Sunday, September 7, 2008

Leaving, leaves me pondering...

Joy and pain
Like sunshine and rain
Joy and pain
Like sunshine and rain
-Rob Base & DJ Easy Rock-

I know....many of you may have NO idea what song I am referring to but this is just what popped into my mind as I was thinking about leaving for Uganda. I feel like I am walking in 2 worlds and maybe that's because we are starting to. We haved lived a full and blessed life here in Colorado and now for the other half of our year we are moving to Uganda. Really, when I consider it, it's better than anything I could have ever dreamed. I LOVE my life in Colorado and I LOVE my life when I am in Africa. What I am understanding more and more is that no matter where I am at, there is a subtle ache. While we live life in Colorado we are surrounded by incredible followers of Jesus who inspire us, challenge us and love us. I depend on these people for just about everything!! We laugh until it hurts and cry until the tears run dry. We pray together, play together, cook together, and struggle together. I have come to really LOVE this life God has given us, but admist all that is beautiful and well in Colorado, the ache remains. This ache is AFRICA.

In 1997, the seed was stirred. I was at a missions conference in Denver with guest speaker, George Verwer, president of Operation Mobilization (OM) on stage. My parents were missionaries with OM when it first began. My dad and George packed a van full of bibles and headed to Mexico for their first "mission" trip. Now OM is a mission group serving all over the world with thousands of missionaries. Anyway, it was that night that the Lord told me he had called me to missions. Of course I had NO idea really what it all meant other than I had committed to where ever and whatever God had planned for me. About a year later the seeds started to stir. AFRICA. It all started with a simple prayer. I was attending a church called "Tool Room", a vineyard church plant aimed at reaching the street kids, homeless, and Gen X ers like myself. We were simply praying. I was a new believer and new to prayer. I sat silently and started praying for this and that. What I remember is saying a prayer for one of my family members, when all of a sudden BOOM...I saw vivid colorful movie-like pictures flash in my mind. It was like a slideshow. The first picture was myself walking down a dirt road holding hands with little African children. The next picture was me laying down on a mat on the dirt floor of a mud hut with a little African child. The last frame was me with an African child wearing a red tattered and torn shirt. WOA!!! I was freaked! I didn't know what the heck that was! Needless to say, I was a little confused and scared. Other than my mom supporting a World Vision child named Rapheal from Ethiopia, never in my life had Africa entered my world or mind. Eleven years, 4 mission trips to Africa and a gazillion more words, promises, pictures and prayers later, here we are. This ache is Africa. At times I had asked the Lord to take it away because it kept me up all night in tears, crying out for orphans I had never met. At that time the doors to Africa were closed. A year later I went, but I didn't go alone. I had gotten married to my best friend and we had the opportunity to go to Africa within our first year of marriage. (I can see now why the Lord didn't let me go earlier) It was that first trip that solidified everything I had felt, dreamt, prayed for , cried about and felt called to. My heart had the ache of Africa beating in it and it still beats today. So while I adore the people God has woven into our lives here in CO., my heart still aches for Africa and I am exstatic to go back!

But, what I also know is that while I am in Africa, in the very place of my dreams and all that I have prayed for for 11 years, my heart will ache again. This time the ache will be a different ache, one for those who are a part of us. The friends and family that make us who we are. The people who have cried with us, fought with us, celebrated with us and loved us everyday on this journey of life. They have spoken the truth of God's love into us. They have crawled to the cross with us, recieving life in exchange for brokenness and sin. They have been the hands and feet of God. We'll be in the place of our deepest longings, in the country we have felt called to for many years and surrounded by our beautiful Ugandan friends whom we love, but there will still be an ache in my heart for our family back home. (my secret prayer is that they will all come to Africa one day)

I hope the ache never leaves because what it means is I AM ALIVE!!
It means my heart is ALIVE and FULL!!
P.S. We leave in 2 days! Thursday 18th at 11 am!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Saying Goodbye to a LOVED ONE

It's been a hard week at our house. On Friday Aug 29th my Aunt Carolyn lost her battle with cancer and went home to Jesus. She fought the battle long and hard with her family by her side and her faith sustaining her day by day. She was a mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, mentor, and friend to so many. She lived her life to the fullest and was always a source of wisdom, love and laughter where ever she went. We will miss her dearly and will remember her always!! These are just a few of the words that I had written months ago that describe our Aunt Carolyn who will be forever in our hearts.

(Carolyn is sitting right next to me and Osobie )



Full of LIFE