Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Tension...

It is hard to describe my feelings right now… really excited to be getting to see my family in a few short days but also deeply sad to be saying goodbye (for awhile).

I can’t wait to get to stop in London and visit (the now married) Tiffany and then head on to Texas to see my family, whom I have not seen in 1.5 years. I can’t wait to catch up with friends whom I have only gotten to watch their life through facebook and the occasional phone call. I can’t wait to have all the yummy food and ice cream I can dream of, anytime I want, without spending hours making it from scratch. I can’t wait to enjoy the festive Christmas spirit with all the d├ęcor and atmosphere that makes it feel like it is really the season.

But at the same time I feel really sad to say goodbyes. I feel sad to leave Lulwanda before the secondary children have come home for holiday and to know that some of them might be back at school when I return to Uganda. I feel sad to hand over many activities that I would normally have a leading role in. I feel sad to know that I will be missing the 10-year anniversary celebration of LCH and the Christmas party. I feel sad that my house will host visitors but I will not be here. I feel sad to say goodbye to the missionary community here and to miss the fun they will have at Thanksgiving. I feel sad knowing that the Palmer family and all their laughter will not be part of my everyday life for a while. I feel sad to be missing the longest holiday for the children and the time that I have the most fun with them because they are free from school responsibility.

It is the tension of having a “home” and “family” on two different continents that has remained one of the hardest parts of being an overseas missionary. Wherever I am, half of my heart is missing.

But isn’t that tension what we all should feel? If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, then this world is not our home. This tension heightens my awareness of this truth.

So I ask you to pray for me and with me. I leave Mbale on Wednesday to fly to London for a few days and then onto Texas until the beginning of February.

Pray for the Lord to be my joy and my portion.
Pray for easy transition and adaptation to a “new” culture.
Pray that I would trust the Lord with the people and things I have left behind.
Pray for new opportunities for me to share the great work the Lord is doing in Uganda and in me.
Pray for rest and refreshment.

I debated whether to share these more personal things from my heart, but concluded that it is better to have more people praying more specifically. So, here are some specifics, I am asking in faith, to see the Lord move in:

-      *  I am just getting over having malaria. Pray that I do not have a fever while entering England or America (because I know there is a heightened thought that Africa + fever = ebola. The reality is that I am 4000 miles away from where the outbreak is, so though I am not worried that I have it, I am worried that others might be ignorant of Africa’s geography).

-      *  My parents have recently moved to a new town and a new house. So, though I am going “home” it will not be the same home or city I have called home my whole life.  This means not only will I now live in the “village” instead of the big city, but I also don’t have friends, a church, or any of the other norms I am used to. Pray that I can easily adjust and enjoy the slower pace of life.

-      *  Pray that I can get plugged into a small group with other people my age.

-      *  I would like to see a Christian counselor while I am in the States, ideally if they have some experience in missionary work. BUT I have no idea where to look for this connection or how much it would cost. Pray that God brings the perfect connection in Burnet, Texas or nearby.

-     *   Please pray for quality time to connect with my sister and fun memory-makers with my whole family.

-      *  As furloughs go, I also need to do personal fundraising to cover my living costs for this next year in Uganda. I never want to feel like I am trying to “prove my worth” to those I share with, but sometimes this takes the Holy Spirits intervention to remind me that all my provisions are in the Father’s hand. Please pray for a proper perspective and wisdom in my fundraising.

-      * Pray for the Lord to inspire big dreams and hopes for this next year and beyond.

-      * Pray for perspective, clarity, joy, and identity in the Lord and where He continues to lead my life.

-       * I have already seen the Lord providing some practical needs, like a car to drive while I am in the States (Thank You!). But some other “wants” I am hoping for are: to attend a Christian conference and/or concert, a plane ticket (or two or three) to visit dear friends in Midland and other states, a new smart phone (since mine seems to be on its deathbed), a new camera (since mine has gone missing), amazon gift cards (for the random things that help make life in Uganda a bit more comfortable).

I recently read this article and thought it was pretty accurate (surprising how many things in this article have already been things I have asked the Lord to provide). Have a read if you are interested. 

Thank you for praying for me. I am so grateful. Maybe I will see you in Texas soon :)