So I decided that will all of the interest in the country of Uganda right now, it must be time for a blog post! Many of my family and friends have recently expressed concern for my safety because of President Obama's announcement that he is deploying 100 American soldiers to assist the Ugandan Army with the long-standing issue of the LRA (Lords Resistance Army) and their tyrannical and insane leader Joseph Kony. Read more here.
I completely understand the concern, and I very much appreciate your prayers for me and my team as we prepare to leave and while we are in country. But fear is not what has driven me to write this post. Paul tells us in the bible:
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV)
I have believed for a long time now that God has specifically brought together my team for a purpose in Uganda. That is why I am writing today. It's all about Him. I believe He put His spirit in my and my team, and I believe that it is not a spirit of fear. Instead, His spirit is of power! love! and even, self-control! I am expecting great things to happen in the country of Uganda. I am so humbled and thankful to have the opportunity to act as the hands and feet of Jesus in that country. In one of my favorite stories in the bible, Mordecai told Esther that she was brought here "for such a time as this."
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 ESV)
God has been revealing to me and to my team, also, that He is bringing us together purposefully to accomplish His will. I cannot say whether we will face danger or not. Or whether that danger will come from war, soldiers, villagers, witchcraft, etc. But what I can say is that I serve a God who has already won the battle, a God who loves the people of Uganda, and who loves each and every one of you who are reading this blog. I believe him when He says
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 ESV)
I will not fear. I will trust Him. In His infinite wisdom and providence, He will meet us when and where we have need. Your prayers are always welcome, and know that I am praying for you, also.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I used to think that blogging was strange, something I could never get into, and then...I started blogging. And I love it! (So much that I now have two blogs!) Haha!
I'm so excited that you decided to check out my new blog site. I just found out that I will be going to Uganda in January, and I'm thrilled that I'll be able to keep you updated throughout my entire journey. This is something that God has been dealing with me about for a little over two years now. The whole story is just too long for one post, but I do want to give you a little background about how I got to this point. Fair warning...it's still long! ;)
Two(ish) years ago, I was introduced to the song Albertine, by Brooke Fraser. This song is about a Rwandan girl named Albertine who lived through the genocide of 1994 where 1 million people were killed in three months time. This brought me to an avid interest in Africa, and I began learning everything that I could about Rwanda and the Rwandan people. I didn't realize then that God had introduced me to that song in order to change my life. Shortly after that, I changed my major and decided that some future career that involved helping people was better for me than trying to become a N.A.S.A. astronaut.
This big life change was soon followed by my reading the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. If you haven't read it, GO get a copy today! It is a remarkable book that will challenge you to develop a love that is a lot closer to God's love for people. Again, I didn't know it then, but God was opening my eyes to a new way of thinking, His way!
Several books, several prayers, and several internet searches later, I found a website for a missions program that peeked my interest. I began looking into the four month missions programs sponsored by Adventures in Missions(AIM) (for more info click here). During this time, I was also preparing for Miss Arkansas 2011 so I decided that it was best to see how everything turned out with that before I got any further involved in finding a missions program. So on to Miss Arkansas...
The whole competition week back in July was like a confirmation of what I already knew. I was meant for more. Not more than Miss Arkansas, but more than just sitting idly by and accepting that the status quo was all there was in life. The Miss Arkansas program will definitely teach you this one thing: you are more than what the world says you can be. Miss Arkansas says that any girl can become a Miss America if she's willing to work hard enough for it. And this little lesson is a lot like what I think God wanted me to know. That I am more than the world says that I am. I am God's daughter. I am beautifully and wonderfully made, and I was made for a purpose.
I knew that whatever happened back in July, whether I became Miss Arkansas or not, that it would be according to what God had planned for me. I had placed it all in His hands, and at the end of the week I was 3rd Runner-up. I had no nerves the final night of competition. When my name was called, and I hadn't won, I had complete peace because I knew that God has worked everything out the way He intended. Kristen Glover, our Miss Arkansas, was meant to win. This was her year. As for me, well...
I had all but forgotten about the AIM program, and life as I knew it had begun again. That was until a fellow Miss Arkansas contestant, Dorothy Shepherd, introduced me to a blog by Katie Davis called Kisses from Katie (which you can access here). Katie Davis began living full-time in the country of Uganda when she was 18 years old. At 19, she began her own non-profit organization and adopted three young Ugandan orphans. Today she is my age and has 13 adopted daughters (not a typo). Reading her story from start to finish CHANGED MY LIFE! I encourage you to read it! Through this and some other God-inspired chance happenings, I was re-introduced to AIM.
I am so excited to be going to Uganda! I can't wait to get there, but in the meantime I will be fundraising, working, and praying tons. This is a very expensive decision. Please feel no pressure at all, but if you would like to help me get to Uganda in January, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can make a donation.