Tuesday, November 29, 2011


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 w
ere 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 th
e 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 m
issionaries 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.]


Glynn said...

A simple word leads to an entire journey. Wonderful story.

A Joyful Noise said...

The words GO and COME are certainly related. Your amazing story touches my heart. God bless you continually as you listen to his voice.

Beth said...

Simply told and deeply touching, Jo.
I have not been led to a foreign country, but I was led to a tiny high school I had only heard of and never seen (despite living 30 minutes away for a good chunk of my life).
After being laid off from my job there and returning to Cinci for a year, I didn't want to leave Cinci and the joy of actually living with my husband again. But that God arrow had struck me too, and I knew I had to return.
It's been difficult at times and still is, but that God arrow is yet to point elsewhere, and just as He points, He also provides all that I need to follow and be obedient.

Anonymous said...

so glad you went... when God called for you to go

S. Etole said...

That's one unusual bird! Enjoy seeing the photos from your trips.

MikeSnow said...

Wow, what a wonderful story. [And love your picture of Mt.Ranier]

I found this from the 'Come' carnival. Hope we will all find opportunities to offer the Lord's invitation, "Come," this Advent season and until He shall come again.
"...This is the peace of which the shepherds heard.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.”
…This peace offer still stands today. In the final invitation of the New Testament, it is offered to all:
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

… Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!”
If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

… Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

The conclusion from Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914