I mentioned earlier when I posted about a dream, that I would describe another life-changing one. Since then, life has become very busy and challenging; these past few weeks have been buried in Bhutanese [and other] events. Before I fill in some of the gaps about what's been going on, I'm going to tell about the dream.
It really, truly changed my life. Here's the story.
On Labor Day weekend, 2003, Dave and I went to the Cincinnati area to visit friends we had met at the orphanage in Uganda when we were there for our son Sam's wedding in September, '99. Mark was the construction manager. Kim was a "variety" lady and we spent good time laughing. The four of us got along well and always wished we could have more time together, either there or here.
At their home in Ohio, we discussed the fact that the LRA [Lord's Resistance Army], led by Joseph Kony, which was usually in the NW portion of Uganda, had invaded a more central district in June. The main town in that area, Soroti, had been overwhelmed with people fleeing from villages and "bush" areas... the town went from about 50,000 to 130,000 in a very short time, bursting -- not enough water, food, latrines -- not enough of anything.
That evening together, hashing about all the Soroti info, four of us sharing what we knew and had heard, all of us said that we would be willing to send money over to help, but no desire or ability to go to the Soroti area. Dave had his job, Mark was working, Kim was deeply involved with a variety of family needs ... and I had absolutely no desire ever to go to Soroti ... ever, ever, ever.
Labor Day night, after our return from Ohio, I had a dream.
In it, I was walking through a place that was very crowded. Dave was walking behind me, but I didn’t see him, just knew he was there. Suddenly, I was standing by a big garbage dumpster. It was filled to the top, and even overflowing a bit. And, on top of the garbage was a gray cat, sprawled on its back. It was scroungy and the fur was all matted and filthy. It appeared to be dead. However, as I was watching it, its eyes opened and it looked at me very intensely and I felt absolutely overwhelmed with the need to care for this cat. As I figured out exactly what I should do, I was saying over my shoulder to Dave, "I’m sorry to have to do this, because I know you are allergic to cats, but I do have to help it." Then I found a very large towel and carefully wrapped the cat in it so that it would not be able to scratch and bite me as it was feeling pain. My intent was to take it to a vet, since I’m not a medical person. Right after wrapping it, the dream ended.
The next day Dave and I talked about this and wondered if the Lord was asking us to step back into a ministry we had done for years. It had worn us out, in every aspect, and we had stopped. We agreed that if the Lord wanted us to receive it back into our lives, we would do it. We thoroughly see that He is the "Caller" and we are the "Followers".
The NEXT day, I turned on my computer, pulled up the emails, and read a report from our orphanage contact in Uganda, and my emotions kicked in and were exactly what I had felt in my dream. During that day, I emailed my Uganda contacts, found out the airline costs, asked my local friends what they thought about it. I didn't tell Dave. He was at work at the Base and I didn't want to lay this on his plate when he was doing his job.
By the time Dave had come home, I was convinced I was supposed to go to Uganda and help in Soroti any way the Lord asked. Period.
Dave was outside painting our house and I went out and told him that, related to this dream, I was convinced that I was supposed to go to Soroti. Within 10 seconds Dave, knowing that I would never have wanted to, said, "If this is what you believe, get prayer, get ready, and go." It was 2 months before all the details were worked out. I left on November 12.
The challenges? 1) I would be gone 3 months. Dave and I would be separated for 2-1/2 months, a real heart-breaker -- he hoped to come the last 2 weeks, and visit our dear ones and bring me home. 2) Not knowing when or where or how God was going to use me, but knowing it was the right place to go. 3) Not knowing if I would die while in a war zone; consequently, we had our wills updated. When he took me to the airport, we held each other for as long as possible, both on the verge of crying, moment by moment.
I've posted a number of events that occurred over there, people I met who changed my life, people whose lives I changed by being at the right place at the right time. When Dave arrived on January 30th, I was recovering from malaria, had been sleep deprived, malnourished, dehydrated, and was thoroughly exhausted. He definitely had to take care of me.
We returned on February 12, '04. It took months for me to recover from PTS, physically and emotionally nearly destroyed. BUT never once ever wondering if this was the right thing to do or the right place to go.
And, NO, I don't rush into dreams and I very rarely assume they are a message from the Lord. But once in a while...just once in a while... it happens. It has always been worth it.
[The links have the photos of a few of the people I met and stories that fit into this amazing experience.]