Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time stops...but life keeps on going...


We leave for Rwanda in about 2 hours and adventure on a 16 hour bus ride. I am looking forward to seeing and learning more about this country as my first time learning about Rwanda was through watching the film 'Hotel Rwanda'.

We come back after 10 days, and then have a few days of debrief in Entebbe.

If the skys are clear, we will be flying out I think on the 5th of May? London, to DC where a few of us stay the night in the airport. OH BOY! Never done that before.

..and shortly after that, jet leg and all...I fly to Savannah, Georgia.

I get to meet my little nephew Henry who just turned 3 months for the first time!!! And see Allie and Garrison whom I haven't seen in quite a long while either. A whole 10 days in Georgia with my nephew, sister, and brother in law. Sounds good to me :).

I hope my readjusting to American life and food and jet leg doesn't get too much in the way of spending time with them.

After a good 10 days, I then fly back to my home. Little Oak Harbor. Or actually Sea Tac airport, where I am hoping to meet my family, ..and Jessica :)

Upon arriving home sweet home.- Oak harbor, WA. Puget Sound. The Ocean 5 min away. Mom. Dad. Lindsey. Stevie. Carly.- Home. We are celebrating lots as it will be mother's day, Lindsey's birthday, my mom's birthday, and a farewell to Lindsey as she leaves for an internship in PA. Crazy! But a lot to look forward too.

I hope all is well for everyone! I can't wait to see you all :)

Hello Goodbye

It seems like it was just a few days ago that I said hello for the first time to my Ugandan host family and now today was the day that I had to say goodbye. But I pray that todays goodbye was not goodbye forever.

At the end of the journal that NCU friends filled with encouraging notes and gave to me before leaving for Africa,Bethany quotes the words of her mission's Coordinator in Spain upon her last week abroad:

"The end is always better than the begining, because something has to come to an end in order for something new to begin."
-Julie Ann Brandt

This morning we leave for Rwanda at 5am. It is 3 am right sleep today. But 16 hours of sitting in a bus will allow for some good down time.

Today while holding Dorcus for the last time, I whispered to her, "Dorcus, can you promise me that you will never forget me?" and as the little parrot that she is, she whispered back in the same tone, "Yah". I was then able to leave in peace knowing that she will remember me. Yet,then again, when walking back from church one day,with her riding on my shoulders, I asked her if she would like a big piece of my grandma's apple pie and scoop vanilla ice cream when we arrived home and she gave the same answer :P. Hmm pie and Goodbyes...pretty much on the same level.

Dorcus, there is no way that I could forget you.

The last day at home in Uganda started off well as i got a morning call from my REAL American :P mom and dad. Parents voices are of course always so soothing, but there is nothing like hearing them when in a whole world away. And My mom got to speak to my Ugandan mom :). Bitter sweet day. I am excited to come home, but also love it here so much that its hard to leave...and it only feels like we are counting down the days til the semester is officially over. :(

My Ugandan parents both went off to work so it was a fun hang out day with the siblings and eat matoke for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it was the last time that I was going to eat my mama's matoke, which is sooo good and better than any matoke I have had in Uganda. Probably because its fresh.

As my REAL siblings say, "Fresh from a chickens butt" when selling our chicken eggs, I would say that my mama's matoke is literally "Fresh from the plantain trees outside outside our back door." :)

As I leave...I can only pray that I can come back :).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What are you called to do?

We are faced with so many pressures to figure out what we are called to do in life. “What do you feel called to do?” we are asked. What will you do in your life? “I don’t know. I don’t know!” I always scream inside of myself. I just got out of an elective course called “Calling” as one of our last classes in Uganda :(. But it was literally one of the most eye opening to me.

I feel like this whole semester’s theme of learning for me has consisted of redefining my idea of what it means to follow God’s call in your life.

We read scriptures from Exodus 2:23; Judges 6 and 7; 1 Kings 18 and 19; Jonah 1; And Mark 2:13-17. These focused on Moses, Gideon, Elijah, and Jonah.

After reading each passage we were asked which one we identified with the most. After all responding, we were then asked how come we feel as if we could choose from the 4 main characters when there were thousands of people within each passage?

The big thing that has been revealed to me is that a lot of times we are often so quick to raise our hands to a big radical calling to go overseas and serve God full time, but if God were to call us to a season of something simple, like work at a small café for a season and faithfully love the people around us in that environment, would we still be so quick to raise our hands in obedience to this?

I honestly don’t know if I would be…Before coming to Africa, I saw myself working full time overseas and definitely wouldn’t mind living in a mud hut…but with new understanding on calling and a new definition of missions, my insight and pressure to “Find God’s call upon my life has changed.”

How hard is it really to “miss” God’s call? Jonah ran away, Moses doubted, Elijah felt too weak, Gideon needed many signs , …yet God still fulfilled his will within each of them. And personally, when faced with a season of deciding whether I was supposed to continue school or do YWAM and I chose YWAM, God still was able to turn my heart around in His direction of school…which thus led me to an awesome semester in Uganda :).

So would it be safe to say that a lot of times we are more afraid of obeying and trusting in God rather than missing His direct call for us?

We are simply called to follow God in the surrendering of our control and abandonment of self.

God’s call doesn’t ultimately focus on a calling to a certain time or place… but rather how we spend our time in between our calling to go.

The term “being called” to here or there has been tossed around so much. Yes, people are called to go places, however it leaves those who have not “felt called” to feel like less of a Christian. This then puts the pressure on Christians to “find their call” and take life in their own hands so they don’t sound dumb when asked what their calling is and can’t give a specific answer.

*Jesus calls us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. How am I doing this well in my everyday life?

As one of my many weaknesses has been spending a great deal of time worrying about my future, and how God was going to effectively use me, it has literally strangled me and kept me from life both in America, and at times in Africa. And currently as my major is quite broad as its Global Studies, I have no idea what I am going to do for my future…

As to worry literally means to strangle, I have realized that this is not the life that God wants of me and it must be daily surrendered so that I might not fall back into it as I so easily do. The following quote by Camp in the book called Mere Discipleship has helped me in my “efforts” to practice the surrendering of my will:

"Submit yourself to God…Life in Christ does not mean a white-knuckled determination to “do the right thing.” Very often “doing the right thing” flows neither from a love of God nor from a desire to see the will of God made manifest, but from a desire to exalt ourselves before God and humankind. “Doing the right thing” may flow more from fear than love-fear of shame, rejection, or abandonment, or fear of reprisal from the rebellious principalities and powers of the world. But prayer undercuts this desire for control of others, control of ourselves, and control of what others and God think of us." –Page 175

"In their desire for a “better country,” they did not yield to the temptation to be “effective” at all costs, to do “Whatever is necessary” to “make things come out right.” And because of such faith, “God is not ashamed to be called their God”-Hebrews 11:16 (Page 168)

As I am finishing up the semester, my prayer is that I can return to America and live this out.