Sunday, October 16, 2011

And--we're on our way

Arriving in Uganda last June
I'm guessing that most of you have gotten wind of our new direction. But just to get it all out there:

We're moving to Africa.

As in Kampala, Uganda. As in January. As in all six of us.

And baby, it is already one wild ride.

There are a thousand stories to tell you already about this crazy adventure God is writing--and a dream He's fulfilling. These stories find me swerving deeply into faith, and sometimes back into fear, too.

At the recommendation of a friend, I began a list last week of the definitive ways God's encouraged us and communicated so clearly to us, from our perspective, that this is where He's directing. There were already 25! Some of them are uncanny:
  • Finding eMi from a Google search, and upon clicking to contact for more information, it's an old family friend (close enough that my parents were his godparents). 
  • The eMi World Staff Conference that hasn't happended in five years but was held in August in Colorado--so my kids got to meet all of their new missionary kid friends from Uganda right here in the States. 
  • The woman who offered to pay for our plane tickets before we sent out our first letter.
  • This position with eMi that combines some vastly different areas of John's gifting into one occupation crafted for him--that fuels both of our passion for helping the oppressed.
  • John's recent connection with the deputy ambassador from Uganda regarding Peacemaking there.
Watching God work has been breathtaking. I keep verbalizing things like, "Seriously?!"

And still, I find myself mentally dashing back to Hebrews 11 as step after step closes doors and opens others toward January 30, 2012. With God's grace, I screw my courage to sticking places like this:

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (vv. 15-16)

Verses like these--and especially those that remind me of God's character--comfort me as we've said some quiet but significant goodbyes lately. Like to most of our stuff at a garage sale. Like hearing that my son's friend was crying about him leaving. Like my sister wondering again how she'll explain to my two-year-old niece that her cousins/best friends won't be coming around anymore. Or our closing chapter to another faith journey that was FamilyLife, one that was so far beyond what we could ever ask or imagine or think. We have been deeply blessed here. And we're not moving because we think we would be more blessed somewhere else, but because He's asking. So as I walked out of the building alone after a horde of friends prayed for us, the door thumped shut behind me on a place where I've felt respected and that my input and gifts were desired and used. As I think of that, each time I have to decide: Faith, or fear?

We have seen God blow our minds too many times to doubt this journey. He has been good, good, good even in times of great pain for us, and even now, the countless little (and big) generosities are humbling, even mind-boggling. They are, and He is, around every corner, encouraging us and calling us on. But would you pray that in every small moment, we would not just be pulled along, but be more than conquerors?

My other request is this. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks, and simply the emotion of this road that is separating us from things and opportunities, but more importantly people, who are dear to us. I find myself crying at random times; praise songs take on these new shades of meaning; and circumstances often require I pray in lieu of freaking out. I'd ask you to pray for our strength, and that we'd know--and do--the good works God's prepared in advance for us.

The great thing about a time like this in which you're completely in over your head (!) is that success can only mean one thing: It wasn't you.
A sweet moment: Holding a (sleeping) fellow Ugandan traveler on our extended layover last June


Soaring High said...

Praying for your whole family Janelle. Coming from a family who half has lived over-seas, it is hard. Skype was wonderful for little cousins and relationships though. From China, to Mexico to the US, my whole family has been able to maintain contact and keep cousins close. Blessings on you all!!!

mhutsell said...

Such a great post friend. Your requests are spot on and I know with your intentionality to focus on truth that you will be blessed. I relate to the elation at seeing God work and do it so clearly and yet the fears that creep in...counting the cost really. Would it be worship if there were no cost? I have often thanked God for allowing me to "see" what some never get to see. By dreaming these great dreams with God's eyes we get to really see. We love you guys! We are praying for you! Melissa.