I wrote the following before we left Africa. Internet was spotty when we got back to the Sole Hope House from the Nile River Camp so I ran out of time to post, but I wanted to leave Uganda with these parting thoughts… to leave you with these thoughts…
I’m beyond grateful that you have journeyed with my the past couple of weeks as the eyes of my heart have been opened to see God in a new way.
I’m sitting at a picnic table right now, looking out over the Nile River. Thinking on this time we’ve had and what I’m taking home with me…on what I want to leave you with as I leave this place.
Uganda has wormed its way into my being.
There is also a real possibility that after rope-swinging into the Nile River yesterday, actual worms could have worked their way into my body as well.
The price of adventure I suppose… the price of living with no regrets.
I am different because of my time here.
Of all the hardship that I have seen here…of the tears I’ve shed, and difficultly I’ve swallowed, I need you to know that is not all that I leave knowing of this incredible place.
I leave Uganda with a heart full of hope.
I know the beauty of a land and the beauty of a people that has imprinted my soul.
I am marked by the contagious joy of Betty, Joyce, and Diana who work in the Sole Hope Guest House cooking, cleaning, and tending to the people staying.
I am touched by the kindness of Paul, who serves Sole Hope in Jinja during the week and returns to his family in Kampala on the weekends.
I’m moved by the generosity of Dickson, who at 24 years old and single, has taken in 5 orphans and pays for their school, teaches them how to paint, and gives them hope for a brighter future.
I find myself in awe of Teddy and Lillian who put their nursing skills to work removing jigger after jigger from the tiny feet of the children here… loving and mothering so many who have no mother of their own.
I’m heartbroken for cheerful 12 year-old Dan who was abandoned by his family just 3 weeks ago at the Sole Hope house. Sweet Dan, who stood in court just this week to witness the testimony of his father as he said “I don’t want Dan anymore.” Grateful for Dan…who’s joy is contagious despite the hardship of his young life.
I’m energized by Noonday artisan, Jalia who came to visit us, who’s passion for empowering Ugandan women to feel belonging and responsibility opens doors for real social change.
I’m humbled by the servant hearts of Sole Hope founder Asher Collie and her husband Dru, and of Elisabeth Michal, who left the comforts of long hot showers and personal security in the US to love well the people in front of them here in Uganda. To bend low and raise high the name of our generous Jesus.
I’m in awe of our creative God who varies landscapes across the globe. Our God, who enriches the soil of a land so that it burns with colors of red dirt and lush greenery. Who populates one impoverished country with over 40% of the variety of birds of an entire continent because he oozes with generosity and blessing.
I’m in awe of the kindness of our God to love his people no matter the circumstances. Who burdens hearts with the care of his children across oceans and borders. Who appoints his beloved to humility of service in foot washing and insect removal. Our God who shows off in the smiles of healed children and restored hope.
I am in awe of my God in Africa… and my heart will bring home the new knowledge of Him that has been revealed to me here. He is no different, but He has allowed me to experience other parts of his character that enrich my faith, and encourage my heart in greater understanding of His goodness.
I am ready to see my family. I’m ready to return to my familiar… but I leave knowing that even the familiar will look different because of what the Lord has done in my heart in Africa. The more that I see in this world, the more that I long to walk this life wide-eyed in awe of my Jesus.
And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. – Matthew 20:30–34