Friday, January 24, 2014

Thief of Joy

 Trails to Run in Uganda

I remember back in 2008 (gosh, 6 years ago now!) when Boog ran his first marathon with our friend from California.  Then later, he crossed over to trail running and began small - a 10k here, a 25k there. Soon came the 50 miler. Then the 100k....He always remembers when he first started running trails, struggling with a 25k, he would look over at the guy next to him and say, "What are you running today?".  Sometimes the response would be, "Just a 50 miler..."

Comparison can totally be the thief of joy, right??

And really, comparison might not be the right word. It's more perspective.  And here is where this blog begins.

Last year, when we came over during our summer and volunteered with 60 Feet, two months seemed like an incredibly long time.  From the perspective of folks like us, who had been on several "mission trips" of the week/two week kind, two months was quite a stretch.

Then, we commit to a year.  A year seemed like forever when we set off...until we arrived and started meeting other Americans (or Australians or Brits or Dutch) who looked a bit incredulous when we said we're here for "just a year".  "Why, you are barely getting to know the place after a year!" was a common response we heard (their perspective!).  In talking, we've found so many ex-pats who haven't just committed to 3-5 years, but are here indefinitely.  Sold their homes, sold their stuff, sold their lives back home to create a life abroad. Their children go to international schools or are at boarding schools in Kenya. They've taken the time to hang pictures on their walls (a big sign that you are settling in) and accepted the fact that once-a -year furloughs back to wherever they call home are all they get.

So what seemed like a big commitment to us now, honestly, seems to pale in comparison to what technically could be called "real" commitment.

Oh....I could get bogged down in the details of that crack-crazy, slippery-slope concept.  Are we really sacrificing enough? Are we staying long enough? Have we done ENOUGH??   Good grief.  Thief of Joy.  My husband sometimes has to give me a good shake when I start to wallowing about nonsense like this....

What I  know is I am absolutely certain the hills of Kampala are a gorgeous sight to see, 
but from the perspective of the kids inside these prison walls below.....
they represent something much more than aesthetics.

Comparison at home in America (bigger house, nicer car, better job...) can definitely hog the happiness. And even here, where a friend once wisely said it's a lot of  "us dying to us",  sometimes prestige is placed on who is staying longer, who is working in the more 'dangerous' places....and the guilt of whether or not to go or stay. I find it's absolutely crazy what we humans can do to ourselves mentally!

My daughters and I had a morning bible lesson about the rich landowner who gave his three employees money to use wisely. One buried it with no gain, one invested small and profited, one invested large and smartly and received back enormous gain.  That parable can translate pretty easy .... don't squander your gifts given from God.  One gift is your abilities. The "investment" isn't about length or danger or in-country or out-of-country, it's the investment of your heart to the work.  The reward will be great if you give your heart - all of it -to what you've been called to do, in whatever country, town, or home, in whatever form, and with whatever amount of time and sacrifice you can give.

The mission of Sixty Feet is still the same.
Bring hope to the imprisoned children of Uganda.
And that comes in many forms...justice, medical, counseling, education, etc.
And the workers give of their time & hearts.
And the profit is Large.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013, wow....

How can I begin to describe the whirlwind of a year 2013 has been for our family?  
Nuts. Just nuts.

It's the year we went from being two school teachers in a town that's not even a dot on a map, to deciding in just one week that we would move across the world to work with 60 Feet. What can I say about that decision? Just one thing. God would not let me say no.  I absolutely did not want to go, but I knew I had to say yes and my husband, wisely, allowed me to come to my own decision on that.

It's the year I began to homeschool my girls and found a great co-op to join in Kampala.

It's the year I went back to my beloved Hope International School.  Seeing familiar faces, watching my girls  (especially Grace) really pitch in and help, loving on the kiddos.....all goodness.

It's the year we joined in on our first international field trip. 
My girls got the bonus of a camel ride that day...

It's the year of an 85 degree Christmas season and decorating cookies with new friends.

 And where homemade Christmas ornaments decorated our 4 foot tree.

It's the year where my intentions were to have a small (ie. few presents) Christmas, but because of sweet  friends and family back home sending all kinds of goodies, my girls enjoyed the fun of opening many gifts!

It's the year where right after opening our own gifts, we headed to Bwerenga Village to give out gifts collected by my home church thousands of miles away....the smiles and thank you's that day were amazing.

It's the year we killed and ate our first Christmas turkey present given by our friend, Odong.

It's the year where our family and friend flew in for the holidays.  
Just in time, too, because we were missing home quite a bit during Christmas.

It's been an incredible year.  Full of faith steps, growth, growth, and more growth.

It's the year where I learned a lot about myself, to be honest. I peeled back a few ugly layers and put in some work.  It's the year where I learned that my marriage to my handsome husband isn't a cakewalk, but it certainly helps if you know you are walking it together - in love and, very often, with laughter. It's the year where I've been SO proud of my husband, too, and the work he's put in with 60 Feet Uganda.  The blessings on him with wisdom and leadership have been abundant. It's the year I'm realizing my oldest girl is growing and maturing into a young woman.  I'm currently praying about how to earn her heart and trust now....before she really starts to fly.  And at the same time, it's the year where my baby, my youngest, is turning her imagination up to full speed.  I love watching her flit around.....
and then I wonder if she's really the last?

While I am always excited about what lies ahead, I have to say 2013 will be hard to beat.
In 2014, we have some decisions to pray about ....coming home, jobs, moving forward....
so many things.  But trusting God with our obedience, 2014 will be equally as amazing.
 No matter where our location. 

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