He knows my heart when we turn to our geography lessons and we linger on Ethiopia where Rehimet, Tsion and Habiba are, or in Tanzania where Zahara lives, or in Burkina Faso where Jonathan draws pictures and asks us to pray for his mother who does not know God. And of course, Uganda.
These are the ministries that stir me up. This massive country that I have never been to that beckons me. The people who I have never met, that I love.
My eyes welled a bit and I willed my lids to hold it back. After all, this was a few people from the last missions trip to Uganda sharing a few blurbs about their experience. This shouldn’t choke me up while my heart thrums with excitement. But it did.
My dream has always been about global missions but I live in Bend Oregon where racial diversity is practically non-existent. The first time Judah saw a black man in real life, he was already three and marveled at his waist length dreadlocks and chocolaty skin.
So I have asked God, why did you give me this desire? Why is it that from the very first grasp of God’s love and grace, this heart for Africa came as well? And yet, there have truly been no opportunities to go.
Our original plan was to marry and work for a few years and then venture into missions. But God didn’t allow that to happen. So for the last 14 years, there has been no open door. And I know that when God wants to open a door, he does. Simple as that.
So here’s what I’ve come up with while waiting on God. I don’t know. Super deep and profound, I know. But I think it may have something to do with obedience. In my life, it usually does.
Blooming where we’re planted and all that. So I’m looking down at my roots making sure they’re being watered and fed and burrowed in deep and I’m branching out into the garden around me. And I’m waiting for the gardener to do His work.
Because you see, I am not able to go right now. The door is still closed. But I am still able to grow. I won’t be on that plane but that doesn’t mean it’s not my mission trip. When the team from my church sets out in September and lands in Uganda, my prayers will shadow them.
The Empty Nesters at church put on a fundraiser dinner to help support Path Ministries Otino-Waa Children’s Village, where the past Uganda trips have gone, and local ministry One-thirty one, I bought tickets.
And the dinner they put on, complete with a mystery menu was amazing. We had to pick each course by clues, including our silverware. If you didn’t pick run away dinner companion in your first course, you wouldn’t have a spoon to eat whatever other thing found its way onto your plate.
While I was strategizing whether or not bronzed pearls was an entrée or a dessert, (it turned out to be dates wrapped in bacon, swoon) this group of older men and women were demonstrating one way to serve where they are, using the resources available to them. Empty nests and free time.
And although my nest is full and free time is one of those things I vaguely remember from before I had children, I do have resources. So when I heard her share about her time in Uganda, I said a silent prayer that God would use me here.