Okay. So it's literally been a few seasons of life since I last posted. My last post was on my thoughts upon returning from a two month stay in Uganda, Africa. This post, ironically, is about what is now our first weekend of an entire YEAR stay in Uganda. So, to catch up, what we thought was going to be a leisurely family summer of a Wyoming vacay and relaxation, turned into a whirlwind of praying, fundraising, planning, and packing after accepting the offer from Sixty Feet to return to Uganda to help the staff in country....for a year or more. Did I already mention a year?? Let me say it again. A year.
Now, to well-traveled people, missionaries, or adventurous folks - a year in Africa sounds uh-mazing. But to me - homebody, lover of all things Chipotle & Chick-fil-a, not to mention my great job......a year was too big of a commitment. But God had other plans and after talking it over, and praying (yeah, don't forget that!), we decided against most all our families' wishes to go. So......we go.
And here's a pic of we going. My girls' memory proved strong as they traversed familiar territory in Dubai, our layover city...things weren't quite as "scary" as they were the last time. But one thing was different - both my girls got airsick this time. At the same time! The poor souls around us just watched in horror as both my girls gagged away in plastic bags, turning shades of white & green. It was wonderful.
This pic is obviously BEFORE the incident
For me, the trip was very familiar. Third time here. The first was totally new and unnerving. The second was a little easier. This time - it was total calm. Even as we arrived in the Entebbe Airpo rt in Uganda, I whisked the girls off the plane to the familiar smells & sounds of Africa. It was almost like this was just like any other trip. Except it wasn't.
We spent the first day getting acclimated. The team had already set up our rooms with a few groceries and toiletries.....and then - we slept. And slept. Jet lag seriously caught up to us. Day two was good fun. We spent the morning worshipping with the heart & soul of Sixty Feet - Bwerenga Village. Church lasted, ahem, over 3 hours....but hugging the necks of Momma Catherine, Pastor Earnest, Boaz and all our friends was truly, truly precious. We surprised them. I think they are used to Americans visiting. I don't think they are as used to Americans coming back. It was a morning full of hugs and well wishes.
The school below is a part of the Bwerenga Village. I taught here last year and plan to again some this year. It's been painted purple & orange, but the kids were the same. They took a few seconds to look me over and then immediately, "Teacha Flo, Teacha Flo!!" I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to see some of the same young, sweet faces....just a year older.
Grace caught part of the sweet action when one of the many babies in the church (who are incredibly patient throughout the 3 hour service!) crawled into her lap and planted himself there. It was love.
And below is a picture from last year and one from today of myself and my cutie patootie friend. I was SO glad he hadn't forgotten me. In fact, he never let go of my hand until we got in our car to leave.
So. What to say about this first weekend? It's had it's highs and lows. I can't lie and say it's been easy. High points have been the miraculous way God has just calmed my nervousness. I have felt more at ease in this city than I ever have before. I think I'm ready to attempt driving here in a few days (which if you saw traffic here, you'd realize what a feat that would be!). Other highs include the Sixty Feet team being so welcoming and gracious and accepting of the help we are here to provide. And Sophie....little Sophie earned the trophy in our house for acclimating the easiest. She's had no trouble whatsoever here. None. She's slept like a baby, ate well for her picky self, and has generally been just smooth sailing.
Lows, to be honest, include a late night talk with Grace as she was shedding tears from missing her family back at home.....God provided the words for me because I'm not always the best communicator. (I do better writing!) I know this will be hard for her because this year, she's 9. And 9 is close to the age where you can start seeing outside your parents....you start needing your friends and stability. So I know that I will have to be extra cautious about her needs here. Lows also include a tinge of the "insecurity" attack. There is SO much to do and things to be done with 60 Feet's ministry. Administration needs, prison needs, team needs, and hundreds more. What will we be able to help with here? Are our strengths and gifts lining up to what Sixty Feet's ministry really needs at this stage in their growth? Can we do all of this AND keep our marriage and family in good standing AND be able to handle being away AND.....the list goes on.
Thankfully, we have prayer warriors at home. That term is so overused, but I know that those people who keep those call lines to God busy morning, noon, and night are keeping us covered. So our strength and purpose here will remain in tact. And to shorten a thought from C.S. Lewis, " My confidence lies not in who I think God is, but who He knows himself to be."