Most people sit in today's joy, foreseeing the coming sorrows. Christians sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy. - Tim Keller
The red dirt, the smells, the beautiful landscapes are so familiar to me, but more importantly are the kids and families who we serve and who have found a place in my heart. They went from strangers, to names, to faces and now to ones who I know and love dearly. They are real people, not just statistics. They each have a story. Their walls are coming down as I am becoming more familiar and safe to them, not just a Muzungo (white person), but someone they love back, someone that represents many families in the states who pray, support and love them. They are some of the most courageous and they fight hard to have hope. Slowly we are all becoming family to each other, and this is God’s heart and our mission and vision.
I think that is why this trip has been especially hard, because my heart is invested and I’m not only seeing but feeling the depth of brokenness and suffering of families I love. My heart aches seeing the blank stare of some of our little ones who come from hard places. Or hearing a testimony of one of our own losing her dad to death a year ago and how she is now the caretaker of many siblings. My heart aches hearing that one of our younger youth was asked to leave his foster family because they don't want him around anymore because he is a burden to them. He doesn't have any family around so he is renting a small room in town, he’s 14. Or about a family who needs intervention because the children are not being looked after and are malnourished.
My heart aches listening to one of our mommas who has HIV and she fears what will happen to her little boys if something happens to her. My heart aches as I meet a couple of our teens becoming momma’s way too early because of this lockdown, they are babies themselves. I don't know how to respond when I hear from Archbishop Stephen that in just one district in Uganda over 1000 teen pregnancies have been reported since the Covid Lockdown. I could go on and on. This work is overwhelming, complex and messy. There seems to be no end. I feel way over my head most days, and sometimes questioning is all this worth it. But even in the questioning I also know that this work brings me some of my greatest joy.
“Keep one foot in eternity. No matter how pretty this world is, it’s not our home.” Beth Guckenberger
This quote was stirring around in my mind on this trip. Living in the West, it’s tempting to keep two feet on earth and hide behind all the comforts we have and have a blind eye to the hurting. But one foot on earth and one foot in eternity gives us the WHY behind the What. We are not home yet, we are just pilgrims here, passing through to know Christ and make Him known, to walk with the suffering and bring Hope to the hopeless.
I sat in one of Amiina’s Bible Studies last week and listened to our Bible Teacher, Fred, share the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15. Jesus left the 99 for the 1. Fred went around the circle of our youth and said - you are the one, and you are the one and I am the one. It was a word intended for our youth but it was a timely word for me to receive. If we all could understand this type of LOVE for ourselves and lived this type of LOVE out, then that is when the Kingdom of Heaven is demonstrated here on earth and the Fatherhood of God is experienced.
The ache in my heart keeps me going. Because Jesus ached when He saw me in the mud and mire and He bent low to raise me up. We are to steward what God has entrusted to us, believing that in our small offering of 2 fish and 5 loaves, there will be a Kingdom multiplication that is supernatural. Jesus went to extremes to help each of us because of LOVE, and he is calling us to go to extremes to help others as we are compelled by His Love. In the Kingdom economy these kids are priceless. We GET to do this. We will see hope restored, lives rebuilt and a generation raised up in Uganda and beyond for the glory of Jesus.
Jesus went all out for the one and we will do likewise.
Humbly yours in Christ Jesus,