“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless in this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
In 2006, God began to take our family on a journey filled with adventures. My husband and I had stepped out of our American box and joined a tour to the Holy Land. It was the first time either of us had been off our continent. It was a time of connection, recommitment, and learning to listen to God. At the time we were facilitating a Disciple class at our church, so we were really eager to share everything we had seen with our classmates. Not only did we get to share with them the trip that year, but a few months later something else began to work on our hearts. When you ask God to help you hear his voice – be ready to listen.
My husband became obsessed with foreign missions. He would attend events where missionaries were speaking, practically memorize the World Vision magazines we received in the mail, and even set up a file folder for missions information. (He’s gifted in administration. So the file folder was a sign for me to buckle in, it just got serious.)
One day, he did it. He took the plunge and jumped into the deep end.
After reading a book on saying “yes” to Jesus before we even know the question, he said, “Yes!” (Thank goodness! I can’t imagine our lives without all the adventures!)
When he shared with me what he’d done, I honestly prayed, “Thank you, God, for his faithfulness, but please, not Africa.” (Now, I can’t even remember why I was afraid of Africa. I guess it just seemed so far away.)
Then the World Vision magazine arrived talking about the child soldier’s in Northern Uganda. Children ages 8-14 were being kidnapped and forced to kill and destroy.
My son was nine at the time.
My husband’s heart gushed. I’d never seen passion spill from his soul like that. It was leaking out his pours.
He researched everything on the subject he could and came across the Invisible Children’s site. They had produced a video on the topic and were going from town to town presenting a money raising campaign to help the child soldiers.
Around the same period of time as my husband considered ordering the Invisible Children’s video, our church hired a Mission’s Director. His first week on the job (I think it was the second day), my husband walked in to talk to him. His advice, “We need to go.” That day they began to plan a trip for the following year.
I had been working Vacation Bible School the day of the meeting with one of our past babysitters, a college student and friend. When she asked about my family, I openly shared about my husband’s heart for Uganda. She looked at me with big eyes and said she had a video she wanted my husband to see and went to her car to retrieve so I could borrow it.
That night when my husband shared with me his news about the mission meeting, he told me he was going to go ahead and order the Invisible Children’s video. That’s when I ran to my car, grabbed the video my friend had given me and handed it to him saying, “This one?” God had already done the work of securing the research tool that would gain our church’s support.
We had many confirmations over the next year leading to The Uganda Mission Project’s beginning. We are currently in the ninth year of our church making the annual trek to Uganda; in fact, we have a small team leaving in three weeks. The suitcases come down this weekend in Thorntonville to begin the annual pack.
While we intended to serve and help child soldiers, God had something different in mind. I’ll share more about that later, with a story of a last minute unexpected change before the first team left on the mission.
Before signing off, I do want to share these two last thoughts:
First, my husband, after realizing he was being called to go to Africa, did ask God why. He told God there was plenty of work to be done in the United States. God told him, “Yes, indeed there is, but you haven’t done it. Africa will be good for you.”
After going the first time, he came home with eyes that had been opened to see children who were impoverished and with out a voice. He now serves them on both continents. I guess, sometimes God takes us away to help us see clearly.
Second, when asked why we don’t move there? The answer is, “God has revealed, at least for us, we can do more here for the people there than we could if we lived there. Plus, God is using us here to help, as well.”
My husband continues to work as both a full time banker and missionary. Over the years, ministry opportunities have flourished through both fields. Our hope is that all laborers will see that their faith and fields can be used to serve Christ. There are too many in need to leave it to just non-profits, field missionaries and profession ministers. It takes more than a village. It takes a body of believers.