Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Hello everyone! Today is such an exciting day for us! We have been accepted into the New Hope Uganda Institute of Childcare and Family (i.e. the 5-month training we are doing in January)!! This was the last big hurdle for us, so we are officially set to go. We are very excited. So before I go into more details on that I want to talk a little bit about rights. I’m an American citizen; I have rights, and freedoms and liberties. Very often in American culture we refuse to let anyone tread on said rights. But that isn’t the picture that we get with Jesus. As God, He is the only one who has any TRUE rights. He has the right to be worshipped, the right to be adored, the right to be obeyed, the right to be loved, the right to give, the right to take; and He CERTAINLY had the right to not be murdered on a cross at the hands of His own creation. However, that’s exactly what He did. He gave up his rights and took the punishment that was ours, which we could never pay, and paid it for us, AS us. Only a human could pay the price for humanity’s sin, so He became a lowly human and did it for us! We are told to take up our cross daily if we wish to follow Him (Matthew 16:24). This speaks of giving up our rights on a DAILY basis. In marriage, it’s my right to be put first. In service, it’s my “right” to a thank you or to fair distribution of workload. In youth ministry it’s my “right” to my time on Fridays, any sense of being cool I ever had, and my “right” to giving advice without having eyes rolled at me. In kids’ ministry it’s my right to not change 4 poopy diapers in the span of an hour.
In missions, it’s my right to my home, friends, family, comfort, flushing toilets, my church home, and all my worldly possessions. It’s the giving up of my rights to wearing and doing what I want. There are cultures and customs in Uganda that we just simply don’t have here. One such culture difference is the wearing of skirts. Anyone who has known me more than 5 seconds knows that you see me in a skirt or dress for 4 occasions: Easter, Christmas, weddings, and funerals. And that’s it. But in Uganda, women wear skirts. It’s becoming more acceptable to wear trousers (pants) but outside of the big cities it is still associated with a loose character as a woman. How am I to share the love of Jesus if people think I’m a “loose woman”? I won’t be able to. So even though it is NOT something I will enjoy, I will begin to modify what I wear and become accustomed to skirts. We will begin to learn new manners and customs, and will probably be scolded for unintentional rudeness more than once. We will be in a literal hut, with an iron sheet roof and concrete floors. We will have pit latrine (aka outhouse with a hole in the floor) for our bathrooms, and the shower stall is outside. As I read through some of these directions from New Hope, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m completely insane for being so excited about it! But as I talked with my mom last night, I realized why I am: I won’t notice the discomfort or unusual customs the first time I see a Ugandan child grasp the love of Jesus for the first time, or when I get to help birth a baby, or when I pray at the bedside of someone dying from a preventable disease, or when pastors who have no training grasp the Bible and hunger for it. It is worth the death of my rights all day, every day to share the gospel of Jesus with those around me. And I pray the same is true for you. True ministry requires the death of our rights and wants; in exchange for a peace that passes understanding, and a joy no one can take from us. Charles Spurgeon once said , “Did you ever think of the tremendous value of a single soul. My hearers, if there were but one man in Siberia unsaved, and all the world were saved besides, if God should move our minds, it would be worthwhile for all the people in England to go after that one soul. Did you ever think of the value of a soul? Ah! ye have not heart the howls and yells of hell; ye have not heard the mighty songs and hosannas of the glorified; ye have no notion of what eternity is, or else ye would know the value of a soul. Ye who have been broken by conviction, humbled by the Spirit, and led to cry for mercy through the covenant Jesus; ye know something of what a soul's value is, but many of my hearers do not. Could we preach carelessly, could we pray coldly, if we knew what a precious thing it is about which we are concerned? No, surely we should be doubly in earnest that God will please to save sinners.” Please pray that God never let us forget the value of the work we are doing and that we never learn to de-value a soul over our own comforts or “rights”.
Alright. So next steps and prayer request:
We are accepted to NHICF (yay!). But in order to officially hold our spots we need to get the first half of the deposit in. This is $4000 for us ($2000/each). We don’t have $4000 lying around waiting to be given to Uganda. So please be in prayer that the Lord provide, but not just provide (because we know He will) but to provide in such a way as to bring glory to Himself. And please prayerfully consider giving as we move forward. We know He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), so He will get us whatever provision we need. Will keep posting as things roll forward!
Thank you as always!
Blog update #2 underway here. So first off, news! We submitted our applications to New Hope Uganda Institute of Childcare and Family for the 5 month training! We are very excited, and are prayerfully waiting on a decision. In all of this, one thing that has been weighing on my heart and mind is counting the cost. I’ve heard people asking why we would give up all we have here to go to a third world country, live in comparable poverty so far away from everything and everyone we love. Jon and I have wonderful families who love us, great friends, an amazing church family, good jobs, fun hobbies, a beautiful home, plenty of surplus to do things we enjoy… so why give all that up? Jesus said “to whom much is given, much will be required”. We have been given love, home, family, plenty, ample opportunity to study God’s Word, we’ve never missed a meal because money was tight, we have hot water on command, AC when it is warm out, healthcare at our fingertips, and yet… Across the world there are billions living in poverty. We have been blessed beyond measure and God has put it on our hearts to share what we have been given. It is not an options, it is a command. This does not mean that counting the cost is not difficult.
However, this is not just a somber thing of doing as we’re told. There is joy beyond measure in the thought that we get to go care for those treasured by our Lord and Savior. Though I ache to think of leaving my beautiful nieces behind, I can’t help but be comforted by the wonderful family they are surrounded by. Then I think of all the little ones in Uganda who have no one to claim or love them and I am blessed beyond measure to think that Jon and I can go share the love of Jesus with them. There’s a video I love that really touches my heart and helps clearly explain why it is worth all we are giving up and more to go share the love of Jesus. I’ll include the link below.
So that’s where I’m at for now. Eagerly awaiting the next steps in our journey...
Prayer Request: The applications are in, now we are waiting on an answer for the 5 month training in January. We’d love prayer for that: that we’d be patient, for God’s will to be done, and for a yes if at all possible. J
After talking with Kent and Becca Nolley (thenolleys.com), God confirmed for Jon and I that we are to step out in faith to head toward the mission field. With the in-state training approaching more rapidly than I even realized, I can't help but get more and more excited. In two weeks we've found the team we hope to join, gotten board approval to be Calvary Cherry Creek's first missionaries, built a website, facebook page and email. Not to mention, we've formulated a plan that gets us to the field in 6 months! God has opened door after door after door. Every time I've asked for confirmation He has given it. We still have a lot to do, but He is providing in it all.
In doing all this I can't get the image out of my head of Ugandan children dancing for Jesus as they praise Him. It's like the Lord has put fire in my very bones and nothing can deter us from following His call. Yes, it's terrifying to think that in 6 months we will be heading to Uganda. The idea of leaving everything we've ever known is still a bit of a shake up. But Jesus said in Luke 9:62, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." So although this is more than we could ever do on our own, we know that if we walk in accordance to what He calls us to, it will work out. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills; I'm sure he can sort out the logistical details for two of His kids with a heart to share the gospel!
Will post more soon as things unfold!
As always, please be in prayer.
Please be in prayer. The next big step is to finish the application process for the 5 month training at New Hope Uganda. E-mail is hit or miss down there so we are hoping for an e-mail any day with the next steps in the process!