My heart was literally jumping inside of my chest as I made my trek to the village last Tuesday. The corners of my mouth could have cracked from the smile across my face. Bumping and jostling down the looong red dirt road, further and further into the bush; knowing at the end of the road, I would be reunited with some passionate and beautiful people. When I arrived I was loudly and extravagantly welcomed, indeed my friends had remembered me! I wish I could have recorded it. Words can’t describe the joy that filled the air. I will forever remember that special memory.
When returning to Bulabakulu I tried not to have any expectations. Knowing it had been two years since I had lived here. But as with anything, I did… I expected some things to be the same: children to scream when they see my skin color because they are not familiar with white skin, enjoying the challenge in pumping 20 liters of water into my jerry-can and walking a half mile uphill to bathe, short days due to no electricity, choosing wherever I want my “bathroom” to be (that can be quite interesting at night in the bush!), and my friends both young and old to remember me.
I was excited to see improvements had been made! All the structures are now permanent! They also have running water and toilets! This is major people! To my surprise, I also found 8 other muzungus here. Instantly my frame of mind shifted…wait other people know about this place?? How? How long had they been here? What were they doing? I had been prepared to go through the culture shock all over again; no running water, the challenge of communication, skin color, etc. If you know me you know I enjoy adventure, so when I saw my challenges were no more I was somewhat let down. Excited for the advancements in the community, but wondering how life here would differ. I took a step back and realized God knew about ALL of these things and still chose to send me. He has a plan. I was forced to find comfort in that plan and I still am. The other white people here do not believe in the Jesus I follow. It is easy to share your faith across the world, people either take it or leave it. But I have a fear of being stero-typed when sharing Christ with people from my country. I am not ashamed of the one who saved my soul, but I am ashamed of the ones who distorted the picture of a Jesus lover. So of course I am continually searching for the lesson and growth to be gained in this experience of both discipling my village family and trying not to distance myself from the others.
Many of the projected ‘projects’ I had mentioned have been done or are no longer a need. Yet another let down. But I believe this too, God knew. Maybe this is so I focus more on the root of why He sent me here. To disciple. Plain and simple. If nothing more gets done, it doesn’t really matter.
My first night here I was the only white person. I knew it would be this way, but when the reality of night hit I was beyond frightened. Fear got the best of me and I couldn’t shake it. (remember that night fall here is pitch black everywhere no lights near or far) I prayed that God would provide comfort for me. At 10 pm I chose to walk to Immy’s (my African mom) house and seek refuge. She was more than welcoming, taking me into her house and eager to know what was bothering me. She was understanding and had compassion…just like someone else I know. We then walked to her friend’s home and Immy requested she stay the night with me in my room.
Mind you…I had never met this lady until now and couldn’t make out the lines of her face. So now, this big Ugandan woman who hardly looked me in the eye has been woken from her slumber and asked to sleep with a muzungu. With me. In my room. So much for sleep tonight.
That night I drift in and out of sleep all night. Reading a book of promises my mom had made me and praying, for anything! And keeping an eye on this Ugandan roommate who I don’t know from joe. Desperately trying to make it to morning and get things figured out.
Oh, but I was once again mysteriously wooed by my heavenly Father. Around 4 am I read a verse about Christ being my provider of comfort (I have read verses like this all my life, but this time something clicked) I hardly finished the verse before my body totally relaxed and I fell deep asleep.
When I woke I greeted the woman who had stayed the night. I asked for her name and she replied “Favour”. My heart leaped when she said her name.
|Favour and I- teaching me how to sew on the no electricity machine :)|
“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness. I will take hold of your hand and keep you. I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”