Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Road to Uganda

There are exactly 20 days left on this road, before concrete turns to red dirt, and my feet, and the feet of my daughter touch the ground of Ugandan soil, even if it is only for one week.  Twenty days left until I swap turtlenecks for t-shirts, boots for sandals, duvets for mosquito nets, perfume for Deep Woods Off, comfort and the safety that brings for exhaustion and uncertainty. 

Twenty days until my eyes see what my heart has yearned for; my hands touch those I have prayed for.  Twenty days until my hardened, North-American unbelief is broken in the reality of life for most of the world – this is my prayer.
Many ask me if I’m scared.  Nervous.  Perhaps a little crazy.  I can feel my eyes beaming with life when I smile and say Excited is more the word to describe how I feel.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself. 
The Lord has often asked me to stop and look behind me, usually in faithless, fearful, or forgetful days.  To remember where I’ve been, to see where He’s led me, what He’s done.  It’s hard not to give thanks when we sit down to remember, and see our Saviour’s been leading all the way.  And this week the Lord gave me the opportunity to do just that, to look back, see what He has done and where He has brought me. 
A year ago I wrote this post.  Sixty Feet reposted it this week for the purpose of remembrance.  It’s a marker on this road to Uganda which all started with a dangerous prayer.
I was asked to share my testimony to an audience of 300 or so at a fundraising event for Sixty Feet, an organization that ministers to imprisoned children in Uganda in Jesus' name.   This post was that testimony.  As I read it yesterday for the first time in over a year, I stood amazed at what the Lord has done in the short time since that night. 
A year ago, when I stood before that crowd of faces on a cold February night in Atlanta, I couldn’t help but know this story He was weaving wasn’t finished.   At the time it was only a dream and a deep longing in my heart to go to Uganda; it seemed an impossibility that I would ever touch the ground there, nor would my daughter whose heart also breaks for hurting children.   At the time, a 17 year old girl the Lord has put in my life, knew she wanted to go to Uganda also, but knew not how it would ever happen. 
The three of us, I call us Broken (that’s the 17 year old), Fearful (that’s me), and a Mere Child (that’s my 14 year old daughter with a heart much more mature than her age), having a call, a burden, a desire so deep it hurt, but no way to get there.
But there are these precious words that Jesus speaks in Matt 19:26, when his disciples stand astounded at a situation and cannot comprehend how it could be:  “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
One month after I shared my testimony, God did what was impossible for man.  A blessing was bestowed and Broken, Fearful and a Mere Child started down the road to Uganda, following the gentle leading hand of a God who does the impossible.
As I look back over the past year, over the past two years, I can’t help but praise the Lord for what He has done.  What really gets me though, is that this whole journey started with one simple act of love.  It’s almost silly how it started.  One cold, windy day in early May, my daughter and I, joined by a few Sunday school kids, sat at a small table selling cupcakes and lemonade.  We made something like $100 for the imprisoned children of Uganda that day in the parking lot of the small town gas station, while everyone looked at us like we were crazy, many buying, I’m sure, out of mere pity of the fools standing in the cold. 
So simple.  So ordinary; but it was the stepping out of the boat so to speak, the first step of obedience.  And sometimes I find that in the day to day weariness of the ordinary one can lose focus of what God is doing and has already done.  We wait for the ‘big’ moment, but it never comes.  I’m learning (albeit slowly) that it’s in the quiet ordinary moments of life that God moves so gently, so faithfully. 
And it’s in the looking back, not for the longing of being where we were, but in the remembering where we’ve been, that we see our Father’s hand so faithfully upon us, working when we didn’t even know it.  And that is a beautiful picture on faithless days. 
You know that dangerous prayer I mentioned earlier?  He is still answering this prayer, cried one morning when I felt so overwhelmed, so compelled to do something, but completely lost as to what to do.   Lord, here I am. Use me. Take me out of my comfort zone, make me uncomfortable, and put me in over my head. Then I will know it is YOU doing this thing and not me.”
These words have changed my life, my daughter’s life, and the life of a young woman I did not even know when I spoke those words.  Our feet will hit the dirt in Uganda in just 20 days, but I can’t help but know it’s really just the beginning of a life long journey for Broken, a Mere Child, and Fearful.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders,
and the judgements of His mouth.”  Ps 105:1-5


At 10 March 2013 at 14:26 , Blogger Amanda said...

I am so excited for you. I know you are just going to love it an this will just be the first of many trips! :-). I can't wait to hear all about it and all of the ways God uses you there. Safe travels!


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