Tuesday, November 29, 2011
"YOU MUST COME..."
In 1986, our friend, Joe, from a local Bible school, brought a Ugandan pastor to our house for dinner. It was our first time to hear the Uganda history and present-day circumstances outside of the world news concerning the civil wars. A couple hours later, as they were leaving, Pastor Patrick said, casually, "Come to Uganda. You would like it." I thought, "Sure. Sometime that might be nice."
Three years later, he returned for a couple of months to attend the school. Again, Joe brought him over. Again, we ate and talked and thoroughly enjoyed each other. And, again, as they started to walk out the door, Patrick turned -- and I just knew he was going to say that we should visit Uganda. However, as he looked at us, he pointed at us very firmly and said, very strongly, very intensely, "You MUST COME to Uganda!" And as he was pointing, a God-calling arrow slammed into my heart. I was overwhelmed, and from that time forward, I followed through very seriously about when we should go, how we could go, and where we should stay. And a variety of doors opened.
Patrick made that statement in the Fall of 1989. A year later, we were nearly prepared to go, depending on passports, visas, money, and international challenges -- for instance, the day before we left in January, '91 the Gulf War began. [Two days before we returned, it ended.]
Since then, in just more than 20 years, we have been in Uganda a few times, sometimes several months, other times several weeks.
We have a son, daughter, grandchildren, many other dear ones who consider us family.
We have been thrilled to see the source of the Nile, the rolling hills covered with palm trees and banana groves, the blessing to eat fresh pineapple and the wonderful pigmy bananas and drink passion fruit juice. See giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, golden-crested cranes, yard-based monkeys.... and, thankfully, dead pythons and cobras.
Friendship with piles of missionaries from piles of different nations.
And fitting in just fine.
My husband fixing anything electricity/generator-oriented that came across his path, and teaching computer and piano and music theory.
Me? Hanging out and making friends. A secretary. Teaching. Running errands from place to place, for person after person. Shopping, cleaning, doing whatever was needed.
Can't say there weren't tough and sometimes scary times... but CAN say it was the right place to be at the right time.
The hardest one for me, especially since my husband couldn't go, was helping Ugandan pastors and others in Soroti in late 2003/early 2004 after the district had been invaded by the LRA [Lord's Resistance Army] with adults and kids abducted and forced to "steal, kill, and destroy". And I was requested to interview the kids who had escaped or been rescued, and listen to their stories. I had to keep my face "straight" while my heart, while looking at and listening to them, was exploding. It was one of the best "God-jobs" I've ever had... and more painful than I could ever have imagined.
Usually, when the Lord is giving me some instructions, He says "Go...". That has opened many amazing doors for me, especially the Bhutanese "world" where I now live on a daily basis in mid-Omaha. I'd never have guessed that nation was going to become a main focus of my life!
However, in 1989, when the word "COME" was spoken, overwhelming my heart, it opened a whole new world for me. I have rejoiced ever since.
[Enjoy the "Come" carnival.]