Wednesday, April 30, 2008

you are not alone.

as i sit here in my bed, without the company of kathryn, i find myself with so many thoughts that i’m not sure how i’ll actually get them out into words in this blog…but for you all, my faithful bloggers, i will do my best to convey what has been going on lately in this mind.

again and again i find myself at ease with the life i am living. though i am far from the circle of people i love from the States [and trust me, the distance can, at times, seem like too much] i am reminded of how pure and how stunningly holy it is that i am here. difficulties and frustrations are present but as i’m sure much of the rest of the world can agree, wherever you travel, wherever you decide to live and plant yourself, life is never perfect. his love is perfect though and i have to remind my heart of this all the dang time.

things with suubi are going so well. we continue to visit the women at their homes and at the English and literacy classes. we all love getting to know them. at times my mind tricks me into thinking a normal emotion to feel when being out there with the women and hearing about their lives would be ‘sympathy’ but i am quick to remind myself that they don’t need or necessarily want sympathy. i think that for me, personally, a better word to describe what i feel when i see them and visit the and talk with them would be desire. i desire to know them more. i desire to know their families. i desire to know their entire story. i desire to have their story be known by all [because they would surely change others]. i desire for their stories to be known so that help may be given. not a help that comes from simply feeling ‘sorry’ for them but a help that comes deep within a heart. the kind of help that comes not out of guilt but the help that understands that they too are people with needs. real needs that perhaps i, or maybe someone i know, may be able to meet. feeling sorry for them does no good because chances are, they have a better grasp of what joy is than we in our American ‘comfort’ do.

i’m learning that though it’s easy to group or categorize those who are practically forced to live in poverty into specific roles or emotions, that is not our place, nor are those roles/emotions typically accurate. i’ve talked to so many Americans who believe that a person is living in poverty because they choose it…or because they are lazy…or because they aren’t good enough and it’s astonishing because these assumptions are usually so far from the truth of the matter. though i can’t speak for all, i’ve found that here in Uganda it’s generally a cycle. a cycle that started way before you were born or even thought of. it’s a cycle that your great-grandparents went through and it’s a cycle that you will have to go through.

all of that said, all i really want to convey is how hard so many people here work. they work day [and maybe night] for their families and for each other. they continue to labor so that they may help those around them. they may be sick or they may be injured or they be quite old, but they work. they work so that their children and grandchildren might have a brighter future than maybe they had themselves.

just yesterday morning Courtney, Rachel [other suubi volunteers] and i were talking with norahs [a suubi lady] grandson and he was explaining that though he’s graduated from a university here, it’s still hard to find work right away. but he went on to explain a little bit of his heart…he explained that though the current situation is hard, he knows that one day his work will pay off. he knows that if he continues to push through this time, his efforts will one day pay off for him and his family. he expressed how it bothers him that his grandmother has to work so hard at such an age. he expressed how he wants to change things. i admire him for this and i thank God for stories like these because i know that this young man of 23 is not alone. his story is so similar to others. they work hard because they desire more. like i’ve said before, they have hope. they know they are not alone. they know that the One who really knows their deepest needs hasn’t abandoned them.

* * *

i’ve been blessed with the continued involvement with the childrens home not far from jinja. though they do not have much, they are all happy. it’s nice because now that the children are getting used to having white people around every once in a while and they are, “slowly by slowly” opening up and we’re beginning to see fun little personalities come out of them!

a quick but BIG thank to you to brad and carrie ficke for contributing funds towards this home. your donation is being used to buy food for the children and they are so happy to receive it!!

i’ve posted a couple of pictures from my recent time there and if you wish to see more, there is a link to my facebook album further down this page.

if anyone reading this wishes to contribute to this home where close to 70 beautiful children reside, contact me. we can figure something out and if you want, you can choose how your money is spent on the children. it could be fun! let me know (:

* * *

like i mentioned in the first paragraph, Kathryn, my dear friend and travel companion for the first two months of my time here, left for the States monday morning. although it was incredibly hard to see her go [emphasis on the incredibly hard] i know and i trust that her going back to Washington was in the perfect timing that only the Lord knows and completely understands. it’s a strange feeling not to being sharing a room, a bathroom, a bed and most importantly my days with her but i know that i’ll be okay. i won’t stop missing her and loving her but i’ll be okay…His mercies are new each morning.

i have other friends here that i am excited to get to know better and i now only have about 5½ weeks until my sister comes for a month long visit!

i know my days will be filled with the women of suubi, the children of the home and the presence of friends and i am so looking forward to the twists and turns that are coming up in life. no matter what happens, i am praying that my heart remains open to whatever it is that He has in store and that i would, in all circumstances, acknowledge the good and have hope in something bigger than myself or the world in which we live.

i appreciate your prayers and your fun words of encouragement. a couple of weeks ago a shirt was given to me and on it, it says ‘i’m not forgotten’. i thank you all back in the States for assuring me that i am not forgotten. keep me updated on your lives because i am sure that they are full of things that i would enjoy hearing and learning from. you all are the best.


meghan said...

i loooove when i see you have updated :) i'm praying that you will remain encouraged and continue seeing God in EVERY aspect of your day.
love you friend!

Sarah. said...

julie julie.
im thankful for you.
and im so excited
that i will get to SEE you
in a matter of weeks.
im praying for you.
love love love.

Kathryn said...

I am so glad that the Suubi women have you, and more importantly, that you have them!
I love and miss you so still feels so strange to not spend evenings with you.
Love you, my dearest friend! :)

rachel rianne said...

LOVE you.
i pray that you find strength and comfort and hope in the people you're loving there and in him who sustains us.
LOVE you.

Amanda said...

Suubi is going to be such an adventure in itself, yet its only one of many things God's using you in.... amazing. Keep it up! I admire your spirit, dear.