called me higher

Change: a one word description of my life.

From moving to North Carolina, to an internship in Nashville, to a two-and-a-half month trip to Uganda that turned into something very different than I had planned – change and uncertainty have been in the air through all of it. I’ve never known exactly where I’ll land in the next season, but I’ve grown fairly comfortable with the unknown and the excitement that anticipation brings. Now moving to Nashville for three months was one thing, but this next step is bigger and more unexpected than any of the moves up to this point.

Everyone says that “Africa will change you”. While I didn’t discredit this fact, I just waltzed my way over to Uganda in May expecting it to be an adventure, but not wanting to put much pressure on the situation. Of course, I left Uganda a different person than I arrived there just two months before. I don’t think I can put words together to describe that, and probably never will. I’ve always said that I’d love to do short term missions and couldn’t necessarily see myself committing to living full-time halfway around the world. I knew better than to say “never”, but I cuddled up as close to the word as I could without saying it out loud. I should have known what was coming around the corner.

After two months of praying, discussing, and freaking out later, I have committed to (at least) one year with Sole Hope in Uganda. I know, I’m {insert your preferred word here}. I promise that I’ve told myself that same thing. I still think I’m crazy and there are days when I second guess my choice, but God has so deliberately placed this in front of me that I can do nothing but take his hand and trust where he leads. (I even went as far as tattooing this on my arm as a daily reminder.) A day of baby steps and avoided panic attacks now qualifies as “successful”.

At the end of December, I will be packed up and Jinja bound. To be honest, the living there isn’t my worry at this point. It’s not in the jumble of airport connections, or the long flights. My anxiety lies in the next five weeks. I have approximately five weeks to pack up my life in North Carolina, buy the needed supplies for my move, and say goodbye to some of the people that I love the most. I have so many things spinning through my mind that I don’t even know what to start doing first.

I need to breathe. Sometimes I forget. (Ironically enough, I have another tattoo that reads “God is Breath” as a reminder that when I don’t have breath, He will breathe for me.)

I need to make lists.

I need to take a break from the chaos of life and mentally prepare myself for the biggest jump I’ve ever attempted.

While this time of preparation is filled with stress, it is also filled with unmatched anticipation and unbelievable excitement. I cannot wait to get back and hug all of the people I got to know over the summer. I CANNOT wait to be back causing trouble with the Collie kids and holding that not-so-little Eli. I can’t wait for good cappuccinos, boda rides with accompanying soundtracks, and that beautiful fish room that I’ve been dreaming of since I first laid eyes on it. I can’t believe I get to be a part of something I believe in 100%. I know there will be stressful days, but I know the joy in the small moments will melt all of that away.

Change.

Something different. Something challenging. Something rewarding.

Change.

Live for the unexpected. Respond, don’t react. Be present. Be willing.

Love does.

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take a moment

Well, here we go. This girl will be on the move again staring May 26.  This journey will take me a little bit farther than the places that my last few adventures have, but I’m more excited than ever. I will be travelling to Jinja, Uganda for just over nine weeks. I really don’t think that any of this has really sunk in yet.

Uganda.

9 weeks.

Wait, WHAT!?

To say I’m excited is a complete understatement. To say I’m nervous doesn’t even come close to explaining the emotions that I’m feeling. There are so many mixed emotions, but at the same time I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Some of the trip is still in the planning stages, but I took the leap and purchased my plane tickets early this week. Hitting that buy button was slightly frightening, but I can now say with 100% confidence that I am going to Uganda this summer.

The organization that I will be working with for the majority of my trip is Abide. Basically, they are working to avoid having parents ever reach the point where they would have to give up their children due to preventable situations. Here’s a brief description from their website about what they are wanting to accomplish through this center:

“Abide Family Center will provide holistic, strengths based, social services to vulnerable families.  The center will serve as a transitional living and learning facility by providing caregivers the tools necessary to move toward independence.  Families will be referred to the center by local government officials who have determined the family’s need for supportive services rather than the removal of the child from the home.  A team of social workers will work with families to create individualized care plans. Depending on a number of factors, the family will receive either out-of-home supportive services or in-home supportive services.  Some of the services provided directly by the center will include: vocational classes and apprenticeships, parenting discussion groups, money management classes, nutrition planning, and child care services.” (http://www.abidefamilycenter.org)

I will be working with Megan and Kelsey there, setting up the center so that they will be at a place to start taking in families late this coming summer. I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with them in what I believe is such an important mission. Children belong in families. That’s all it boils down to.

I am also hoping to visit the dear Collies from Sole Hope! I’m so excited about that!

Unfortunately, all this does not come without a significant monetary cost. Everything from flights to transportation to housing to food add to the cost of the trip. While there are many expenses, I know that this is something that I’m supposed to be doing. Therefore, I am trusting that somehow I will be able to raise support to cover at least part of the cost of the trip.

Here are some of the approximate costs of the trip:

Airfare: $1500

Housing/Other Expenses while in Uganda: $1500 – $2000

I would also like to be able to raise money to take for the organizations themselves. I will hopefully be working with another organization before Abide, and will post an update with details and extra costs when that is finalized. Abide is also looking for used laptops that the social workers at the center can use. So if you have an extra laptop lying around and would be willing to donate it, please let me know!

At this point, I do not have a way to make donations tax deductible. I’m still trying to work at finding a way to make this possible, but as of now I do not have a way to do this. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. While this is something I know I should be doing, the costs associated with it are still somewhat overwhelming. If you do not need the donation to be tax deductible, I will put my address and PayPal email bellow. I will also update everyone if/when I find a way for donations to be tax deductible.

Even if you are not able to help support me financially, if you could partner with me in prayer for this trip and the time leading up to it, that would be appreciated more than you know.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this or even think about the possibility of supporting me through this new adventure!

PayPal Email: lissteckle@me.com

Address: 222 Batson Road, Brevard, NC 28712