As I mull over my feelings, which at any given moment shift from excitement, to sadness, to anxiousness, to fulfillment, and back to sadness, I realize there's no one feeling. I'm excited to be home, but sad to leave. I'm anxious to get back to teaching, but sad to not be around my girls all day. I'm fulfilled by this year, but pondering what lies ahead.
Looking back, I'm first and foremost am so proud of my husband. I don't know what I expected exactly. But whatever it was, I underestimated him. He has been amazing. He was a round peg for a round hole. He fit perfectly into the leadership role that Sixty Feet needed on ground. He's had many jobs - land sales, a real estate agent, youth minister, a teacher/coach. Sometimes I wondered about his direction. But as usual, God showed me He had a plan all along. He took each one of those careers and fused them together. Everything Boog experienced in the past - different managerial styles, sales techniques and relationship building, working with youth, preaching, teaching, knowledge of land, titles, and property....literally every skill was needed in Uganda. But mainly, the God given wisdom, integrity, and character that's been infused in him since he was little, by men and women in his life, has offered more to the people here than anything. To say "I'm proud" doesn't suffice.
Regarding Sixty Feet - I've watched it grow over the years from a handful of in-country staffers to now over 50, mostly Ugandan workers - counselors, nurses, teachers, accountants, office assistants (we have an office!). I'm continually amazed by the investment people are making back home with their finances, time, and prayers to keep this ship running. There are TOO MANY stories from this year. Ones of redemption, victories, families reunited, kids diverted from remand homes....the list is big and grows daily.
Personally, I can't figure out which wins - the sadness of leaving or excitement of going home. I made two lists in my journal the other day. One was "Things I'll Miss About Uganda". The other was "Things I Won't Miss About Uganda." I figured if wrote it down to remember, then I won't be tempted to romanticize Uganda when I return back to the states and LIFE hits.
I'll share a few, in no particular order.
Things I'll Miss:
1. The peaceful, quiet countenance on the faces of Ugandans
2. The babies at Loving Hearts
3. Slow time with my family
4. Meeting new and interesting people
5. Lack of materialism/caring about what you wear or have
6. Being a part of something bigger than myself
7. Living outside of the box
8. Seeing the interns work with incredible diligence & making a difference in a child's life
Things I Won't Miss:
1. sit down showers
2. foam mattresses
3. the guilt of having "wealth" in a poverty-stricken country
4. ants, ants,and more ants in the kitchen...and various other crawley creatures
5. boredom on long days
6. traffic cops wanting bribes
7. living in a compound with guards
8. feeling that every fever is malaria (or worse)
But way beyond that.....I'm thankful for Sixty Feet for giving my family this opportunity. It's one time where we can truly say to Dan and Shelly Owens (the President & his wife) that the pleasure has been ours.
My hope is for Sixty Feet to continue to grow in favor, in gain of relationship with Uganda, its people and government, in establishing a Godly presence inside the remand homes, in friendship and love among the staff, and in solid ground as an organization.
My hope for my family is to not forget this year. Our growth. Our happiness. Our time.
My hope is that the children in the remand homes know that they are the object of many prayers. That countless hours each day are spent working on their behalf. That they are not forgotten. As Mama Catherine said at church, "Though we may have been beaten, raped, our mothers and fathers may have left us....we are a child of the Lord and God loves us."
Uganda and Sixty Feet - we love you and have been forever blessed by you. You are in our prayers.