Six months ago, I left my family at the James Place in Jinja to return to my family in America. I took those six months to process everything that I had been through during my year in Uganda. Despite the hardships, serving the abandoned women and children through HEAL Ministries brought me great joy. I knew I was doing the work that God called me to do, and I knew that I was supposed to return to continue serving alongside these women and children.
"Then I head the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!' " -Isaiah 6:8
Leaving family and friends for an extended time is always hard, but I knew God was calling me to be back with the family I came to know at the James Place. After making the long journey from America to Uganda, Heather (my awesome roommate) and I made it to Jinja on January 14th. We just happened to be getting into town as the staff members from HEAL were making their way home. Our driver slowed down and before the car was even stopped, a large group of staff was opening the door and basically pulling me out. It was a moment filled with huge smiles and hugs. After six months of being apart, it was amazing being reunited. The kids were slightly hesitant, which was understandable because of how young they are (plus I changed my “goggles” as they like to call my glasses here!).
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” – Matthew 24:14
I had a couple of days to get everything settled with our apartment before coming back to work at the James Place on Monday. I was filled with anticipation, wondering how the rest of the staff, women, and children would react to seeing me again. On Monday morning, I walked to work praying the whole way. When I arrived, I was greeted once again with huge smiles and hugs. It was so good to see everyone again!
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39
I knew that many changes had occurred in the time that I was away. People have come and gone. But most of them are the same. God created us to live in community with one another. Relationships are so important in our everyday lives. We are called to live together, to love each other, and to support each other. Together, we can build each other up, or we can tear each other down.
Paul while in prison wrote, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” –Ephesians 4:1-6
Relationships within HEAL Ministries are important: relationships between the staff, women, children, interns, and community. I’m looking forward very much so to getting to know the people here better, to dig a little deeper into their lives. Every person has a unique story to tell. I want to know…what’s yours?