Another country means another blog, but it also means another place that God has completely and fully captured my heart, and totally upheaved and overturned my outlook on this world and my relationship with it.
Here in Mbale, Uganda we worked with an orphanage/school called Lulwanda Children’s Home. Every day we’d wake up, drive to the school, and spend the day with the most loving, smiling, faith-filled people you could imagine. Yet every day I’d hear new stories from these same people that totally rocked me to the core. They have been through so much. Every single one of them has their own heart-breaking story engrained into their soul and it makes you wonder how they manage to still smile so big, and how their eyes still shine so bright, and how they can possibly have faith in our God after what they’ve been through. But that’s just it! They have a (not so little) thing called FAITH. They don’t just have faith though, they have faith that surmounts to so much more than you’d believe. They don’t have faith despite their past, they have faith because of their past. They believe and trust in our Lord and Savior because He brought them out of their circumstances and gave them each a new family in Christ, in Lulwanda, and in people like our team.
In school, these kids learn solely off of memorization and textbooks. They learn science, but never get to experience it hands-on. So, the Thrasher team, another awesome group serving at Lulwanda, decided to put on a science fair and have kids do different experiments. Cait and I were in charge of the “quicksand” station. Basically you mix cornstarch and water (you might know it as ooblik), and it makes this crazy magical substance that teaches kids about viscosity and surface tension. It was one of the messiest and most fun stations, so we constantly had kids around us playing with it outside. Even during tea time (their breakfast) kids were around us, and one of the days this lead to one of the most meaningful conversations I had while here in Africa.
A P-6 (6th grade) girl named Diana decided to share with us a bit of her story, and it totally changed my view of life. She grew up in a really poor home. She couldn’t afford school the first part of her life. Last year her parents couldn’t even afford to buy her a textbook that cost 200 shillings (1 U.S. Dollar is roughly 3000 shillings), but instead of complaining or giving up and blaming the world for her situation, she prayed. She prayed that God would bring her out of her circumstances. She prayed that God would help her family. Now she is at Lulwanda. She goes to one of the best primary schools in Mbale, has a sponsor that supports her financially, and still has faith so big. She looked at us and, with the biggest smile, said, “Things are still hard. I prayed for more support so I could afford supplies for next term, but they haven’t come yet. That doesn’t mean I stop praying though. I will keep praying because God is my provider and He will provide. I have friends in my village that are still at home all day because their families cannot afford to educate them, but I tell them to just believe in our Lord, our Provider, because when you do that, He will come through.”
I long to have faith like Diana. I think that growing up in America, as part of the richest 98% of the world, it is so easy to forget how important it is to trust in the Lord for all of our provisions. We are convinced that we can get by in life on our own because we are never stretched to a place where all that we have to lean on is faith.
I read a blog last Fall when the song “Oceans” was extremely popular that demanded Christians stop singing it. At first I was taken aback because it is a really great song that I personally love to jam to in worship. Although, being here, I’ve realized that they were so right. We can so easily stand in our multi-million dollar church buildings or sit in our A/C filled cars or suburban homes and sing about His Spirit leading us out into the great unknown where our feet may fail. Although, until we are ready to actually obey that call and follow Him out into a world where people need Him just to get from one day to the next, why say the words at all? So many of these people grow up knowing nothing but a life of poverty, abandonment, torture, and hardship. Every single day they are put into a place where they must have faith to get by. They literally live the call that is the interlude of “Oceans.”
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
We sang this song in team worship a couple nights ago and all I could think about was Diana and every child/staff member at Lulwanda that has a story so similar to hers, and a faith just as big.
My heart is being broken for our Lord’s people. They’re here and they are always looking to Him for their eternal hope in everlasting life, so why aren’t we doing the same? This world is not our home. Pray. Serve. Love relentlessly, because the more we give of ourselves here on earth, the greater our reward and the greater our family will be in our eternal home: Heaven. And if that’s not motivation enough to follow His call and live our lives in radical abandon to Jesus Christ, then I don’t know what is.
HERE ARE SOME FUN PICS OF MY MOST FAVOURITE PEOPLE EVER 🙂