Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vision... one step at a time.

Last summer when I was home, preparing to leave for Uganda, I was knees deep in all of my old childhood treasures (or what my dad would call junk that takes up the basement...). I agreed before I left that I would search through the things I left behind and narrow down the space I was taking up. I came across an old assignment I did in the sixth grade asking about my dreams and plans for when I got older... “When I get older, I want to be a missionary in Uganda.” I can remember sitting in the library and talking with my librarian about my aspirations. However, I’m not even sure if I fully knew or understood what a missionary was, or what they do. It was evident that this seed planted in my heart was one placed by the Lord. A deep rooted passion for this country and these people that relentlessly beckons. I must admit, life is not turning out the way I expected it to... if you've walked with me I am sure you've heard me tell you about this. I always talked and made plans of  going to Uganda - but never would I have taken this route, this journey that the Lord has had me on these past few years. I am incredibly thankful, however, that His ways our not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and He has always far exceeded my expectations and imagination. Praise God! The past several years I have been praying for Uganda. When I was a girl I used to write stories about how I wanted to go and help in Uganda... though because of external views I always thought you could only do that sort of thing after you had finished life here in America - or at the very least were well established. You know, the American dream - school, get married, family... after the kids grow up and you make tons of money - that sort of thing. But, I'm constantly reminded of how God choose to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. After all, is there a better time to move to Uganda when you're not married, you have no kids, and just got out of college? In 2011 the Lord took me to Uganda for the first time. I knew this was where He was going to take me long term - but didn’t know where. It was on that trip that  I met a missionary who the Lord placed on my heart to pray for the following year, and vicariously I began praying for a small village called Latodore. Little did I know that my prayers weren’t only for that missionary, but my own heart began to turn for this small village. I never knew if I would see this missionary again, or ever step foot in the village; but in May of 2012 I did. I had the joy of serving in Latodore and Kitgum, a neighboring town just 70 kilometers away. I split my short few months over the summer of 2012 going back and forth between the two, but it was undeniable I had more joy, and found more fulfillment sitting just outside this hut teaching the women the infallible truth of God’s Word. As relationships grew, and I began to ask more questions about the surrounding area it didn’t take long to learn that Latodore sits at the base of a mountain range - and this village is just one of many who had not heard the Gospel.
I began to pray. The book of Luke says “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers in His harvest.” (10:2) That word “send” is the Greek word ekballo. It is far deeper than when we send a friend to the store to grab something. It means to throw, cast, put out, bring forth, and to produce. It’s the relentless beckoning of the Lord to go where He has called. I have been praying ekballo - Lord send your laborers to Northern Uganda... to this mountain range I did not even know the name of! And, my dear friends, He is. 

I recently learned this mountain range is called the Nangeye Mountains. 
It sits between two tribes: the Acholi tribe and the Karimajong. Both are at odds with each other because the Karimajong are a nomadic tribe that originally came to Uganda from Northern Africa - and are known for stealing cattle. The Acholi tribe settled within northern Uganda and southern South Sudan. The Acholi tribe is marked by the devastation of this decades long war. Northern Uganda is where the Lord’s Resistance Army began and even though Joseph Kony has been out of Uganda for years, the devastation and destruction that the people of Uganda faced still has present repercussions.  I remember being able to travel back to Kitgum for my third trip, over just this last Christmas break. Christmas day I sat with beautiful Catherine in ninety degree weather over a plate full of rice, beans and rabbit and we shared what we were most thankful for. Catherine began to explain how she was overjoyed that the Lord had brought us to Kitgum, her friends. She began to open up about her experience being taken captive by the LRA, after she had successfully escaped three times. Her story, and the abuse she endured is one of millions throughout the Acholi tribe and Northern Uganda.  However, there is hope! One of the women I was blessed to teach in a discipleship group lost all seven of her children and her husband, yet was rejoicing because she now knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. The hope and joy of the Lord is spreading... and as I pray, ekbolla - my heart and mind are continually brought back to the Nangeye Mountains. There is a people group in those mountains that have not heard the Good News, have not received the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I shared with you about both the Acholi and Karimajong tribe simply because I see the Lord preparing me. I am going back this year to work with the Karimajong. Last summer I was able to work with the Acholis. The Acholi are just west of the Nangeye Mountains, and the Karimajong are just east of these mountains. Both tribes speak a different language, have different customs - different cultures. But my prayer is that they will come to know the love and grace and gift of Jesus Christ. Isn't it awesome? Do you see how one thought lead to one step and it grew bigger and bigger? 
This fifteen month journey is simply one step closer to a bigger vision, a larger picture that the Lord has been planting in my heart since I was a little girl. I don’t know how it will all come together - but I also did not know when I began praying for that missionary in 2011, my heart and my calling would bring me here. I will learn more about both tribes, more about the Nangeye mountains and where these villages are and how the Lord will send his laborers there. It’s preparation for a bigger calling, and a  journey bigger than I can even fathom right now.

"Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told."
- Habakkuk 1:5

In preparing to go and speak at churches, while I was making a slideshow I came across this picture and didn't even know I had it! (How VERY exciting...) This is me with sweet baby Robert from Latodore with the Nangeye Mountains behind me and my life verse. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart. It will be easier to pray knowing what you have shared.

  2. So would love to be with you over there. Miss it so much. Hope you are blessed and a blessing... day by day, instant by instant. Am still hoping that you will meet my dear ones over there. Gotta hit the store this weekend and the bits sent to you. Heavy on my heart. Sure hope I can send you a bit and piece, too. A scarf/hat if nothing else. Love you, dear grand-girl.