It is already April & I have somehow been back in Uganda for over a month. And what a month it has been.
I hit the ground running that first week in March & haven’t had time to slow down or look back since. It’s been an amazing month, a crazy month, an encouraging month, a draining month, & an emotional month. I don’t even really know how to begin putting words to the things that I have experience, thought, or seen since I arrived back on these red dirt roads.
Until now, I haven’t really had the words to form coherent sentences to share with anyone. And to be honest, I’m not sure that I do now. But in order to stop these thoughts from spinning around my mind, I need to arrange them in some form outside of my head.
So here goes.
My first week in country was spent preparing for the StoryTeller team to arrive (also check out #SoleStories on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter) and a week that I won’t soon forget. I had no idea what to expect when these 10 souls stepped out of the matatu that Sunday afternoon, but what a beautiful week it turned into. Now, let me be honest, teams are a lot of work. A lot goes into planning, organizing, and executing a week full of activities with a large team in a country that doesn’t keep time well on the best of days. However, we ended the week more refreshed, more encouraged, and more understood than we ever expected. This team poured into Sole Hope with everything they had. It was a beautiful thing to witness and be involved in. I don’t think they will ever truly understand how big of an impact they made on Sole Hope – both here in Uganda, and through the words they shared.
In the middle of that week, we took the team to see the new Sole Hope land. And by that I mean Asher took all of us, I had only heard things about it & had never actually laid eyes on it before I drove our Land Cruiser on top of the hill that day.
It was a moment that I will never forget. I’ve had the honor of watching Sole Hope grow over the past two-and-a-half years. From volunteering stateside – watching the Collies get ready to set off on this new journey, to travelling to Jinja in the summer of 2013, to moving and working alongside Sole Hope Uganda starting at the beginning of last year. I’ve truly witnessed this organization, our founders, and our staff grow and change in miraculous ways since Drü & Asher moved their life here at the beginning of 2013. All of this lead up to this one moment, this one piece of land, this one God orchestrated dream.
The emotions took some time to sink in. Asher briefly explained the plans for building, for the well, & for the HOPE filled future that lies on that very land. We climbed on the Land Cruiser, taking in the vastness of this new land that God provided.
Okay, and let’s be honest, it included some shenanigans. It wouldn’t be a true moment with Asher & Lis without a little bit of crazy.
But then, we took some time to walk around the land, dream about the future, pray over the lives that will be touched, the feet that will be washed, and the HOPE that will be restored in so many families on the very spot that we placed our feet. We came back together to share what the Lord had been saying to us individually, to speak words over the future of the land, and to pray as a community of believers who were on board with this God inspired dream.
And I just about lost it. Okay, I did lose it.
I stood there, surrounded by so many people experiencing Uganda and Sole Hope for the first time, and realized that I wouldn’t be in Uganda for so much of the progress from this point on. I’m here for such a short time this trip, and that’s starting to feel so real. This is the first time that I don’t have a return date – I don’t know when the next time I will step off a plane in this beautiful country will be. And all of it hit at once. My life for the past [almost] two years has been focused around Sole Hope, my feet have been planted in this country, and these people are my family. And now, I have to give it all back to the Lord, knowing that this is all done to make Him GREATER.
And then I stopped for a moment – this isn’t about me. This isn’t about Sole Hope. This isn’t about what our human hands are able to do. This is completely, from beginning to end, about what the Lord is doing – we are but only the vessels. It is for me to determine whether I will trust him in that promise, or if I will struggle to put pieces together with my broken, selfish, human hands.
So here I stand, wrestling with how I let go, and let God. This is his vision, and has been since the very moment it was a thought in Asher’s mind, and that’s how it remains to this day. He only asks us to go, to be, to live – but to do these through Him. It is possibly the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do, but I am leaving it in the hands of the one who holds every pain & every joy in the palm of His hand.
So as I move through this next month, I pray that it is Him, through me, who moves – who places words in my mouth, and extends HOPE and grace to all those around me. I pray that His presence is felt in such tangible ways, that there is no denying is presence. I pray that he guides me as start each day focusing on the #nexttwofeet.
This life I give to Him. May He use it for his glory – living to only to make Him GREATER.
All photos by the amazingly talented Gary Chapman.