Today marks 9 weeks living in East Africa, and you guys. What a month and a half it’s been since we last talked. I apologize for the communication hiatus that’s resulted from someone hitting the crazy switch over here… We’ve been running and gunning nonstop for the last 3-4 weeks!
Of course, as things are happening I’m making mental notes to tell you all about them. Standby for MANY pictures. But before I upload all of them and talk about what the Lord is showing me along the way, I thought I’d bullet-point the big ticket updates below:
- Successful completion of my first Kampala stock-up trip! Eight hours in the car followed by a week in the big city buying things to bring back home to Bundibugyo. Things for a brand new home, more groceries than I’ve ever bought at one time in my life, voltage stabilizers, power cords, all the things.
- I also spent some quality time with the Ugandan Immigration Officers finalizing my work permit paperwork. Yo girl is a legal temporary resident of Uganda!
- I returned from Kampala to a week of temporary living while the work crew finished up the new Apprentice house.
- I then left district again to spend a week learning the Lubwisi language retreat-style in Fort Portal, which is about 2 hours from Bundi. Serge Kijabe team member Karen Masso flew over from Kenya to teach our local language helpers how to teach the Americans their heart language, which only became a written language this past August. Yes, it’s confusing. Better believe my brain was fried and I went to sleep at 9:30 every night, but we started each morning praying as a group that the Gospel of Jesus would advance through the study of language. Out of that came the most grace-filled week of learning Lubwisi under the teaching of our closest Ugandan friends and neighbors.
- I watched Donald Trump be elected the next president of the United States all the way from Uganda, and have found myself engaging in many conversations with local friends about it. It’s been interesting, enlightening, and definitely prayerful on all sides.
- I then returned to Bundi yet again, and officially MOVED into the new Apprentice housing here in Bundibugyo! After living out of trunks and suitcases since July 31st, I have to admit: unpacking for good was such a tangible relief.
- And in the midst of all that moving around (shout out to the iPhone hotspot and literally anyone’s wifi I could find), I’ve been working alongside precious sister and teammate Sarah Crane, a web designer in Nashville, and a graphic designer in Nashville to build Christ School’s first ever website geared towards partners in the West. It’s been quite an endeavor to live in a Ugandan culture so vastly different than America’s, while working alongside people still living in America to tell the story of your friends living in Uganda. On American deadlines. Based on American holidays and year-end traditions (Thanksgiving/Giving Tuesday). All exciting steps being made in the world of Christ School communications, no doubt! But you see the struggle.
- And I’m also trying to stay on top of my cross-cultural ministry classes that happen once a week, my Sonship lessons that also happen once a week, while settling into my 4th and final new living environment in 3 months.
Those are the highlights. WITHOUT FURTHER ADO: A chronological picture account of the last 5 weeks. Brace yourselves.
Conclusion: I’m tired. I’m happy. I’m transitioning. I’m thankful. And I’ve re-learned things.
The biggest takeaway? Even though I’ve laughed a lot, I have had many, many conversations with Jesus about frustrations accompanying these last few weeks. In more ways than one, I feel like I’m moving too quickly to catch a good, deep breath. That I hit too many conversational walls when talking with friends here about America’s election. Because I can’t even FIND the words to talk about it most times. That I’m uncomfortable because I “haven’t been able to settle anywhere.” Because I can’t speak the language. That I’m sick of fighting acid reflux because apparently I struggle with that here.
And while there are real elements of truth that speak to my very real human limitations, I’ve realized that Jesus is also teaching me something about being uncomfortable.
Sometime before Kampala happened (timelines are hard for me now), I was walking and talking with a friend who relocated with her family from Bundibugyo to a coastal town in Kenya. They had returned to Bundi briefly to finish packing up their house and then move it all with them to Kenya for good. I asked how they were doing with the transition (most common missionary question literally ever), and she said the following.
“I mean this is life, I guess. Isn’t it? This coming and going and discomfort and not really knowing where home is anymore. Ashland, we’re exhausted. Thankfully Jesus modeled this life for us so we don’t have to forge ahead out of our own strength.”
I constantly fall into the trap of believing that I deserve to be comfortable and content. I’ve worked too hard and sacrificed too much already to not have that comfort. But as Christians, we’re actually called to a life of discomfort. This world is not our home, and thankfully so! The discomfort keeps my eyes on the true and better Adam, come to save the hell-bound man. It keeps my perspective in check. Our comfort comes in the promise fulfilled by Jesus. That’s it. And when I remember that, the laughter comes more quickly in the midst of the madness.
Confident in what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, we keep stepping faithfully in whatever direction our good Father leads us.
Pray for: continued adjustment into this new home, and for continued solid roommate bonding between the three lady millennial missionaries. For my relationship with Gage, and that it’d be strengthened and used as a testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness and grace for all who see it. For time management and focus as I continue working on the Christ School website – deadline for launch is quickly approaching. For relationships with my new neighbors in the community to form, despite my struggle to practice my Lubwisi. And for diligence in practicing the language regularly without fear or shame. For the community to receive the Christmas story in new and deep ways – this is the first year they get to read it for themselves in their heart language!
Praises: It may not be going as quickly as I want it to, but I actually am learning Lubwisi pretty well. Ashley and Katherine are the best expat roommates a girl could ask for. Gage took me on a virtual date to Target a couple weeks ago and walked up and down every aisle so I could see everything; so you could say we’re discovering new ways to tackle long distance successfully (he even wrote about it). Wifi has been amazing lately, so I’ve been able to screenshare and collaborate hands-on with a web designer in the States. It’s been insane. And Jesus is showing me new things about himself every time I’m forced into a new season of transition. He’s walking with me closely.
Webale kusaba! Thank you for praying! Thank you for following along and for encouraging me every step of the way.
All my love and all my crazy,