Monday, May 19, 2014

Home is where the heart is

If home is where your heart is, then, as corny as it may sound, I think my heart is most certainly split in two; broke right down the middle. One half remaining in America and the other waiting for my return here in Uganda.

I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for my 3:50am flight to Turkey, then to New York, then to Portland to be picked up by one of the most special people in the entire world to me. No doubt I am blessed... but as I sit here and reflect on these last few weeks, I am not sure I can even put words to the stark contrast of my last days here, and the thing the Lord continually reminds me to do.

Two weeks ago in Kotido I was staying at home by myself. The rest of my wonderful team traveled down to Kampala for a little R&R, and I got a spoonful of life in "the city." Our friend Maria came to Kerri and Andrew's house in seek of help. Maria walks on her hands due to a disability and has seven kids in her care with no husband or man to oversee and help provide or protect. The Meadors and the Williams have both been helping Maria during their time here. She bear crawled onto our compound, heavy hearted and eyes full of tears to tell me that her son died, and to ask for help to go to the village and inform the rest of the family. I had no words, left speechless as this beautiful momma told me she wanted nothing more than to die after the tragic loss of her sweet boy. I prayed, because I knew the only true comfort during times like this comes from the Lord.

But it didn't stop there.

When Kerri and Andrew returned we were greeted by friends from one of our village churches. They came to inform us of the murder of one of our elder's wives. So Thursday, after our Moses Project meeting, Andrew and I went to see our friend and to pray. I can't comprehend losing a spouse, but his face gave me a pretty good picture, and her body below the earth within the manyata made it easy to imagine the pain. We prayed, because we knew the only true comfort during times like this comes from the Lord.

But it didn't stop there.

That same Thursday we went out to see the elder, one of my Moses Project mommas didn't show up. Sometimes, it takes a while to get things running regularly on this side, but this particular momma always showed up, and was always early. So I though it was quite strange when she didn't show up. We heard different stories, but by Saturday morning the truth came out that the husband that inherited her had beat her rather brutally. The Meadors and I traveled out to Kaceri to see how she and the baby that was on her back was doing... I'll spare you the details, but once again, I prayed, because I knew the only true comfort during times like this comes from the Lord.

And it still continued... As gun shots fired and we later were informed of those shots killing a young man for a simple cultural injustice.

I wish it ended there, but... they say when it rains it pours. I found myself incredibly sick, puking every five minutes for nearly six hours, excruciating stomach pain and an 'emergency' trip down to 'better medical care' in Kampala to find I had a bad case of salmonella and bilharzia. (So thankful it wasn't anything more severe, and for a wonderful team willing to make the long trek down just to make sure I was ok!)

It was a heavy week, no doubt about that.

But the week that followed, oh, well my friend, that was pure joy; and as I said a stark contrast to the week before. Nights full of laughter, speed boat rides to a tropical island at sunset, holding my baby caracal, tickling a chimpanzee, cuddling with a baby elephant, good food, and priceless time spent with a soul sister. It could have been as if nothing even happened the week before. And as much fun as I had, I didn't like that. I didn't like how easy it was to just submit to the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality, as is our American culture. And I don't want that to be a precedent in my life.

As I process all of this, a word keeps coming to my mind - REMEMBER.

"You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you" Deuteronomy 15:15 

Over and over again throughout the bible the Lord tells the Israelites to remember. Remember who you were, remember your enslavement, remember how I fed you from My hand with manna and quail, remember how I delivered you from your enemies, remember how I always provided for you... remember, remember, remember.  If we are wise and learn from the Israelites, we quickly see that they failed to remember; and that it brought them nothing more than heartache, the weight of sin, and walking down the road that took them 40 years rather than a week long journey.

As I prepare to go home, I want to remember. I want to remember my friend Maria and the loss of her son. I want to remember that life is precious, and as overrated as it may sound, we aren't promised tomorrow. But more than anything, I want to remember how the Lord redeemed me. Because we can easily hype up Africa to be this awful, sad place. You know, where murder and death and disease is prominent - and it can be, don't get me wrong... but at the end of the day, all of our human hearts struggle with the same fleshly desires and the death of sin - regardless of our geographical location. I believe the Lord called the Israelites to remember, so that they were able to overcome that; and I believe He still calls us to do the same.

So as I sit in this airport and get ready to head back to the other mother land with half of my heart, I want to remember His redemption. How He redeemed me from miry pit as the psalmist says, and how the hope that I have in Jesus is the only comfort we have in this life. I want to remember where He pulled me from, and the things He redeemed me from. Because when we remember those things, we are brought to our knees in thanks, ears open for wherever He leads us next... that's where I want to be.


  1. I needed this today!!! Thanks E. You are a blessing. Safe travels and hope to see you soon :-)
    Jenn B.

  2. YOU have been used in an amazing way! I have been so filled with love for you, concern, appreciation, approval. Would love to see you on either side of the world. AND, if somehow you can come to our area, you have a place to stay and some things to see. AND when you are home, you can get down to see Ruth's family, meet MY family there, etc. Want it to go with you in significant amazement. You are a blessing.

  3. Amina! And, Amen. I love you Elise! See you soon, Love.

  4. Amen sweety. You're heart is beautiful. Be safe and keep your eyes open for what is next in your adventure. Love you!