Uganda/Zimbabwe/Haiti: Part I

So crazy to think that I am already a third of the way through my trip….so many amazing things have already happened, so many amazing stories I have already heard! I tried to go into this trip with an open mind and no expectations, knowing full well that my cleverly thought upI plans never come to fruition anyway. I also knew that coming and entering back into the lives of these wonderful people, with the knowledge of my not so distant departure, would completely weave and break the flow of my time here. My heart already feels the weight in anticipation of having to leave again. I will have to make it my sole concern to keep my mind and spirit present in the time that I am given. The journey to come back was both challenging and encouraging enough in itself. There were so many times that I wanted to give up hope, and I doubted that my desire to go was of any purpose or value; to me it was just a foolhardy dream that would never come to be. Better every instance of doubt was met with hope and assurance. Every barrier broken by provision and opportunity. All of you joining me in prayer and support is what kept me going. You helped me believe that this really was possible, that there was reason and purpose to the weight and desire God placed in my heart to come and be with these people again. Thank you for that.

I spent the frist two weeks of the trip with a team fro Help One Now. They were incredibly gracious in allowing me to join them, and I have gained so much by seeing the amazing partnerships they have created around the world. We spent the first week in Jinja, Uganda working with a local pastor named Edward Magumba. This man is an incredible leader in his community and offers much to be learned in the areas of courage and humility. He has planted several churches in the Jinja area, and he oversees a school for orphans and disadvantaged children. He began this work by only the strength of himself and his community, and only later did he look to the help of the west to see the affect of his projects expanded. It was so encouraging to hear his story and how God has used him to immensely bless the community around him. After Jinja, we flew down to Harare, Zimbabwe to work with another local pastor named John Chinyowa. He leads a church in a small town called Marondera, about an hour and half east of Harare. John is the kind of guy that you can get to know just by walking around the places he has been. Every street tells of the generosity he has bestowed, and every face tells of the unconditional love he has poured into his community. He is also the kind of guy that after only knowing for ten minutes, you feel like he has been a closest friend your entire life. We spent most of our time in a children’s home called Musha Wevana, which John helped start some time ago. The children that we met there were some of the sweetest most beautiful souls I have gotten to meet. You can tell that Musha is a place of love and community and faithfulness. There was one girl, Chanteal, who held on to my arm the entire time I was there. She would not let me go and play with any other kids unless she was involved also! One of the mothers at the home told me that when Chanteal was brought to the home as a young child, she was very fearful of other people; and if any men came to the home, she would run and hide. This was clearly not the case while we were there! This is just one of hundreds of stories of hope and healing that has been seen at Musha Wevana…I am beyond grateful that I got to meet the leaders that continue to pour their heart and souls into making sure that these kids know just how special they are, and that they were beautifully and uniquely created to do amazing things in this world!

I am now back in Uganda, and will be here for another three weeks until I leave for Haiti. I cannot wait to see so many of my friends again, and to hear how God has been working in their lives since I left three years ago. I know this time will be challenging: emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and I ask that you would continue to join me in prayer. Big things are stirring, I hardly believe that I will leave this place in any resemblance of when I came. May I have a heart that listens, that hopes, that believes, and that gives without refrain, and may I continue to trust that there is no good that I can do here by my own travail….but that it is God who is beautifully working out His story here, and I get to see and join in a small part of it!