sangaalo as I'd like. I start official training at work tomorrow. I have another photo shoot to process by next weekend but have limited time to do it, since I no longer have the Internet at my house and need to go use free wifi at a cafe to get it done. I have letters to write to Bridget and Liti in Uganda, and Marilin in Bolivia, but time is escaping me with each passing minute. I need to start saving money so I can go back to Uganda next year, but I have not been able to do that yet because of other more immediate concerns. And those Christmas cards I have to send out? I haven't even ordered them yet.

Notice a common theme? ME. I hate how self-centered I am. I hate how I worry about these insignificant things, when there are children and families in Africa who have nothing to eat but trust that God will somehow provide. And I have seen how He provides firsthand. So why is it still so hard for me to trust that He will come through?!

I was praying a little while ago, and I laughed when I realized that I continue to pray that God will give me patience. Be careful what you pray for, because God is indeed answering my prayers by giving me numerous situations that are teaching me to be patient and rely on Him. I am thankful for these lessons, but my impatience itself is causing me to be frustrated with my learning curve!

The fact that I can't see into the future forces me to rely on the knowledge - the faith - that He provides. I know He will take care of it all. He always does.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

prayers needed - urgent.

I just got a message from my sweet friend Christie who, along with her husband, runs Ekubo Ministries. She said that there has been another outbreak of Ebola, but this time it's just a few miles away from their village. Perhaps the worst news is that they believe it's an airborne strain. Please pray that it will be quickly contained, and that all those infected will be healed.

Thank you for those of you who prayed so diligently for Christie this past week. She is still experiencing a lot of pain from malaria, but she is on the mend. It was her fifth time getting malaria this year - the most severe strain, too, so pray that The Lord will protect her from all illness from now until her sweet baby is due.

Lastly, in the next week or so, I'll be posting a list of items that are greatly needed by Ekubo and Sangaalo (where Baby Sam is!) Please consider donating to one of these incredible children's homes in lieu of Christmas gifts this year. As someone who has worked with both ministries, I can honestly say there is no better cause!

Monday, November 19, 2012

waiting in the tension.

It's 2am and I have spent the past few hours looking at my friends' pictures from our trip. My heart aches; I miss those little children so much. I miss my team so much. I have never felt torn between two worlds before, and now I feel it constantly. I can't reconcile my life here with what I experienced over there.

I am praying and praying that God will help me make sense of it all, and that He will allow me to continue serving in some capacity. I want to stay involved with Damalie at Sangaalo, with Christie and George at Ekubo. I want to protect the children at Canaan's, ensure that they are safe, and be a voice for them.

I am not a patient person, so waiting to hear from the Lord is often very frustrating for me. I am ready to act, to do something, to jump right in and get moving. But I must wait for Him to point me in the right direction, to open doors, to speak to me about His plan in all of this.

And so, for now, I wait. And I pray. And I tell Their stories to anyone who will listen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

kings and queens.

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

If not us who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory
We will love, we will love the least of these.

-- written by Audio Adrenaline

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

i'll never forget.

Tonight I am remembering the evening that I sat with Bridget under the stars and asked her to sing for me. She is a wise and very somber nine-year-old who has known sadness that no one her age should be familiar with. I am remembering her song: "Lauren, don't forget me when you say goodbye."

I am remember how I went back to the room and cried. I cried for her past and her present. I cried because I can't fix it even though I want to. I cried because I am powerless to save her and I can't protect her. I cried because there is nothing that I can do for her except love her, and what do you do when even that doesn't seem like enough?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

the greatest gift.

Before I went to Africa, I loved God.

But by the time I came back from Africa, I had fallen in love with God.

How is it that I went to Uganda to pour out all that I had to give, and I ended up coming back completely filled up? More of Him, and less of me. And what a blessing it is.

Friday, November 2, 2012

you know you've been to uganda when...

My teammates and I put together this list when we were sitting in the Addis Ababa airport for three hours. Feel free to add more if you've been to Uganda too!
  • You respond to people calling you "muzungu"
  • You start calling other people "muzungus"
  • You get excited to see other muzungus when in town
  • You crave chocolate milkshakes
  • You don't quite have the conversion to shillings down yet
  • You never want to see rice or peas again
  • The Islamic call to worship is your alarm clock
  • You sweat even when you aren't hot
  • Your intestines have stopped working for at least a week
  • You have shared a shower with bats and rats
  • You have shared your bed with roaches
  • You have gone through a pint of hand sanitizer in a day
  • You know that mosquito nets are used to keep out all kinds of insects and rodents - not just mosquitos
  • You don't get nervous when you see a car coming straight towards you at 90mph
  • You have brushed your teeth with pink lemonade because you ran out of bottled water
  • You walk bow-legged because your thighs have chafed together from walking so much in the heat
  • You are not offended if someone calls you fat
  • You have at least one suitcase full of beaded jewelry and you left all of your belongings behind
  • You can count up to five in Lugandan
  • Every morning you ask, "What was that screaming noise last night?"
  • You are used to hearing strange sounds coming from the trees
  • Your idea of a gourmet meal is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • You are used to seeing goats strapped on the back of motorcycles
  • Personal space no longer exists and there is no such thing as privacy
  • You stop wearing makeup because you're used to just sweating it off
  • Coca-Cola is your drug of choice
  • One of your friends is an unofficial pharmacist
  • You run late in the States because you're used to being on African time
  • You want to scream whenever someone asks you if you got to meet Katie while you were there
  • You iron your underwear because you're afraid of mango flies
  • You've been a passenger in a vehicle that has the same name as the driver
  • You expect church services to be at least four hours long
  • Shrubs are the new clothesline/dryer
  • Your feet are permanently red
  • You aren't phased when all of your questions are answered by, "Yes"
  • You expect to be greeted by song wherever you go
  • You are used to being called "Mama" or "Auntie"
  • Before using the restroom at a hotel or restaurant, you always ask someone if you can flush the toilet paper
  • Before eating the food at a hotel or restaurant, you always ask if you can eat the fresh vegetables
  • Your fingernails are always dirty
  • You carry a roll of toilet paper with you wherever you go
  • You are afraid of getting arrested if you take pictures of tourist attractions
  • You can play "Letter of the Day" for hours on end
  • When a policeman asks if you're carrying any arms, you hold your arms in the air
  • When you go volunteer somewhere and expect to spend the afternoon picking rocks and beetles out of the rice
  • You have masted the art of cloth diapers -- or you swear to never use them
  • You have used your hand as a wipe when changing diapers
  • You swear that the best oranges are green
  • When you're out with friends and it threatens to rain, you leave early so that you don't have to push your car home in the mud
  • You try to entertain teenagers by showing them what tricks you can do with various body parts
  • You are used to sleeping on styrofoam "pillows"
  • Your personal speed limit when driving is: "if you survive, you're okay"
  • You get laughed at all the time because you love your pets
  • You expect to see your neighbor taking their goat or cow for a walk on a leash
  • You expect a sunset cruise to involve a ten foot motor boat in the middle of the afternoon in 110*F weather
  • Airplane bathrooms seem luxurious