Friday, June 7, 2013

Challenges and Joys

Since it seems I am at a loss to write on one specific blog topic, I thought I would do a review of recent happenings with a "Joys and Challenges" post.


Sickness and the Lack of Adequate Care
A lot of people around me have been sick and at this moment I have a new friend who is headed to the capital city with what appears to be a possible emergency situation. While others' sickness do not present a direct challenge to me, I hurt for them as they struggle with strange illnesses, not having enough time to rest and recover, and struggling with what many consider an inadequate medical system here. We are blessed with several "foreigners" who are medical professionals, but there is no way they have access to the resources to provide the treatment we are accustomed to in the U.S. This can be frustrating.

S-l-o-w  C-h-a-n-g-e
I spent part of this afternoon talking with a fellow missionary about the struggles we each face in teaching new information in a new way that can be far different than the norm in this culture. Some of it is not quickly embraced or passed on. Some methods which in theory sound great, don't always work practically here. While you pour your time and energy into people - they may not always appreciate the investment or use it wisely.  But we cannot give up. Encouraging change is a slow process, but a worthwhile one.

Being Far Away
One of my reoccurring struggles here is the fact that I often feel cut off from the rest of the world, and specifically my home in the U.S. I love e-mail and Facebook and how they help me to stay more connected, but I often feel like I am watching others' lives through a window pane - observing, but unable to really be part of their lives. This becomes especially hard as friends become engaged, marry and have children. Or when there is loss (such as my uncle's funeral today) or sickness or pain in a dear one's life. I am not sure there is a real solution to this as long as I am here, so I keep trusting God to help me with this particular struggle and give me His joy and peace.


A New Term
The island school began its second term of the year last week and it was great welcoming the students back! I love seeing their smiles, hearing about their holiday breaks and embarking together on a new session of school.

A New Brother
Yesterday Mama O and Gabe, one of our visitors, spent quite a bit of time with Geoffrey of Katonga village, who just on Wednesday joined the family of God! It was exciting to hear as they later retold us of how Geoffrey previously observed Christians in his village, particularly one man, and compared their lives to the lives of those who are not walking with Christ. He saw a marked difference between the two and noted that those who were not "born again" seemed to have no hope in this life or the next. Geoffrey had a lot of questions yesterday and seems to have a real desire to grow in his new faith. He was also excited to learn how big the family of God is around the world. :)

New Friends
In the past couple of weeks, SHIM has welcomed several sets of visitors - a few who are returning, but many who are visiting our island for the first time. They hail from Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington and even Ecuador! It is such a joy to get to know these dear people and learn of their heart for Africa and Uganda. It is also good for me to see my surroundings again with fresh eyes - their eyes as they take in everything around them.

God's Faithfulness
In all of these recent challenges and joys, I am buoyed by the ever-constant reminders of God's faithfulness. He is faithful not because I am, but because that is who He is. He is gracious, not because I am deserving, but because He is incredibly loving. He is constant and sovereign, not because my surroundings are, but because this is His unchanging character.

In the ebb and flow of life, there is great comfort and peace in knowing that God remains in control in all things and He is working all for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. Hallelujah and Amen!

What recent challenges and joys have you encountered?  
How has God shown His faithfulness to you?

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