Eric and I recently got back from a mission trip to Kenya. Our home church in Lubbock came to Nairobi to do a medical clinic in the Kibera slum, which is one of the largest in Africa. Not only was it great to see people from back home, it was also great to get to do so much in such a short time. Sometimes I feel guilty in Uganda because I am not doing something every second of every day. If you have ever been on a short term mission trip you know that there is always something to be done. Your schedule is packed from early in the morning until late at night. Being in Uganda long term, I do not have as busy of a schedule. This is the first long term mission I have ever been on, so the only thing I have to compare to is short term missions. When I first got here, I had a hard time feeling like I should be doing more. I was comparing this trip to short term mission trips. Although neither outlook is wrong, it was great to accomplish so much in Kenya!
Eric and I helped with the pharmacy at the medical clinic.We sat in a dark room, counted pills, and put them into baggies all day. Although it was a tedious job, it was a very fulfilling job. The Church on the Rock team was able to see, diagnose, and give medicine to over 1,300 people in just three days. You can imagine how busy we were in those three days. After the first day we were all excited, but at the same time a little frustrated with ourselves. We had become so caught up in getting people medically treated, that we forgot the real reason we were there. That first day I never talked to any of the patients about God. I didn't pray with any of them, and I don't think I even looked most of them in the eye. It is very similar to our everyday lives. We get so caught up in what we are doing that we forget why we are here. Although I wish I had shared God's word to more people that first day, there was nothing I could do to change it. All I could do was focus on changing the next day. Over the next couple days, I spent any spare time praying for the patients waiting in line. Some of them did not want prayer, so I just smiled and loved on them. I played with their children, and prayed personally that they would see God's love through the work we were doing. I don't know if any of the work we did was life changing for the people in the slum, but I do know that those 1,300 people saw God's love in those three days and sometimes that's the best thing you can do.
We also got to go on a safari! I have never been a big animal person, so I was surprised to see how excited I was about the animals. My favorite animal was the giraffe. They are so calm and peaceful , and I actually learned on the safari that they have the biggest heart of all the animals there.They have the biggest heart because it has to pump blood so far up their neck. I was happy to hear that my favorite animal had the biggest heart, even if its is for practical reasons and not for loving and emotional reasons. We were not aloud out of the car to take pictures with any of the animals except for the hippos, which are actually the world's deadliest animal. It didn't make sense to me either, but we got out and got some photos with them. They are actually much scarier than I had always imagined, so I stayed far from them.
Those ten days in Kenya were amazing for many reasons, but the best part for me was to see friends and family. I'm sure most of you know how close I am to my family, and it gets difficult to be so far away from them. It was very difficult saying goodbye to them. It felt like we were starting all over again in Africa. I began to feel that life back home was moving on without us, and we were left behind. I had my pitty party for the night before accepting that, yes, life is moving on in Lubbock. Life there did not stop when I left. When I return home, I will have two new cousins, my sister and brother-in-law will be parents, and my brother will be a college graduate. Many things are going on in Lubbock, but for this season in my life God asked me to be in Uganda. That is really all I need to know. People ask us all the time how we are doing, and the answer is that we are doing very well and we are very happy. That does not mean that we never miss home, or that we want to live here forever. It just means that we are where God called us to be during this season, and that is really the best place to be.