I am laying here in bed at 5 am (6 pm Seattle time) mulling over the happenings of yesterday. Yesterday was our first physical interaction with any of the kids. They were irresistible and not touching them was not an option. The very idea of touching these children used to terrify me.
The general rule of thumb here is that all kids have some sort of health issue, a skin disease, fever, disease, AIDs, etc. You are simply supposed to assume it.
Up until a few years ago the idea of visiting Africa set my skin crawling and my American sense of cleanliness scurrying in the other direction. Many friends have come to Africa on missions trips and I was always happy to financially support them and enjoyed the stories of lives changed but I never wanted to go.
Fast forward to about 5 years ago. Uganda had been on my heart for a couple years and I had been supporting families through the excellent World Vision organization, but I felt a change coming. God started putting the Bible verses from Matthew 25:36, 40:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
[The Jesus replied], “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.
This kick started a change in my thinking and in my heart. It is hard to trust in something you cannot see or physically quantify but I decided to see where this was going and signed up for a mission trip to build houses in a poverty stricken community that was living in tiny dirt huts with a trench coming out of the side for sewage which spilled into the middle of the street. The over all trip was cancelled. I signed up again the next year, and the next, and the next. Each time the trip had a different goal, was through a different organization, and all failed. But I did not give up hope.
I did not understand why I had this passion burning in my heart for Uganda but the path to Uganda seemed blocked. I held on to the promise in Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Fast forward again to today. I am in Uganda! I am not building houses like I originally anticipated but rather I am with a team bringing joy and cuddles to the children here. Those same children that a mere 5 years ago I was terrified of touching I am gladly embracing, wrestling with, dancing with, and holding today.
When I look back over the past 5 years I see periods where I was being equipped for this journey. Sure I could have come 5 years ago, but I would have worn a hazmat suit and not interacted with the Ugandans. In a couple hours I am driving down a dusty bumpy road for 2 hours to a church where I (and Katie, the beard girl) am going to be standing in front of hundreds of people who I do not know, in a culture I have no idea about, and a language nowhere near anything I am familiar with and tell them the story of my journey to Uganda and how God calls us to Sit, Rest, and Wait on Him while he prepares and equips us. Speaking in front of people is also not something I would have been able to do 5 years ago. In the past couple years I went from no public speaking experience to now I am an international speaker at tech conferences.
I was being trained and equipped for this journey and now I am here feeling overwhelmed by the grace and foresight of God and thankful of the Sit, Rest, Wait theme He has put over my life.
Now to go out and love me some more filthy disease ridden but oh so beautiful and precious Ugandan children!