At times I have wondered what path am I really on and where in the world I am going. Yet, I have no reason to fret or worry since God is the one weaving my story.
Let me begin from the start...
I was born to a hippie and a yuppie, thus making me a "yippie." Not sure what a "yippie" is, but it sounds fun to me. ; )
My Oregonian dad met my Californian mom in Texas and produced two Texan daughters. I am the oldest, a blonde, blue-eyed gal, who was followed a short 16 months later by my dearly loved younger sister, born with a full crown of raven-black hair and a face dotted with two hazel brown eyes.
|My sister and I as little "yippies."|
My memories don't go as far back or as south as Texas. When I was just two our family moved northwest to Oregon. This beautiful western state, with its breathtaking mountains, tree-encrusted hills and valleys and rocky ocean shores, has been my home for most of my life.
I had an uneventful, but special and memorable childhood. However, the very month I turned 18, something rocked my world. While most students would be itching to enter the next adventure, leaving childhood and rushing forward into adulthood, that wasn't me. I loved the security of my home and did not like new places, new people, new activities - anything that pushed me out of my comfort zone.
The next step was HUGE and definitely pushed me out of my comfort bubble. I began working part-time at our local weekly newspaper. This seemed like a perfect fit for someone who loves writing and published her own family newspaper for six years...at least to my mom, it was a good fit. I went in, kinda kicking and screaming.
Looking back now I see this was one of the best things that ever happened to me and brought me to a place of new opportunities, lots of new growth, and on a path to opening new doors.
Since it is a small family-owned paper with a skeletal crew, I wore a number of hats - writer, photographer, darkroom tech, ambulance chaser, receptionist, circulation manger, ad salesperson, delivery gal, dog-walker, window-washer and more.
Each role, job and assignment stretched me in new ways, forcing me out of my shy, fearful self-made shell into a much bigger world that I slowly discovered was not as scary as it had once seemed. In fact, it was rather quite interesting and exciting, and the people in it were not as scary or as intimidating as I had always believed.
At a New Year's Eve service in 2006, God gave me some scriptures that I claimed for my future journey - whatever it would be.
Proverbs 3:5-6 say "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your path."
At that time, after 8 years at the newspaper, I was itching for a new adventure, yet, I believed I needed to embrace and act on the above verses, before God would reveal the next chapter of my story.
Later in 2006 I began researching different ministries and mission opportunities. The more I looked at, the more overwhelmed I became. There were so many options! How would I know which one to choose?
About mid-2006, God brought my missionary friend, Karina, home from Uganda, Africa because of sickness. One afternoon as I shared about my overwhelming quest, she asked if I had ever considered going to Uganda. I didn't respond right away. I had written several stories about Karina and her work in Uganda, but had never pictured myself there. In fact, overseas missions had definitely not been on my radar screen for most of my life.
But that very afternoon, God confirmed this was my next step and I responded with tears of happiness and joy. Fast forward to October 2006 and I was boarding a plane for a three-month stay in Uganda, on a small tropical island on the second largest lake in the world.
Me on a wooden boat - the transport of the islands.
That three months evolved into nearly five months, and I came to love the people, places and country of Uganda.
Then I flew home. I thought God was leading me into another ministry training, and then He closed that door. Not knowing exactly what to do next I returned to the newspaper.
Fast forward two years. Even after being home for awhile people still asked me when I was going back to Uganda. The questions were coming often enough I thought maybe I should pray about it. As I prayed, God confirmed the next step - return to Uganda.
In a process of about 9 months, I joined Global Outreach International, went through their training, raised support, left the newspaper again, said goodbye to my family, friends, co-workers, church family and others, and boarded a plane back to Uganda on January 10, 2010 to work with Shepherd's Heart International Ministry.
The ministry was founded by my friend Karina in 2007 and is based on the Buvuma Islands of central/southern Uganda.
|Me with the Morning Star Bible Study girls, whom I teach every Saturday afternoon during the school year.|
That was over 5 years ago. What has happened in the interim and what God has taught me and is teaching me through this incredible "Journey of Faith" is mostly what this blog is about. I can look back and see how my experiences at the newspaper, serving in my community and in my church, and other relationships and interactions have been woven together to prepare me for what I am doing now.
One of my favorite quotes is from WWII survivor Corrie Ten Boom:
"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
I pray the words shared here will also encourage you on your own "Journey of Faith," wherever you are at or whatever you may be doing.
What is most important about your story is not necessarily what is being written, but Who is writing it.
Life is an incredible and fulfilling adventure when God is at the helm!
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." - Hebrew 11:8-10
A few interesting facts about me:
- I love rice, beans, potatoes (staple foods in Uganda), as well as coffee and popcorn.
- I love, love, love the color blue!
- I am an introvert, but am learning a bit how to be an extrovert. ; )
- I love reading, listening to music, using social media and staying connected with people around the world.
- I have been adra water since a baby, yet God called me to live on an island. He has a sense of humor... : : )
- My passions are working with young people, teaching and communication, all of which I am involved in right now.
- After working in journalism for 11 years, typos are a big pet peeve of mine! (So, if you see typos, please let me know. ;)
- I prefer reading non-fiction books over fiction titles.
- I come from a one-stoplight small town, which was the best place ever to grow up!
- My favorite sport is basketball - both to play and watch.
- I never, ever dreamed I would someday be serving in Africa, but God has bigger dreams for us than we could ever imagine. : )