“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” Song of Songs 7:10
When he’s gone, I miss him. I miss pretty much everything about him. His smile, tender heart, chuckle when he thinks he’s being funny. I miss the coffee he makes and Saturday night meals. I miss the texts he sends to check on me throughout the day. I miss him griping about the dog being a villain and even his sweaty, stinky running clothes (They definitely inspire me to get the laundry done.). But the two things I miss most are hearing his prayers and his shoulder. They are two things I lean on heavily.
He left for Uganda. It was his ninth trip there. The whole family was excited for him to go, because he loves serving in Africa so much. He loves encouraging people, laughing and even dancing. He loves asking questions about their culture and attempting their different languages. He loves making the women laugh when he asks how they cooked something because he would like to cook it for his wife. He loves seeing the church that God built through e-mail and the children of His Mercy School.
Most of our sponsor children go to school at His Mercy School. He loves being able to hug them and see their smiles. Two of our sponsor children are siblings so we’ve kind of adopted the whole family. Now with each visit he buys a goat or something similar to help the family. Mama Jessica, their mother, loves him and celebrates with song, loud cries and dancing when he comes to visit. He loves her so. She sometimes sends gifts back with him. Last year she wove me a Ugandan floor mat. We’ve made the joke that I have the fanciest stretching mat in America.
I sometimes get scared when he is gone, but I know in my heart he is doing what God has asked him to do and has gone where he has been asked to go. I still worry. Which causes me to spend a lot of time in prayer. The time he spends in Uganda has become a time of amazing spiritual meditation and surrender, because I have to trust God to take care of one of the greatest treasures He has given me.
When he comes home from Africa, he is always so happy to see his family, but you can tell he feels so heartbroken for his hurting brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world. He also knows that because of our church and his job here we are able to give so much to help there. To help in ways we wouldn’t be able to help if we lived there. So we stay.
Because we stay, God continually shows us ways we can pray and send aid there, while also showing us people here we can love and serve, as well. God did not call us to sit idly while we wait for visits every year. He called us to be present in all the places He has directed us. In the schools my kids attend, in our neighborhood, in the places we volunteer, in our church, in the bank where my husband works, in our family, in our extra-curricular activities, and of course, in Africa. There is a piece of us in each of these places. There is also a piece of God.
So yes, I miss him while he’s on his Ugandan adventures. But because of his work there we are blessed with the gifts of God’s goodness and being shown continuously how to distribute His love even further.
Soon I will hug his red dirt stained body and unshaven face from the days of travel. I will kiss him and make him a meal, while he shares all of his stories and laughs about misuses of foreign vocabulary. I will encourage him to take a long hot shower. I will watch him as he falls asleep on the pillow beside me while my words of life’s home adventures bring comfort and familiarity to his spirit. And I will once again pray with him as he arises the next morning and lean on his shoulder in relief that he is back with me once more.
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie the Pooh