Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smiles from Sarah

{Today you have the opportunity to hear from my dear friend, Sarah. She is literally boarding a plane in a few days and spending 8 months in a country that has stolen her heart. I'm so thankful for her desire to follow Christ wherever He leads. She currently blogs at Hello my name is: Mzungu. }

So many people ask me "Why you?" "Why Africa?" "Why now?"

But God asks "Why not you?" "Why not Africa?" "Why not now?"

Two years ago, if you had asked me what I was doing after high school, I would have told you I was going to college, hopefully Montevallo or Troy. 

I would have told you...

I was going to become an elementary school teacher. 
I was going to teach at an intercity school in another city, and probably stay in Alabama. 
I was going to meet my future husband in college and live happily ever after with a great job and a happy family, and we would live in a small house, probably even get a dog or two.

That's what was "best" for me... two years ago.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

In a just a few days, I will be boarding a plane to Uganda, East Africa. 


I’ll be living with a Ugandan family that runs Divine Care Ministries, doing life “the Ugandan way,” traveling, loving on some children, spreading the Word, teaching at their school, and helping out in the office with their child sponsorship program.

A little over a month ago, every single one of my friends moved off to college. They started school just like every other high school graduate, made new friends, and continued their education while having loads of fun in the process. 

Ever since the beginning of my senior year, I've probably been asked "So, where are you going to college?" at least 5 times a day because college is the "usual."

It's funny, the day I finally decided I was going to take a gap year to go to Uganda, I was already enrolled in school at Troy, had a roommate, and already knew where I was going to live. So if I told you I decided on a whim, I would be lying.  

It was NOT easy. 

I went back and forth between wanting to go to Uganda and wanting to go to college for over a year and a half, but somehow I just kept going back to Uganda. There were a lot of prayers, and even more tears. 

So many times I get asked if I'm scared. I was "scared" when I was planning my one week trip. The word "terrified" better describes it. The thought of packing my bags and moving 8500 miles away from everything I've ever known literally terrifies me.  I have so many fears, but compared to how big my God is, those fears are so small.

God never promises following him will be easy, or comfortable, or even fun. Because truthfully, it isn't about us. It isn't about our comfort, it's about God's name being made known to all people. What He does promise is that it will be worth it, and that He will be with us at all times. 

"Go and make disciples of all nations.....And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20). 

So, yes, hard times are almost guaranteed during my time in Uganda, but God guarantees His presence during the good and the bad. My fear of sickness, loneliness, and rejection are a given. They're expected, and aren't abnormal. But I can rest assured that I'm not the first to deal with whatever comes my way, and I will never be alone. 

"Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take." Joshua 1:9 (The Message)

Even though I am incredibly scared, I'm even more excited. In March, Uganda completely STOLE my heart. It's all I think about. The amount of joy I had while I was there is literally indescribable. 

The first day we were able to finally interact with some kiddos was the first time I felt what it was like to have sore cheeks from smiling constantly. I played tag with kids who couldn't speak my language, and not once did I have a problem communicating with them. I just laughed, tickled them, played patty cake, and hugged them over and over.

When I get nervous, THAT is what my mind goes straight to. 

I get to spend 8 months with the sweetest family, traveling all over Uganda, telling people about the best news there ever was. That in itself makes every bump in the road (literally and figuratively) so worth it.

Two years ago, I would have never chosen this for myself. 

Now, I can't imagine NOT going. 

That night at Student Life camp, when I told God "I'm done living for myself" and surrendered my life and my plans over to Him, I never expected THIS is what He had in mind. But now, a year and a half later, I am so thankful that His plans are bigger than mine were. I'm so thankful that He has chosen me to be a tiny part of what He is doing in Uganda. 

He really doesn't even need me. He WANTS to use me.

So, I go.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Who shall I send? Who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

Please pray with me as I prepare to embark on this new journey God has placed in front of me. May you all be blessed a million times over!

{Sarah, may you be blessed. May the LORD bless your work a million times over in Uganda. Thank you for following God's call in your life no matter how scary it may seem to you. I love you, dear.}

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Have an encouraging word for Sarah? Leave it in the comments below!

I'll also be checking in on Sarah during her stay in Uganda. 

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