Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Heart Goes Out

The devastation that has ravaged Haiti is HUGE. Since the initial earthquake, there have been at least 40 aftershocks and there could be more to come. I can't even begin to imagine what going through that would be like. I've read stories, watched video clips, and have looked through so many pictures. My heart hurts. Part of me wants to be like, "Forget school, let's go help!" I'm thankful for all the rescue teams and missionaries that are sticking through it to help those facing devastating, life changing loss. Children are orphaned. Families have been shattered. Homes and businesses lost. Food and water are scarce. Violence and looting have been the cry of desperation.

I keep trying to comprehend what's really happened and what's currently going on. I've been encouraged and challenged by the stories I've heard. Instead of forsaking and turning their backs on God, many Haitians are putting their trust in Him and they continue to praise Him. God has been, is, and will be faithful. Some wonder how a loving God could let this happen. While God may have permitted this to happen, I do know that each and every life lost and affected matters to Him. Each one. He can bring good from the darkest of situations. Think about your own life. Can you think back on some of the hardest times you've gone through and see how God has used them? Those things shape you and God can use them. Have there been people you've been able to help/encourage because of what you've experienced? God can use any situation.




Deep inside I want to be in Haiti to walk beside someone who is hurting or to hold a scared child. But tonight I sit in the library...not motivated to do homework. But I can pray- pray for those who are hurting, those who are facing tragic loss, weary volunteers, and for strength for all to carry on. It's also a time to remember those who are hurting, lonely, and those who are facing battles in their own lives that we encounter every day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM-6rm1t9vY

"...the times you're hurting, the times that you heal, the times you go hungry and are tempted to steal, in times of confusion and chaos and pain. He's there in your sorrow...He's there through your heartache, He' there in the storm, His love will keep you by His power alone."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Looking Back

Just a few of my videos from my time in Uganda and Rwanda:

video

This was during our ride to be dropped off at our homestays.

video

My first big rain storm in Mukono. This one scared me, but I grew to love them.


video
During our time in Rwanda, we went to some local churches. Betty was our translator. She's such a beautiful, joyful person. This is Betty singing Amazing Grace in the van after church.



video

Karen (my cousin) and her friends Faith and Keith dancing. This was during my rural home stay in Kapchorwa.

video
I visited my mom's primary school one day. Her class sang to me :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lately

So it's been a couple weeks since I've posted and I went from being home on break back to college life. It all feels surreal and sometimes Uganda seems like a dream. It's been a weird stage to be in. I love being with my family and friends at home but at the same time I deeply miss my family and friends in Uganda. Too bad life isn't more like Startrek and we could be instantly transported to other places. "Beam me up, Jesus!" Ok so it doens't work that way....haha.

Coming back to school has been a roller coaster of emotions. It's awesome to get reconnected with my friends that I missed so much while I was gone. But it's also strange to step back into a life I haven't experienced in 8 months. Classes started today and I found myself feeling so distant and missing Uganda. I'm trying my best to be present and to stay tuned in with the here and now. I shouldn't live in the past b/c I'll miss what's right in front of me, but I need to learn how to incorporate all I learned and experienced in Uganda into the person I am now.

A word that we heard a lot in the beginning and end of our program was tension. That word has continued to pop in situations I find myself in, thoughts I have, and in questions I'm trying to find answers to. Tension isn't always a bad thing and it's usually present in times of change.

Tension.

Being tempted to slide back into my old ways and knowing the person God is calling me to be.

Tension.

Seeing and experiencing issues that seem hopeless and wondering what my role is.

Tension.

Coming home to wonderful friends and family, yet missing those I grew to love in Uganda.

Tension.

Seeking God's heart for His direction and knowing that those answers usually aren't instant.

Tension.

Wanting so badly to hold onto all I saw and those I met in Uganda, yet it's starting to feel like a dream.

Tension.

HIV/AIDS. Poverty. Starvation and Malnutrition. Watching a man who was dying in a hospital. Orphans. Corruption. Learning about those issues and putting real faces to them and also realizing there are people facing the same issues back home.

Tension.

Trying to figure out what is the best way to help and yet wondering if our methods are hurting those we seek to aid.

Tension.

Trying to apply presence, community, hospitality, real compassion, and a slower pace of life in a place where things tend to be much of the opposite.

Tension.

Getting to see God's heart and knowing He was in and working in all those situations before I knew of them. Knowing He has a plan, for good.

Hope.