The last month has been a rollercoaster! For those of you who don’t know… last spring when I was in Uganda, I purchased a plot of land to build a “babies home” (better known as a Christ-centered, stable and loving, transition home; more to come on how the home/compound will be run). In January it became evident that the time was drawing near to begin the process of getting back to Uganda, with the intent of breaking ground on the property in Banda; a lot of the money needed to build had been donated without even fundraising and a couple people in my immediate community and beyond have stepped up and expressed a desire to serve alongside me.
So I began gearing up to return to Uganda… 40+ dozen cupcakes later, not only were my arms tired from mixing 30 pounds of buttercream frosting, but I had a plane ticket! Check.
The following weekend I went skiing in West Virginia with my brothers and some friends for one last hoo-rah! Let’s keep the story short and just say that I didn’t come home in one piece. I thought, ‘why did this happen to me? I am supposed to go to Uganda this week. This wasn’t in the plan!’ I still don’t know why I was injured and spent another week at home, but I have to believe it was for a reason. I know in that time I was able to prepare my heart more fully for the adventure ahead and just relax. With a knee injury and not being able to walk, I didn’t have much of a choice, but to sit back and chill-out. I think that alone is reason enough for my injury. After seeing the orthopedist, he ruled out any torn ligaments, just a sprain to my MCL and a possible torn meniscus and sent me for an MRI.
After a weekend of praying for God to just show up, because I was utterly confused, this is what happened…. When I saw my orthopedist again he was baffled (as baffled as all-knowing orthopedists get); he kept messing with my knee and looking at the MRI and back and forth and back and forth. I think he said, “kid, I don’t know how you lucked out. You should have had more of an injury.” I just smiled and waited to hear the precious words I was hoping to hear…”you are cleared to go to Uganda.” He said them with a tone of bewilderment and hesitancy, but I knew without a doubt, those words were final, I was healed. And so I ran home and bought the soonest plane ticket I could.
Now, 4 days later, I am on a plane cruising over the Atlantic Ocean. What an adventure already! Needless to say, my trip has been shortened by several weeks. I will be abroad for only a month. If it was up to me, buying a plane ticket all the way over there isn’t worth it for such a short stay; but I believe God wants to show up extraordinarily in a brief amount of time.
Due to my down-time healing and as it became evident that my trip was being shortened, I began really stressing out about breaking ground on the property in Banda. It just didn’t seem possible. I became so unsettled about it and confused! One morning as I was having a pity-party, waddling around on my crutches and lamenting over what is supposed to be happening in Uganda… my mom simply said, “What if this trip isn’t about the agenda you’ve made? What if it’s simply meant to build relationships with your neighbors in Banda?” and almost instantly it was like the sunshine rays broke through the clouds! Thanks mom. J
From the American standpoint, everything was all clear! Just as easy as making another high-rise on the coast. But that’s exactly what the process had become. An impersonalized project, intended to better the community, but wrongly approached. My heart was still centered on Christ and the people of Banda, but the way I began to execute it, was very western. As I write this I am realizing how BEYOND thankful I am for the step-back.
So this trip looks different than what I originally thought, but I have such a peace about the goals. I plan to meet with three different ministries and learn from various things they are already doing in Uganda and possibly establish relationships with them. I also plan on gearing-up to break ground in December. The main goal however, is being with the people of Banda. These people are who is going to carry-out this vision of a brighter Banda. If the people do not feel valued and like their opinion matters, from the beginning, why would they ever jump on board? They aren’t an after-thought once the building has been built, they are a fore thought and deeply valued. I am using some material from Ideo.com called Human Centered Design as a means of getting to know Banda, the people and their needs. I am so very excited! (finding out about Ideo and HCD, was another piece of fruit that came about during my recovery period, thanks Grant and Marissa!)
If you have read along this far, I should thank you.
I ask that you pray alongside me. I am arriving with an expectant heart. That God will indeed show up, in an extraordinary way in an seemingly brief amount of time. I just have a feeling and indeed it is a good one that brings comfort and peace.
Talk to you soon,
(my given African name; meaning peace)