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“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.” — Cesare Pavese 

 

Well, I hit the Week #3 mark. I have now officially beat my record for longest amount of time spent in a foreign country. It also became October this week. Such important milestones in this Uganda adventure. I’m truly living in Africa till December.

I think it finally hit me this week around the turn of the month and the realization of truly how long I am going to be here. The romance of the adventure has worn off, leaving the bare bones and the real work to begin. God is still providing His never ending grace. He reveals Himself to me on the daily with the stories of the kids and seeing where they are now to where they have come from. The atrocities that some of these kids were forced to commit and the horrors they have experienced…yet, they don’t live in that identity of the past. They live in the truth that they are most precious in His sight, that they are valued and their dreams can become realities. They know they matter, when culturally, they might not be viewed that way.

How can there not be a God? There has to be. How can a kid go from having been forced to murder their family members to singing and dancing and being overcome with so much joy from the little things in life, like silly mazungus trying to learn Acholi? Or bawling their eyes out when they worship and praise Him? His grace and love for us is so magnificent and beautiful and deep and wide and long and high. It’s bigger than we can ever imagine or understand. He is there to hold us and protect us and transform us. He is good, even when everything around us is negative and dark and discouraging. He is still good, and more powerful than it all.

This week was full of precious moments and hard moments. If I were to name one of each, my favorite precious moment probably had to be when the Grove team brought out the “CopterCam.” Basically, one of the guys brought with him a remote control helicopter that can go really high and really far, and when you attach a GoPro camera to it, you get some sick video and hilarious reactions from the kids. Of course, none of the kids had seen something so crazy like a “CopterCam” and reactions varied. Some thought it was alive and were yelling commands at it as it flew around…some thought it was magic…some thought it was so hilarious because of just how weird and foreign it was…and some were just in awe that such a creation existed. Kids are so funny and it was such a blast running around with them, trying to keep up with this crazy, new, magical contraption.

Now the hard moment: In the beginning of this post, I mentioned the milestones. Important milestones at that. Yet, the realization of these milestones brought on some homesickness. I’ve never experienced what it is like to be homesick and never thought I would while I’m here. The kids fill me up and encourage me every day. The Lord is available and present in every moment. Why would I long for the presence of the people back home? Why would I miss American things like Heinz ketchup and syrup and cheese? And yet, these feelings came crashing down and I had a hard couple days this week.

This is ok. Hard days are normal. You will have them…but you have to remember why you are here. Who is bigger than everything? Who is your strength? Who is always with you? Think of the people that have captured your heart and turned it upside down, have made you realize that you will never be the same? Those are the important things. God’s grace will cover everything else.

I promised on these blogs I would be truthful. Missional living is not romantic- it’s raw, uncomfortable, real, beautiful, inspiring, life changing, all at the same time! Yet, it is the greatest gift the Lord could implant into my spirit: the desire to share how much of a loving and gracious God there is and that He loves you no matter what. What an honor this mandate is…and I can’t imagine my life without this call.

Sometimes He calls you to hard places, but He will always be there, ready to walk with you step by step and loving you all the while.