Friday, July 11, 2014

Fully Funded and Living

"Elise, Elise," she whispered, "wake up! We want to spend some time with you this morning." And so I stumbled out of bed and joined my dear friends for our last breakfast, picked up their now one year old boy as he layed his head down on my chest to give 'Auntie Elise' hugs. He screeched and smiled with those dimples that make your heart melt as I tipped him upside down. We took pictures and exchanged hugs and as quickly as it began I found myself climbing into my car, driving away... and crying.

And so it begins. The season of goodbyes, once again. And it's bitter and it is sweet all at the same time. I was reminded this morning that this time is precious. I know the next time I see the young little faces, the babies will be toddlers and the toddlers will be going on teenagers. And that part, it never gets easy. Sometimes I find myself wondering, asking the what-if questions. What if I stayed in America? Would I post my happy married photos like the rest of the Facebook world? Would I get the good social work position advocating against sex trafficking or working in a prison? What if I was able to be an active presence in the life of my nieces and nephews? What if I could eat yogurt everyday?  What if's never get us very far except down a road of discontentment, so I try to come back to reality. You know... the crying in your car slap in the face reality that makes you thankful.

Yes, thankful. If I sit and think about what a blessing those tears are. Thankful that they represent love and support given by good friends, and to know that they are not the last. That there will be even more heartbreaking goodbyes and longer hugs to give as I prepare to go back to my other home. And that my friends, that is a know that you are so loved.

I was reminded again of that love this morning as I sat and read Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. "For we know brothers, loved by God, that He has chosen YOU" (1 Thess 1:4). I stopped to soak in the life of those words.


Chosen for what? What does that even mean? Paul answers in chapter 2. Chosen to share the gospel: "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us" (2:8).  The dear ones for Paul were the Thessalonians during that season, for me it is the Karimojong.

(photo by Lainey Johnson)
This morning I was reminded of love, but I was also reminded of life. Life that comes alive when an illiterate woman from the village is able to pick up the Living Word and read it to her children. Life that comes when a sick baby is able to get medical treatment because of the money given by a faithful tither. Life found sitting with a mother who was just beaten by her husband or the man who just lost his wife and being able to love in the middle of the mess and present hope. Life that comes from sharing not only the gospel, but my life in Karamoja.

Yep... this is life. This is the life I love, and the life I'm blessed to go back to.

Don't get me wrong, it's been a blast being in America, and you better believe that I will continue to live it up these next six weeks; but amidst the business, the speaking engagements, the early morning coffees and the late night heart to hearts - I hear my King whisper and remind me what is life.

"For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy." (1 Thess 3:8; 2:19-20)

I'm thankful that even in the middle of the hard goodbyes, He has reminded me of life. AND! That He has has once again blown me away with His provision fully funded to return to this blessed life in Karamoja.

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