I realize there are probably other versions of this exact post on this blog already, but it is something that is so heavy on my heart that I have to share it yet again. I am called to fight for the orphan and widow. But why?
Is it because I have seen things on my trips that absolutely break my heart? No. I see things right here in Indiana that break my heart. I see the church as a whole do things that break my heart. Is it because of those “poor little orphans” and the horrible conditions they live in? No. While there are many physical needs that need to be met, and the church absolutely needs to do something about that, I think it is sad that in America we think we “need” so much. Is it because I am better or holier than you? Absolutely not. Going on a trip to Uganda pregnant was scary for me. But it was not heroic or extraordinary. The fact that I was afraid, is an indication of my own sinful nature because He has not given us a spirit fear but of power and love and a sound mind.
I am called to fight for the orphan and widow because that is what we are supposed to do as Christians. Please do not look at me and give me honor. Please do not look at my pictures and feel sorry for the faces you see. I have learned so much from the people I’ve met on my trips. I have seen in those faces what Christ meant when He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I don’t go and feel sorry for the people I meet; I feel sorry for me. I have so much to learn from them.
I have quoted it before on this blog, and I will again because it is so important to understand, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” That’s it. Or read in Matthew about the sheep and the goats and what separate the two; “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” I mess up a lot. Things that I think I know are probably wrong. I am so far from what I want to be in Christ. But I know that if we are going to call ourselves a Christian, then we are called to simply love. That’s it. That’s why I’m called to fight for the orphan and widow. We all are. I was just also called to Uganda.
“How was your trip?” When you come home from a mission trip, and get asked this for the first time, it can leave you at a loss for words. On a trip like this you are flooded with so many emotions: joy, sorrow, excitement, exhaustion, anger. When you come home, back to your very comfortable reality, you have to process through all that you have seen. I love that after each of my trips God has taught me something new. So, what did I learn from those beautiful people?
1) I need to slow down and focus on relationships. We often joke about being on “African time” while there. No one gets in a hurry. You have to be flexible in your idea of a schedule. People are “late” because they spend so much time talking. And it is beautiful. I had someone attempt to teach me a few Lugandan phrases while there. I learned that there is one greeting for someone you see all the time. However, if you are greeting someone you don’t see daily, there is a much longer exchange. So much in my life is go, go, go all the time. That’s not what God created us to be like. He is a God of relationships. We just miss those beautiful relationships because we are too busy to slow down.
2) I am selfish. Ok so this wasn’t exactly news to me. Self-sacrifice seems to be ingrained. One day we served food to the kids at Return Ministries. I watched older siblings make sure the baby in their lap got a plate first. I saw kids tear open a sugar packet and split it between their friends. Ugly truth, I have gotten upset before when my husband came home early, and I had to unexpectedly share my snack. I am all about my comfort and my desires. That is not how Christ lived! He was constantly giving of himself.
3) I need to let go of my expectations, and trust in God’s provision. We were welcomed into several homes, and what was universal of every family we met was that they were so honored to invite us in. They did not care what they had or didn’t have. They glorified God for providing for their needs. They trusted that He was going to answer their prayers. Absolutely every single one of my needs is met. Any discontent I feel is because I lack something I want. How peaceful life would be if we trusted God to provide for our needs and thanked Him for any blessing above that.
The trick to any mission trip is fighting to remember the lessons once you are home. It’s not easy. I have already caught myself slipping into old patterns. But I will continue to share stories with you because I need to be reminded of the lessons learned.
We are wrapping up out time here in Uganda at Return Ministries. We have loved and been loved on by hundreds of kids. We had ths honor today of delivering rice, flour, beans, and posho to families in the village. How blessed we are. Tomorrow we will attend church with our new Ugandan friends. Church in Uganda is truly a one of a kind experience, simply amazing! I, along with two other team members have been asked to speak. An amazing honor. Prayers are greatly appreciated! Also, pray for our hearts. Ending our time here will be difficult. Going home is just the beginning. Pray for team members as they look for the next step.
Happy New Year! We are having an amazing time. We spent one day going into the homes of families in the village. What an honor to sit and share in their lives for a bit. We rang in the new year with a huge all day celebration full of food, music, dancing, and laughter. As I sat with my team that night we could hear drums and singing from the church. How awesome to bring in 2014 here! We have the rest of today here at Ekubo before heading to Return. Nora has been dancing to some African drums today. I am feeling great. Everyone has been so sweet and mindful of how I’m doing. Continue to pray for strength and health for the team in the days ahead. Pray for all of our hearts as we listen for God’s message for each of us. Miss you all!