The first few days home I was an emotional mess. Sorry to those of you who approached me with "Hi! How was your trip?!" and I started crying my eyes out on your shoulder. The culture shock coming home was much, much harder than adjusting to the culture in Jinja. It's like aftershock, folks. So bizarre! As I write this, it's been 2 weeks that my boys and I have been back and I'm (sadly) pretty much readjusted to regular life. But before we get started with the heart of things- here is some back story. See... I told you I'd bounce!
You might be asking, WHY did you go and for what exactly. Well, it's been on my heart for a year and a half to give back via MBC to an organization that provides clean water to those in need... little did I know at the time this desire began stirring that there was a young family in my church that had just started a non-profit called, The Global Belief Project, and their mission was supplying clean water to people across the globe. Perfect!!! Long story short... I met this young couple, Jake and Taylor and adored them from, "hello". Ummm.... they are AMAZING. They are beautiful, compassionate souls that I am proud to call friends. These precious people happened to like me back (hooray!) and invited me to go on their next adventure to Uganda with them. I had NO idea how I was going to pay for such a trip but God is good and He miraculously made a way for not only myself but my two oldest boys to join. Incredible!! My boys are 11 and 8 and had never even been on an airplane before. Adventure at it's finest.
Finally, the time came for our trip and even though I didn't have a clear idea as to why we were going, I knew deep down that we were meant to be a part of the trip and taking leaps of faith is something I'm starting to grow quite fond of. It truly was a leap for us. We were along for the ride with expectant hearts and open minds.
We all departed on the 20th of July and after 37+ hours of travel, Jinja became our home for two weeks. We arrived in the middle of the night so when I woke up to the BEAUTIFUL morning, I was elated! Oh. My. Goodness! Our adventure had begun and I was ecstatic to be in Jinja at the "Providence Guest House". Just FYI, the birds there are massive- quite freaky, actually. And there's one common species that sounds like a monkey so that first morning I thought there were monkeys surrounding us by the dozens.
Each day the boys and I were happy sidekicks to Jake and Taylor. Breakfast convo's usually went like this, "Hey guys! What's on the agenda... ok, sounds awesome!" type thing. Everyday was truly a wonderful adventure and if you'd like more detailed information about each day, please visit Taylor's blog here. Jake and Taylor (GBP) have been one time already to Jinja last November so they've made several connections which allowed the organization the opportunity to fund several projects. Without local contacts that know the area and speak the language it would be hard to get things done but they did it and it was amazing! Two rain water harvesting systems were set up: one at Graces Kids Nutritional Clinic in Jinja and the other at Our Own Home Orphanage as well as three well repairs in outside villages. The well repairs were on Taylor's wish list for GBP and it was really neat to see not only one (that's how many they were hoping to fix) but three got repaired within just a few days of our visit to the villages. It was in these moments of being among these sweet, sweet people at the well that I was moved. My goodness, I can still hardly wrap my head around what water means to so many across the globe... and I have it freely flowing from my kitchen faucet. Sigh. Great- now I'm crying.
Over the course of our stay, we had the opportunity to understand some of the Ugandan culture, meet wonderful people and fall in LOVE with Jinja. While I was there I said to myself, "oh, we'll be back someday- a few years from now maybe." Yeah right. Now with each day that goes by, my longing to be there grows deeper. After this trip I know that my Creator has not called me to be a missionary but I know without a shadow of a doubt that He has called me to be an ambassador, a supporter and a sender for those who are there doing great works for humanity. Jake and Taylor are those. The difference between them and myself is evident... I desire to have compassion while they have true, deep compassion that is unreal. After seeing their family in the heart of where they will soon be full time, I am SO excited to do all that I can to encourage and support them in their journey. They are following their hearts and choosing bravery- for that I commend them. They are an incredible inspiration!
There are so many stories, thoughts and words swirling around in my head but I just don't know how to put it all in to words yet. Maybe I'll do some gradual posting over the next few months. For now, I have a few last words:
No matter where you are at this very moment, I hope you know that you have a grand purpose. You are designed for greatness and although we are all very human, we are all equipped with love, compassion and courage that can change the world! When other lives are bettered because of our own- that's true fulfillment and a life worth living. I encourage you to be sensitive to that still, small voice inside that says, "Pay for that nice ladies coffee today" or "call that old friend just to say hi". That instinctive voice will bring you much joy if you listen.
Thank you for following the journey, friends! Thank you for reading this- please don't judge my writing abilities too harshly! : )
With Sincere Gratefulness,