Maybe one day we’ll actually walk the orange roads together…
….and there we sat drinking coffee, reflecting on our shared days there in the place that united our hearts. The place we separately journeyed to following the author and perfector of our faith and story. Two stories, creatively woven together by divine threads of people, culture, passions, and fashion. We are thankful God led us to the same place. And as we kick up some orange dust together, God stitches into our heart a truth: the places he leads us to are holy, set apart from the places we travel to on our own will.
And in these holy places, this creative God weaves together a colorful tapestry of grace with the people seeking his will, with the needs of the broken, with the ones who don’t know they need him. Interwoven together are these people and places with their stories and challenges and experiences, mutually shaping one another. And the tapestry displays an overarching story about a redemptive God, bringing people together for his purposes, for his glory.
The thread of a Michigan girl willfully torn from everything she knew to sew together, with her family, a lifelong bond of love with the people of Uganda. And woven into her story of grace is a relationship with Tom, who became apart of the very fiber of her family.
The thread of a Texas gal who followed the Lord to Uganda to work along side of Arise Africa International. Her passion for loving the fatherless leads her to a place of submission, learning to serve where she is needed. While sipping coffee at The Source Café she meets Tom, and he becomes the common thread that ties these two eccentric missionaries together. Tom recognized a kindred spirit in these strangers, separated by an ocean. We’d like to think what he saw was our shared desire to reflect the Lord with our life…..but chances are he first recognized our similar choice of wedges over tennis shoes and scarves over fanny packs.
Through an introduction on Facebook, these strangers were joined together by a mutual understanding of how the hardest places to leave are the places God leads us to. For these are the places we are hemmed into his grace and pieced in his likeness. Emails led to phone calls that led to this Texas gal boarding a plane to meet this Michigan girl.
For one weekend, Uganda became our common ground as we shared our experiences, fears, anticipations, and callings. And just a few months later, the orange roads became the actual ground we walked…together.
This is how we know the Lord is the one creatively weaving our story:
We both showed up at the airport in the very same riding boots. What? That doesn’t count as evidence of God’s divine intervention? Okay, here’s how we really know:
Our individual journeys have mutually blessed the other as we both struggle to know him more fully and receive the new life he desires for us. Dacia gleaned from Lori’s experience and understanding of Ugandan culture as she prepared to move there. Lori relied on Dacia’s wisdom and knowledge as she discerned the Lord’s intentions in an unfolding story that is not yet complete enough to share.
The fruit of our friendship has confirmed the Lord’s sovereignty in both of our lives. As Dacia packed her bags, quit her job and said good-bye to the community who has shaped her and journeyed with her, she feared the inevitable change that would occur when she pressed “pause” on her life and her friends continued on with theirs. Relationships are valued treasures for Dacia and she wondered who would intimately walk this new road with her. The Lord did not delay. He immediately began weaving a new community for Dacia. Not to replace the ones who already love her. But a particular people who would help her faithfully receive her new life and ministry.
At the very same time, the Lord was asking Lori to be available to him for a particular purpose. As she wrestled with the calling and discerned God’s intentions, she needed someone close to the need to be eyes and ears and heart. The place God was taking Dacia was the very place Lori needed someone to be. Our friendship has been a reminder that God knows his people. He is faithful to give them what they need. He is trustworthy to provide. We must not fear going to the places God leads us, for he will ordain our steps, overcome our obstacles and provide for us what is needed to endure.
The hospitable life is subject to encounters such as ours. If you are open to new life and you eagerly reach out to receive others, the Lord will weave into your life new people and ideas and experiences that bring about his creative purposes. We desire to be threads that hold God’s bigger picture together. Threads that weave God’s grace in and out of people’s lives. Showing his love, affirming his presence and strengthening the hope that God will redeem his people.