Life in these mountains is never boring or predictable…. and I think you’ve heard me say that before. I can’t even mentally prepare for the adventures that come my way; and as a result I’m faced with a choice: become frustrated at “interruptions” OR open my fists clenched tight around my schedule and choose joy. I’m interrupted and delayed constantly, people. One of the greatest cross-cultural tensions I face is deciding which side of that emotional coin I’m going to claim each day. Good news: I’m finding less of my identity in my work performance than I ever did in college or post-grad employment. With each diversion from my schedule, Jesus is reminding me that my identity is secured in Him only. And only then am I able to take a deep breath and joyfully open the door to find the 15th friend or neighbor waiting to greet me on any given day.
Lately, I’ve been carrying a lot of excess weight from realizing deep and dark brokenness here. It all stems from knowing and loving so many people here, which leads to heartache as I hear and see more problems up close. I intend to write more on that soon. Until then, I wanted to give a brief update on my day-to-day schedule and then give you a million pictures to give you the highlights. More often than not, I can’t think of a better way to invite you into this journey with me.
Christ School kicked off a new academic year (school years run from Feb-Dec), and I am back in the saddle. Everyone’s back in the saddle. New routine, people! I spend two-three days a week up at the school in meetings and working on stories/pictures for the website and social media. It’s never not crazy. High school students hanging out in our offices between classes to greet, tea time with staff at 10am, trying to schedule precious time with the headmaster to get a couple quotes for a new story, worshipping in chapel on Wednesdays and Sundays with the entire student body. Staff fellowship on Tuesday nights means I get added friendship-building time with the teachers and leadership team. Pretty soon football (soccer) season will start, which will mean cheering on our boys’ and girls’ teams to regionals and hopefully nationals!
My ministry at CSB is relational in nature, which is where I thrive. I love this place. Pray for relationships to grow there as the school year continues?
I spend one day a week studying/reading/in class as part of the Serge Apprenticeship Program. Each class is taught by dear friend and teammate Ann Kieser (sometimes by guest teachers from the local community), and is geared toward cross-cultural ministry in some capacity. Some classes I’ve had so far have been on discipling, interpreting the Bible, cross-cultural tensions and how to maneuver them, evangelism in Uganda’s context, and history of African religion.
I meet with Clovice twice a week for language/culture lessons. Clovice went with me to a language intensive week in November, and he’s been teaching me ever since. He’s very patient with my confusion (ex: Lubwisi has NINE different noun classes and I won’t even try to explain what that means) and loves teaching me about Ugandan traditions.
And then I also spend one additional day a week with Ann working through Sonship, which is a 16-lesson mentor/mentee program. As a girl born and raised immersed in reformed theology, I’ve often struggled to connect my heart with what my head knows to be true. This program has helped me bridge the gap beautifully, especially in this unique context. (Read more about Sonship here.)
And once all of that is accounted for, I sure do try to rest. (I promise, Mom.) Sometimes it’s fleeting, other times I feel well-rested. Depends on the week. Pray for my Sabbath to be protected from visitors, crises, work anxiety, and expectations? That’d be a huge gift.
But regardless of what’s going on, I’m almost always laughing and taking pictures to send to my ginormous family back home. See below.
*~Things That Happened After Christmas, A Large Picture Collection~*
Aaaaaaaaand there ya have it, folks! As you can see, I often find myself running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Routines and schedules are good, and definitely ideal to aim for. But I have learned the beauty in not knowing what each day will hold: undeniable trust that the Lord is writing this story, and joy in knowing that He’s invited me to participate.
I can’t express enough how much you guys mean to me. I love getting to tell my friends here about my “big American family” back home who make this possible. It’s understood that I wouldn’t be here without you guys, so now my friends here want to make sure I thank you on their behalf as well. You are loved by many.
Next up: thoughts on cultural brokenness and hope found in waiting for redemption. Buckle your seatbelts.