IMG_0436 IMG_0435Sabbath. After a long three days, our spirits and bodies were in need of rest. I have made many a trips down the Nile on the boat and every time it is a “pinch yourself” moment but today was more than that, it was Holy. Beth, who I just met a week ago today as we were all preparing to come over to Uganda together, has now become a friend that will forever hold a special place in my heart. When we started the journey in the airport she said, ” I feel so unworthy to go on this trip. Look at all of you- Pastors, Pastor’s kids, stellar christians, a missionary…I am not any of those.” I looked at her and said, “because of that you are more qualified than all of us. ‘But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise…’ You will see. You are more than worthy to be on this team.”

I love Austin Christian Fellowship. It has truly been one of my greatest blessings in life to be sent forth from a church that believes in this calling that God has placed not only on my life but the lives of us all. They cultivate their people to be those that “go”. Ones that will be the ones to sacrifice for the revival. I have stood back and listened, watched, and been laborers in the vineyard with the pastors of ACF, and I am so thankful that they would call me one of theirs. It is humbling and I don’t feel worthy to be sent by the ones I have served with this week. So we have become family…closer than before. And as a family today we embraced what we knew He could do as He took the one that felt the least worthy and together we gathered around her as we celebrated what He did through her and in her just in 4 days. A new life. A new perspective. Change. It wasn’t her first baptism, she has been walking with Him for a long time, but she is now ready to “dive into Him and what He has done in Uganda has created purpose for her life that she has been looking for”. This is what we are looking for. Pouring ourselves out when we don’t think we have anything in us worth pouring out. Seeing that there is no greater treasure than to be found poor yet rich in knowing Him. Beth has discovered it…this is what makes my heart rejoice!

So today she asked me to stand with her in the water as her “hero”. All the while I am looking to her and to those gathered around me as my heroes. He has sent me, that is for sure. But they and you are the ones that hold my arms up when they are tired. Beth is my hero. Pastor Will, Steve and John are heroes that I pray I have the legacy of the ministry that those men are leaving. My new friends…who have given everything they have this week and their whole lives. And we are all here, half-way across the World because we are serving mighty, great warriors…who are all of our heroes and mentors.

All standing in the Nile River…not only the Nile but the Source of the river! The Source. I will let that sink in.

What a beautiful Sabbath.

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What are we doing wrong?

IMG_0218Sitting at a table tonight with my friends from home who are here on a short mission and our laughter quickly turned to tears as the heaviness filled the room. Heaviness of what our eyes have seen- naked children, starving babies, mothers who have their babies tied to their back as they hoe the field in the hot African sun, a truck full of women, children and pastors who traveled in the bed of a truck standing for four hours to come and sit and listen to the Word for 5 hours. We were led by the future of Uganda and it brought a hope like no other. I love experiencing over and over the silence that comes from no words with those who are seeing for the first time what God has done in our Secondary School. As Martha Judith, 16, led our voices in 10,000 Reasons we were all wiping tears from our eyes, including the one leading-her tears splashed the concrete. Now my friends try to find words to paint the picture and capture the spirit in that concrete room sitting on top of a hill in Uganda, filled with 141 students and pastors, with praises flowing from the lips of those who know pain.

The questions turned into “how can we not see it? How can we not get that this is better than our iPads, our new homes, our high paying jobs? How can we continue to add to ours when there are starving children?” No one could answer…the room was silent. We all felt the weight of the reality. Our hearts were literally broken and there were no single tears, there was a brokenness that came rushing in and through us. Will others see unless they see with their own eyes?

But we have this….our stories. The stories of how after being gone for 3 months I walked into our Babies Home to be greeted with a rush of children knocking me over to hug me…them leading me through the grass as tall as my head to tell me their desires for what they want this year, it is hearing high school students lead with choked up voices due to their passion for Him, it is how this world has changed me. Life is different. I pray that I would literally lose my life for the sake of His…for the sake of others to get it. “It”-a life that you could not fathom, when singing in the middle of a poverty-stricken country on a hill with no instruments brings you a peace and joy you have never experienced, when knowing that loving the least of these is truly loving my personal Savior Himself. When giving up the comforts of home to live like others will bring a fulfillment that I starve for in my comforts. I know how my heart aches tonight desiring that everyone could experience what we experienced today…it doesn’t have to be in Africa or some place far from your home, but that it will take you to a place you never thought you could go. How much more does our Father desire for us? How much more does our Father want to pour out on us? How much more love could He bestow?

Hands and feet. We are His hands. We are His feet. What are we doing wrong? We need more…

Smoked filled hut

Smoked filled hut

First day…head into Kilaro where there is only one well for the whole community. Although I am faced again with the reality of pain and suffering, just like I referred in my blog..it is here where I see Him. You can see it to, in the faces of these beautiful women who served us! Served me. Gathered in a small smoked filled hut, the laughter was even thicker. And the joy. And in this hut, surrounded by hunger and pain. I found Jesus. Feasting again…

The familiar

Stepped foot of the plane today after 36 hours of traveling and the second I breathed in the “Ugandan smell” my heart-felt at rest. How fun it is to be with others who do not have the “home ” feeling I have tonight but who are wrestling with not being over sensitized by everything they see and smell. It takes me back to my first time when I thought I was being brave by just agreeing to come for 10 days and the romantic love I quickly formed for this country and it’s people. It does my soul good to remember those feelings of excitement of not knowing what to expect and seeing through aware lenses opposed to mine, which tend to be clouded by familiar.

I arrived to my Ugandan father (I have two here) and I felt like a little girl who was so thankful to be received by one she feels so comforted by. As I approached the Guest House my emotions take me by surprise as I feel a wave of relief, excitement, and yet still there is that overwhelming, lingering feeling of unbelief that I am here again. Greeted by smiles, embraces, and the smell of fish in the kitchen- it hit me. I am home. A home so so different from the one I just left- the home that has shaped me and prepared me to be embraced in this home today, half-way across the world.

The darkness I lay in right now, in my familiar room, takes me back to many restless and lonely nights. It also takes me back to nights of sleeplessness due to the overwhelming joy. There is a knot in my stomach for I have no idea what this year will bring but I am comforted in this-of this I am sure-He has never let me walk alone, He has gone before us to level the mountains in the distance, and I know what lies ahead is bigger than I could ever imagine. Humbled is my heart. Humbled that I have the privilege to serve Him in this capacity. Thankful that I have returned to the place where I feast on Him. Awaiting the suffering that knocks on your door here and anxiously awaiting to meet Him there in the midst of it all.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying. Thank you for being a part of this journey-for you are as much a part of it as I am. We are all “missionaries” doing this together, and where I am makes me no greater than where you are right now. Write your story…tell the World. Someone will listen and someone will be changed.

2013…what do the Orange Roads have for me this year?

Let’s go get our hands and feet dirty, live a lot, and laugh more. Increase Lord and decrease me.

 

Thankfulness

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My Dad’s Journal.

When I picture my dad in my head, I see him in his chair with a book, pen and journal. When I was graduating from High School my dad gave me his journal of the days leading up to my birth. I found them again while home and it brought me to tears, again. “Train a child in the way she should go and she will not depart from it.” This is the foundation that has been laid for me, before I was born, a father who was praying for me to know Him at an early age. Best gift I could ever receive from my dad.

 

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Daisha.

This little one is carrying on the name Dacia, which means “Divine Perspective”. Such a sweet honor and I can’t wait to get my hands around her 🙂

IMG_0067                                                                  Lunching with these fabulous women.

I was very honored to go and lunch with all of these beautiful ladies. Mrs. Sitton has the biggest heart and has committed to helping me fulfill the call that Jesus has placed on my life by helping me reach my personal financial goals. She has one of the biggest hearts I know and she graciously has done a lot for me over the last year, one being introducing me to such a sweet group of ladies. I loved sharing my stories and heart with them, as they engaged and asked many questions, and we laughed and had a few tears. The road is more enjoyable when you have people walking beside you and the road is full of every generation and color.

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Stories Unfolding.

My friend Sonya has been encouraging me via social network and since being home we have sat down together for lunch twice. Over lunch we have discussed what God is doing in her life to expand her heart and He is bringing her precious family alongside. They are praying about how this will look but they do know that the road is leading to Uganda, in some way. This is what keeps me going. To know that He is not just creating a story there but He is also cultivating and sewing seeds in hearts here through what He is teaching me. So humbling. You can read her story here…www.lifeonmywayhome.blogspot.com

Last But Not Least!!!

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If you were to ask me what I want most this year it would be that my family could come see me in Uganda. My mom has come before but it was before I was settled in my life there and it would mean the world to me to have my family see what my life is like there. I want them to meet their “grandkids” and see my dad sit and talk with the men that have gained my respect. To do ministry as a family.

Well, this might be possible! A sweet family friend of ours called me out of the blue and said that she wants to help raise money for my parents to come visit me in June! I am so blessed by parents who have touched many people along their journey, and I have no doubt that He is going to bless them in return.

Almost a week until I leave…I can’t believe it. Ready to get back to my kids, ready to kiss some babies, and eat some matoke. Thank you to all who make this possible!!