For anyone wondering where I went....
I had intended to update this blog while I was away for 3 months, but unfortunately, Google and Yahoo both locked me out of my accounts since I was logging in from another country. Obviously this was done by a computer, not a human, as a human would more likely see that my name on everything includes the word Uganda and my blog is all about going to Uganda.
I was able to post a couple updates as a "Note" on Facebook if anyone hasn't already seen them. But really, I didn't do that much exciting anyway. If you want to see pictures and you're not my Facebook friend, you can still see them. I've made the albums public.
I have been home now from Uganda for about a month. People always ask, "how was it?" and honestly, that is hard to answer. It was hard, it was fun, it was interesting, it sucked, it hurt, it was great! 10 weeks is a long time. It was not what I expected at all. I thought I'd go out and start ministering to people, I thought I'd pray for people and see them get healed. That didn't happen. Instead I just kept hearing God say "Be still, sit with Me." So I did. I sat in my chair and read 20 books plus a few books of the Bible, I talked to God and journaled what I heard Him saying to me. I just got to be quiet and let Him speak. He showed me some mindsets that needed to be changed, He talked to me about my dreams, and He gave me promises to hold onto. For that, it was amazing. Life is so busy here it can be hard to make the time to sit still with Papa like that.
On the other hand, I ended up dealing with multiple illnesses/pains that were difficult. I overheated in my first week. Very strange, just had to sit in front of a fan drinking cold water. For 3 days I did that, then I decided to put on Jesus Culture's latest album and worship. The presence of God was thick around me as I turned my eyes to Him. It was so great! Then song #8, Set Me Ablaze came on and an icy cold feeling started in my toes and traveled up thru my whole body. When it was done, my temperature was back to normal. Yay God! He has such a weird sense of humor. :)
I got a weird pain in my side a few weeks later. It started after dinner and grew until I threw up, then it just went into a cycle of getting worse and throwing up for a little relief. I was wimpering, crying out to God, praying, singing worship songs... Violet stayed with me the whole time, she was amazing. It went on for 4 hours they told me later, but by God's grace it only felt like 2 hours to me. I still have no clue what that was about, a few theories have been offered up, but no way to know for sure. I even suspected witchcraft. As the only white person in the village, and as white people are usually missionaries, it is feasible that a witch doctor could've sent a curse my way. When I had that thought, and I prayed against that angle, the pain went away shortly after. Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe not. Who knows?
And of course, a couple weeks before I left I managed to get Malaria. That was fun. Really it wasn't too bad. I had chills and hot spells off and on for about 4 days, then the last day I had 2 hrs of shivering on the couch and when I tried to sit up my whole body felt dead. Alex asked if he could call the doctor now and I finally said yes. The pills were sent over and I took the first dose. Intense sweating immediately broke out (and lasted 6 hrs) and within half an hour I started feeling better! I had no appetite for about 5 days, forcing food down to take the pills and not much else. On the plus side, that was a nice crash diet right at the end allowing me to arrive home down 25 pounds! lol
I had the chance to observe "real life" during my stay. When you go on a short term missions trip, you often end up in nice housing, everything is set up to accommodate American tastes, and life is all planned out and the schedule full. This wasn't like that. I stayed at first in the Kalema home with an outdoor pit latrine. A month and a half with no running water or toilet. I had to learn to do things like everyone else in the country does it. I had to wash my hair with a bucket and a basin, try to wash my body with washcloths and baby wipes. (Ok, so they don't have baby wipes) I had to learn to not only pee in a hole, but poop as well, and of course, the new diet causes diarrhea for a couple weeks right? Good luck! Real life. It's not pretty.
I saw how the girls work all day, cooking, washing, cleaning... it all takes so much longer by hand. I asked to help a few times, but they just laughed at me and refused. One time the 17 yr old maid gave me a matooke and a knife and showed me how to peel. Instantly, every kid in the vicinity was there gathered around to watch and laugh. Doing everything by hand takes a long time and is really hard on their backs.
I saw how hard the men work for so little money. I saw how jobs usually seem to be sunup to sundown, 7 days a week. It made me sad. Where do they do life? When do they get to enjoy time with family, or go do something fun? I asked Alex and he just looked at me in shock. "I never thought about that!" ??? I looked at this culture that is living in survival mode wondering, Why survive if you can't enjoy life at least a little? Harsh reality broke my heart. They work so hard, yet they don't seem to be able to get ahead. They're just surviving.
I met some amazing wonderful people, the board members of Won Generation Africa. This small band of believers has a goal to find a need and meet it. They don't have a lot of resources, but they're still doing anything they can to help out the people around them. It's so awesome! I will be joining their efforts when I return. So many of the dreams I have had are already beginning to take shape within this little group. What I realized I bring to the table is fresh ideas. Coming from an entirely different culture means I've had the chance to see things that they haven't. I can tell them about things they've never heard of, and together we can make a difference. I'm excited to get back and start dreaming together again and seeing what God will do.
So all in all, the trip was wonderful. I learned a ton, I suffered a bit, and I made some amazing new friends. I now have a much better idea of what direction to go. Before I had a lot of dreams but no idea how to go about starting anything. God has placed me with a group that is already moving, so I will now just be able to join in and bring my resources to the table. God is so good, so wise. Always knows what's up before we do. He is faithful to provide all we need to do what He has created us to do.