Two questions. Two simple, innocent questions. Questions I have been asked countless times. Questions that seem so easy, so harmless; why are their answers so difficult? Why are the words so hard to find?
It's difficult for many reasons. I begin to describe my trip and what I did, then I see the friend I am talking to start to lose interest. Do they really even want to know about my trip? Or do they just ask because they know it's how I spent my summer?
Those two months changed my life. I can't water it down. I can't give you a reader's digest version. It was 2 months FULL of love, FULL of life, FULL of healing, FULL of meaning, FULL of friendship, FULL of Christ. I don't ever want to downplay those 2 months.
But it's hard - it's so hard to put into words my experience.
Ernest Hemingway once said, "write hard and clear about what hurts." I do my best. Here is my greatest effort to capture the adventure of my life in Uganda. Why does it hurt? Because I'm no longer in Uganda. Because I left the people I came to love. Because the Lord broke my heart for what breaks His. Because my eyes were opened to the great need of so many people, while I live in surplus at home.
How was your trip?
Incredible. Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous. Radical. Awesome. Stellar. Excellent. Spectacular.
What did you do while you were there?
I built friendships.
While in Uganda, I created lasting friendships. I still speak with my friends from Uganda regularly. The people there made a lasting impression on my life. They live in such a way that inspires me. They inspire me because they truly rely on The Lord to show up every day and provide for their every need. They are so filled with joy. It was impossible to walk around the hospital or a village or into town without seeing several people smile. But these people truly cared about me. They wanted to know about my life and who I am and what I do and how I live. I became sick once I came back and they have covered me in prayer and ask almost daily how I am feeling and what the latest update is. I developed deep friendships with some of the most incredible people on earth -- and it happened in such a short time. I am so thankful for the conversations I had and the relationships I developed. The Lord was at work in each conversation and in each friendship.
I shared Christ.
I was able to witness people give their lives to Christ. What a joyous occasion to be able to celebrate individuals enter the kingdom and become a part of the family forever! The week-long outreach in Gulu impacted me as much as it impacted the people we were teaching. They taught me just as much about love and faith and service as I could show them through the life of Jesus Christ in God's word. The small group conversations with the women in Gulu were truly incredible - they showed their faith as well as their faithfulness to The Lord. It was inspiring. I was touched and I saw The Lord show up several times as they shared personal stories. Our God is great.
I held babies.
I'll let you in on a little secret. I have always LOVED kids. KIDS. Never been a fan of babies. They cry and pee and poop and puke. Sometimes they're cute, but I've never had the urge to hold one. Until Uganda. Oh boy did I fall in love with hundreds of babies. They captivated my heart. I held babies and loved on them like the Father loves me. It was so heartwarming to see the moms of each child smile so big each time I held their son or daughter. It's not often someone outside the family wants to hold their child; so for an outsider to come and show their child love is a really big deal to them -- especially if their child has hydrocephalus or spina bifida. But how can you not love those precious babes? It's a direct look into the Father's heart. He loves them. I love them. Each child was so filled with joy. Oh how I love them. I wanted to keep them all.
I worked in a hospital with the most incredible staff.
The staff at CURE Uganda is absolutely stellar. To have a group of so many incredible individuals in one workplace is like a dream come true. I fell in love with each person I met. They all extended such a warm welcome and they exuded the love of Christ both to me as well as to each patient and their family. They truly are healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God. These spectacular people taught me so much about medicine, life, and Christ. They are so selfless. They work long, hard hours and they truly do love each and every patient that is brought through the doors of CURE Uganda. Each patient received fantastic care because the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, surgeons, and other hospital staff prayed over them and took careful care of them. It touched my heart and made me want to be a healthcare professional just like that in the future.
I was adventurous.
I was so blessed to be able to live a life of adventure. God created such beauty in His masterpiece called Earth. Uganda doesn't disappoint. Sipi Falls. The Nile. Jinja. Bungee Jumping. Hiking. It was all amazing and it all brought me closer to His heart. I crave a life of adventure. Uganda will forever be in my heart. I hope and pray that one day I may return.