"Faith is not a sense, not a sight, nor reason, but simply taking God at His word. - Christmas Evans
In the return, I may have been beyond the stage of or nearing delirium from the lack of sleep but I was safe, sound and home. I was thankful to have arrived back to the states after about a 21 hour flight amongst a near 35 hour eventful journey of both memorable travel and long layovers. I was ripe out of an extended time of near 4 months in multiple countries, partnering with various organizations and ministries. This past September I found myself by God’s grace home. But was I really home? Not a moment escaped before my heart and spirit knew a portion did not make the flight back with me. I could have told someone this would be so prior to leaving ground in Africa and at that, thus anticipated long before having to part with those who I had begun to build connections with. This most apparent and known prior to the goodbyes to the children who's hearts, faces, smiles, and stories of resilience I began to adore and deeply love. I have always believed and found comfort in 'home being where the heart is,’ but this time I was not fully with my heart. Although I would not consider the flight to nor life in Africa to be exactly comfortable, as it was stretching but the other half, the half I felt that was reached once meeting up with the tug to go, more specifically when encountering the love of Christ for and through the children in the orphanages; that wholeness was undeniably present. In that, I was unexplainably comforted. Returning, it was clear there was now a piece missing. Sometimes you just know. It was in the stories shared, within the others I personally hold close. It was and is with those I met ‘along the way.’
Of course I am not implying that I am now living half hearted nor lack presence where I find myself in the time being, as I know there is purpose to it all; but I can’t deny that I have desired to be back with those whose life mine had quickly begun to be interwoven with. It was the Hesed love of God, most displayed in my time with the children. Its invitation, power and magnitude are stunning. This is the love that captured and has captured me everyday since surrendering my life to Christ and this is the same love that is fully for and committed to the abandoned and orphaned children’s lives that were met along with available to every other.
Jeremiah 31:3 - “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
With entering back to the US it has been continually revealed that it was indeed both not long enough but in the same, a sufficient amount of time to affect and deeply alter ones life if willing. For my personal experience, it has without a doubt offered radical take aways. As much as life presents itself, I have been learning and understanding by the day, as grander revelation of understanding further fill in the framework. In this discovering there is still a great deal to go. I also find that as mentioned as most of our life is offered, it is only maintained and accomplished by an active choice of the will to remain willing and teachable. In this case, the desire to keep it prominent was and still remains present. Just as the deciding to going was an active choice, to come back and remain affected, has been near just as significant. All this to conclude the learning doesn't end. I am thankful for all the growth, the learning and direction that continues to surface through the weeks as well as treasure the blessings, memories and encounters that are still an actively relevant and on heart as I press in and am prepared forward.
As told, it has been near 2 months since my last post and I am finally attempting to begin putting what feels carries a life time of thoughts, emotions, encounters and experiences to words, while at the same time preparing and being readied for the next months back which started soon after arriving 'back' to the states. As long as I can remember, in season and out of season, I have enjoyed writing yet in expressing that which has not yet been expanded on in great depth on my volunteering at the baby home, has been a greater challenge than I would have anticipated. Regardless of blog accuracy, it is indeed time for an update offering a deeper snapshot and look into that which became the most challenging 2 1/2 months of my life with simultaneously resulting in the most treasure filled, life altering and worthy months. Messy at times, health and faith tested at others, it was near all new and beautiful. This was where these future oriented leadings developed, invitations and open doors presented and where this love was profoundly encountered. The compass distinctly then pointing in the further investing and advocating on behalf of the life of 8 brilliant boys. To add, 8 of the most hilarious, precious, resilient, loving and purposed little humans I had yet to meet. My heart had felt the relentless, loyally committed, lovingkindness of God in such a profound way, it over took my filled with hope yet aching heart.
For those who have kept up with past posts, it seems the most fitting time to share that what we at the time thought was Typhoid I was struggling with as diagnosed, turned out to be a ‘well hosted’ parasite and case of Malaria which I ended up finding out was hanging out with me for over 7 weeks. Explains a lot. Anyhow, I won’t get too into the details! Despite a very late diagnosis and multiple change of antibiotics and diet, all was well. To be able to seek a clinic and be provided care makes me simply thankful. The whole experience, which as alluded to, was not fleeting and found to be purposed in various ways as it exposed me to a great deal of deeper humility, gratitude and also praise to God for His sustaining hand. Those along the path who were able to uplift in prayer durning it all, were beyond significant. The good news is I was recovered prior to taking the 17 hours bus ride on rural Africa roads to Uganda to see Elvis, the young lad I sponsor who is a Potter’s Field Ministries Kid, currently attending Calvary Chapel. His home in Entebbe, sits on the other side of Lake Victoria from Mwanza. That transit would not have been doable had I not recovered. The story to getting to Uganda alone is a miracle that in hind sight has become rather humorous, not to mention the events that led up to it now exist as a great teacher of many revealings. One such revealing was the heart of the Father and situations similar to stories such as Peter in the bible stepping out into the storm's great waves in the sea. Such was the opportunity to see that when we keep our eye on the Lord regardless of circumstances, it's His hand and strength we faithfully meet. In various situations, if not always, thats exactly where I found myself; constantly having to look up, I had to keep my eyes on the Father who was trustworthy and a faithful guide. He is who He says He is. All of these testings and building opportunities fully required faith in His sovereign providential care and often the unseen but stable rock of His words intentionality. In one of the most trying of nights, there was breakthrough that ended up including a connection to a bus ride to see this precious 9 year old boy who wore the warmest smile which I had been limited to writing for years. A back pack and banana later, I was on a ferry and bus ride to see Elvis! Talk about an arrival of grace and in it hidden opportunities.
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things." - Ecclesiastes 11:5
Gathering with Elvis was nothing short of something significant. I will never forget the moment he came plunging into my arms from off the swings in the playground where he was playing in order to greet me with the biggest running hug! Yes, if you are wondering my reaction, I lost it. There were tears of anticipated joy and it was mutual. It was sweet and it was unexplainable and cherished. How silly was I to think I could hold it together!? The next two days with him and his school buddies continued to be just that, filled with laughter and pure joy. Age, nor color, nor situations that surfaced mattered, nothing was more important than making memories, sharing love and our faith in Jesus Christ. The days went by too quickly and time was limited, however what we were given and memories made, all remain as a soundtrack of a few extra special, divinely appointed and life-giving days. Leaving was the most difficult as usual after having the honor of meeting this dear boy, his family, friends and the staff at the church and school who were investing in his development; all who I in no time valued a great deal and watched the Lord work through. To have been welcomed into his world, home and life to leave just days later challenged me. Something continually considered and was intrinsically moved after getting to know his circumstances on a greater level and see his strength day in and out. At the end of the allowed time, we parted with an agreed encouragement of hope that above all else, God was faithful, He provides and what man can NOT accomplish, God CAN. - Luke 18:27. Our meeting was used as a doubt squashing example of just that. GOD is able. From there I was off, back on the bus to Tanzania to end my time at the baby home. I had not completed the process of getting to the root of why I was sent there, knowing it was not temporary or fleeting. I was ready to step further into the discovery of all God had in desire and what that meant for my role as God allowed.
1 Corinthians 1:6 - "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes , always perseveres."
Please stay tuned later this week for the 2nd half of this blog, as I conclude by filling in missing pieces of the latter months in Mwanza at the baby home, while sharing what transpired from the time of learning, researching, praying and advocating. All directing where things are today and where I will be next month at a new children's village. I will also share in greater detail what that partnership will consist of, goals at hand and over all framework prompting the return.
My departure has been officially set for February 4th! A major 'asante sana' (thank you very much) to those who have invested your time, prayer and financial partnership. With 1,500$ remaining to meet my goal, your investment has been significant and greatly appreciated. In the mean time, although I am a firm believer that a picture says 1,000 words, I am a firmer believer that it also misses another 5,000. With various supporters asking and too holding the desire to capture a timeline offering color to the joy in the pursuit, this video will hopefully bring to life some of those words that have been shared. I pray that you are touched by the glimpses into the past months in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Yes, it may be on the long side but turn your volumes up and step into the journey of a hearts call oversea from this side :)
As always, Mungu Akubariki Sana (God bless you greatly!)