I spent my 20s openly envious of several friends who moved to Africa. (Or even friends who visited for a few weeks at a time.) I would soak up their stories when they returned and want to hear all of the life-altering lessons they learned. I lived vicariously through them. I would ooooh and ahhhh over their African “gear” that they brought back: art work, jewelry and bags, envisioning the women who made them…longing to meet one in person myself.
I would even pray that God would move me to Africa “some day”…
It wasn’t the animals or safari that intrigued me–it was the beautiful people, the amazing scenery, and the poor who inhabited the streets and shacks. And then I had children. I thought, I guess Africa will wait. Maybe when Chris and I retire–we can go work with HIV+ patients or bring some sort of subsistence living concept to an under resourced village. That will be my “time” in Africa.
When we began to feel nudges toward adoption my heart leapt at the thought of Africa being the place where we would complete our family. When God continued to affirm us and put us in position to go to UG I was over the moon thrilled. I knew the process in UG took longer than other African countries–but secretly I was okay with that because I–again secretly/openly–had always wanted to move there anyway! I had NO idea that my prayers might be answered–and maybe I should have been more specific about the fact that I would prefer not to be solo with 5 kids in tow.
Last October we were given an amazing opportunity to go and visit Watoto childrens’ villages and Watoto church in Uganda. It is an amazing ministry–the children’s villages–and the church itself making DEEP impact throughout the entire country of Uganda. One of the things that really affirmed our choice to adopt in UG and not some other African country is the love the church–and we knew we would have some connections and some familiarity in UG in the ever so massive continent of Africa.
As challenging as it is to live in a less developed country at times, the blessing of the familiar when it comes to having been here before has been incredible. Tonight we went to the Saturday night service at Watoto Central and it was like coming home. I was weepy through most of the service….but simply moved to tears by the power of that place and the movement of God’s Spirit there. Incredibly it is a huge church but the first person I saw there was Bonny who was our guide for the duration of our last visit! I got chills thinking about the Christmas Contata that we will attend and apparently the children’s villages put on a children’s Christmas Contata and you can be sure we will be visiting Suubi for this!
The message was just what I needed to hear–and the kids sat for the 1 and 45 minutes without any giggles. The cultivating patience appears to be legitimately working!?!? (There were a few long sighs–but nothing that a long hard stare could not fix.) Quite honestly I was shocked by my kids’ ability to be “patient” and quiet for that long–although the worship is great and we did sing “Oh Happy Day”…but I am certain they could not understand anything else that was taught–as there is just an “ear” for hearing a Ugandan speak English. Funny–because I think in the US I would almost be apologizing to my kids for this type of inconvenience…I am SOOOOO sorry you have to sit still and quiet while mommy worships God and hears a message that she SO needs to hear–but I am SO sorry for interrupting your little life and expecting you to quietly sit still. Why do we do this with our children, expect so little from them? Why do we feel TERRIBLE if they have to wait in long lines or for appointments, etc. We bribe, threaten, or just feel guilty when our children are “put out” from their previously scheduled programs of doing…nothing but being a kid! I can tell you now I am going to expect more from my kiddos when we get back to the US. They are capable of far more patience than I had given them credit for! I actually think it is great for them to learn that life is simply not all about them.
But back to the day–it was SO good to see familiar faces, be given the spiritual salve of worship on my heart, a great message on transformative prayer, and a hug from an old friend. What a gift.
If this is what God hands me in the midst of the wait…I will take it every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
May You Be a Blessing and May Your Worship Be Sweet Today,