And no, I am not pregnant. Or adopting a kid.
I’m wrapping up my 9th month in Uganda and am so thankful for all that God has done. We have worked with AOET’s staff on consistent reporting and now we have a monthly status report. We have hired a new accountant and worked with him to get the books in shape and to develop reports that can be shared across countries. We merged empowerment back under Child Welfare and it has been great seeing them make an impact on our guardians. We even got the church network thriving again and had an AOET Staff prayer meeting. One of my (many) highlights! We made great strides this year and I truly praise God for all he has done! Psalm 139 says:
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
So true! I feel that deeply in my soul.
AND SOME LOW LIGHTS:
This year I have also learned exactly what it means when the Bible says in our weakness He is strong, because I have felt small compared to the task, ridiculously inadequate and have had to face almost every one of my weaknesses straight on. There are LOTS that we did not accomplish this year and I just had to be OK with that and trust that God managed what he desired most. I made many mistakes and definitely experienced the challenges of cross-cultural communication. I won’t lie, it’s been a tough season with malaria and identity theft and visits to eye Dr’s in other countries, but what has amazed me most is that I have constantly felt God’s presence with me. I certainly do not understand his ways, but he has not left me alone. He has been my ever present companion through 17 hour bus trips, meetings with tax authorities and maybe even in my dark hours with my head being cooled by the porcelain of my toilet. (TMI?…)
PRIMARILY, POVERTY SUCKS BUT THE GOSPEL IS STUNNING:
I have also experienced injustice in ways that will never heal. Over and over again. Corruption, exploitation, broken relationships, broken bodies, kids all alone in this world. And now the stories have names and faces. They have called me Aunty or Mama and welcomed me into their lives. I have seen faith and strength. I have heard music and seen literal mourning become dancing. At times it has been so overwhelming and yet, I continue to fall in love with Dickens or Kakooza or Emma or Resty or Amongin or the sweet boys in Ryme Bushes Crew. And when the mama in me hurts too much at what they struggle with, they remind me of the words of an angel announcing Jesus birth:
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
The reality of that good news sustains and emboldens. It is so much more than a spiritual ideal, but as I have worshiped alongside these kids, it’s clear that it is a reality to live by. They know that Christ loves them and has a way forward for each one of them. They are constantly being transformed by the good news and it is ever shinning anew in their eyes. It is sufficient and it a reason to shout!
It has been quite the year for me yet, as often happens, the grand plan has changed. After many discussions, it has been decided that I am coming home this month. Yep, I am a couple months early from the original plan, but I feel confident that my time has been blessed and fruitful and that we have actually accomplished more than we had any reason to expect. There were many surprise challenges this year and yet we were able to make great progress, but the reality is right now–with the Chosen tour–we need more support in our US office. We have analyzed the priorities and it’s clear that I am now needed far more in Portland than in Uganda. So, I am in a mad dash to sell my car, move out, say good bye and wrap up. That’s a lot and yet I am confident that this is exactly the right step to take and the right timing!
I’d appreciate your prayers as we manage this transition and if you are in the US, I will see you soon!
3 thoughts on “wow, a lot can happen in 9 months…”
Hello again, Tina. Sorry I didn’t get back to you last week, but we were getting all our gear in the trailer to head out for the first day of deer season. We had a good time with family and friends high in the mountains, but no one even saw a deer. Oh well!
We have been praying for the perfect time for you to return to the states and feel confident that the Lord is in this. It may not be Argentina (Buenos Aires), but the Lord has His hand on you wherever He sends you. We really appreciate your flexibility as you follow Him. God bless you lots, Sally Sweem
You might want to take another look at Psalm 23 and note how very personal it is. Just for you. “The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not want. He makes ME lie down in green pastures; He leads ME beside quite waters (waters of rest). He restores MY soul; He guides ME in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Wow Tina, what a 9 months! Thank you for sharing how God has blessed you and walked with you through the trials and triumphs this year. Your blog blessed me today! Could really relate to some of the things you mentioned. Thank you for sharing this with us. Will be praying for your travel preparations and transition home to OREGON! =)
Yay! You are coming home! I am so happy and will look forward to seeing you soon. Safe travels and God bless you richly, Tina.