Monday, May 5, 2014

A Promise Fulfilled

After I returned to the states last fall, I felt as if the Lord had dumped a jigsaw puzzle in my lap, and I was frantically trying to place each piece in their right place.

I hate jigsaw puzzles. I remember as a little kid my Aunt Vickie always doing them and asking my sister and I to help her. I would get bored and my attention would quickly go elsewhere. So when the Lord gave me that picture of a puzzle, I wasn't exactly thrilled.

However, as I've found more and more pieces that come together, I see the weaving in of His faithfulness, the truth to each and every promise, and just every now and again, I can take a step back and see the bigger picture. Sure, I still can't figure out what the thing looks like in it's entirety - but He gives me glimpses. And for that I am thankful. Last August I wrote about my vision for the Nangeye Mountains. I reread this post and realized I was very far off on a few things. For example, how to even pronounce the name... that one made me laugh. Or the fact that these people are neither Karamojong nor Acholi, but their own tribe - Nangeye (pronounced Naan-gee-ya). I also learned new things, like the Nangeye people seem to be more culturally similar to the Karamojongs than to the Acholis, and that most speak Ngakarimajong. That, sadly, their native language, Nangeye, is being lost and few in the villages know how to speak it. I learned that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few in this area. So I will continue to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send His laborers, and that I will be one.

This last year as I prepared to move back to Uganda on a more permanent basis, I'll admit I was initially rather disheartened that the Lord asked me to leave Kitgum and Latodore and come to Karamoja. I remember one morning I was driving in my old pick up to my place of employment in northwest Portland. I kept asking the Lord that He would allow me to come back to Kitgum and to work with the women I had already built relationships with. He told me no... which at the time I found absolutely devastating. But now I see His grace, even in that. Later He promised that He would indeed take me back to the mountains, but for now, I just needed to trust Him. I tried, trust is still something that comes in waves in my walk with the Lord it seems. But I set off to Karamoja and that was when I began to see another puzzle piece come together. Karamoja sits to the east of the Nangeye Mountains, and so it was easy to see God moving. I knew His promise would come to pass, but I didn't know when, or how simple it would be.

Saturday God fulfilled His promise. He took me to the Nangeye Mountains, and it was so incredibly beautiful my friends.

Beautiful because of the landscape and His fingerprints in the hills, but also beautiful because I was reminded of His faithfulness in so many ways.

I had heard rumor that there was another woman working in Karenga, a town that sits just adjacent to one of the first villages in the mountains, and that she was working on translating the Nangeye language. I was shocked, because for two years I have been asking if anyone was working in that area and no one knew anything. So my Ugandan friend who came with me and I ventured our way up to the mountains. We stopped in Kaabong first to talk with a man who grew up in one of the villages in Nangeye, and then continued on to meet this person - who I had just been informed wasn't a woman, but actually a young man (apparently he had long hair? So the locals got confused). As the mountains that I used to stare at from our compound in Kaceri got closer and closer my heart rate seemed to speed up with each passing mile! We reached Karenga, and we found the one white man in that area. He walked out of his house and said, "hey! I know you!" My mind tried to trace his face, but he was quicker, "I stayed with you when you lived in Kitgum!" Why yes, yes you did.

The Lord is rather funny. Two years ago when I lived in Kitgum another missionary I worked with had ran into this man, Sam, and a friend who was staying with him during that time. Sam is working on his PHD out of Colorado and so for the past few years he has been taking several months to come and learn more about the Nangeye language for his field studies. I laughed. All this time I had been looking for someone who had been working in that area, and low and behold, I had already met him. We exchanged contacts and now I have another source of amazing info - one more piece of the puzzle.

We spent the rest of the day traveling around the mountains. In and out of villages and I mapped out where Latodore was, where Kaceri sat, and how incredibly close everything actually was. I visited with the villagers and sat in awe of the beauty of this place. All this time I thought my dream to reach the Nangeye Mountains was so far away, that this promise wouldn't be fulfilled until the Lord moved me there. But His ways are not our ways, and His promises always ring true. It was an amazing, AWEsome, very beautiful day.

So... what is next? Well, I have the perfect answer for that:

I have no idea.

I know I am leaving on a plane in fifteen days to journey back to the states. I know I come back three months later and need to be faithful with the puzzle piece He has placed in my hand. One of those being to become fluent in Ngakarimajong (Lord help me!) which will help me when I one day move to the mountains. I will return to Kotido and begin life here in August, a new season and a new piece of the puzzle. Until then, I'll wait for the Author of the Universe to direct my steps. I'm learning He is pretty good at doing that.

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