I’ve always been pretty laid back, but I do like to have a plan. God, it seems, is enjoying changing things up on me. I have from the beginning of this thing, said that God is driving the train and I’m just along for the ride. I’m pretty sure I know the final destination, but the route seems to be ever-changing. To trust means to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. I trust in the Lord and I know Satan will try to test that.
In January 2011, I went to Uganda just with the hope of gaining some information about land costs as a way to have a starting point when I spoke with people about fundraising. I was not thinking at all about actually buying land. I hadn’t even started fundraising or done the non-profit/501(c)3 paperwork, but God was doing something. I fell in love with a property, and felt like the Lord was leading me to look into the possibility. I came home and had fuel driving me to share and to get organized. I had my first fundraising/informational meeting and God showed me the support system He had built around me. I spent the summer doing paperwork to become a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization. All because God had given me a property to keep me motivated.
Mid October, I received an email that made me wonder what God was doing. The property I thought He had picked out for ALMU was sold. WHAT?!?! I wrestled with the Lord. I didn’t know why He had given me that hope just to take it away. I grieved the loss. And then I was reminded that this is God’s train and I am just a passenger. He has a purpose for everything He does. He knows me better than I know myself. He knew that I wouldn’t do my paperwork or even attempt at doing the 501(c)3 application until there was a reason. The land was a tool in the Potter’s hand. He used it to motivate me and it did.
So what now??? I am an official non-profit with my 501(c)3, but what for??? What is the next step???
Side note: in my personal life, God has been speaking to me about the importance of community. It would be my natural tendency to say, “Hey, I’m moving to Uganda soon, so I’ll just not dig in too deep here”. You know, less pain from eventual goodbyes. God has steadily, faithfully been whispering to me that He is a communal God and I am built to be in relationship because it is who He is and I am His.
January 2012, I am in Uganda again. No expectations of what God will do this year. I wasn’t going to look at land again. I had hopes of one or two meetings, but we would see. What I knew…I was excited to spend time with good friends in Jinja. Is it possible that God has been teaching me about community for this time? I had 7 days after the team left. Five of those were spent with people I knew, hanging out. God fortified my relationship with Vicky, a very, very dear friend. Some superficial relationships were solidified in the Lord.
I spent two days on ALMU business… the first was a 4.5 hour hang out/play session with an organization called His Hope Uganda. Kimi is a canadian gal who has been in Uganda for 3 years starting and running a sponsorship organization. She welcomed me into her home, with her kids. I was “hoping” for a business meeting to talk camp, and I found myself asking Kimi about her community and support there in Uganda. Building community. The second was a series of meetings with government type people to do paperwork to become an officially recognized organization in Uganda. The paperwork is being processed, but more importantly, I made two new and necessary friendships, one with Emma, a Ugandan driver and a wonderful contact outside of CoG that is very familiar with NGO work in the area, the other with Simon, the highest government guy in the Jinja district who controls NGO work in the area. He is actually preparing my papers for me. Awesome!! I don’t know that he generally does that, but he said that I would have everything in order the next time I was in Uganda (because I waited until the day before I was leaving to do this). So cool!! God is building a community of support around me in Uganda just as He is in the US. I am so blessed!!
I am learning that just as the church is not a building, but a body, God is showing me that camp is not going to be the land that it will someday be on, but the people who He brings together to do it. I cannot wait to see the team and family that God builds who will partner with me to run camp for the youth of Uganda.
Flexibility is always a key element in doing ministry. As many times as the direction seems to change, I will continue to sit back and enjoy the ride on this train with my Lord. I trust that He is in control and knows exactly what He is doing!!! Please pray that He would continue to strengthen relationships that He has built. Thank you!!