After much thought and prayer, I've decided to go back to Uganda this summer! And this time, I have to say I am actually excited about it! My first and only trip to Uganda was back in December of 2010. (You can read about that excursion here.) I can remember the day my pastor asked me to go like it was yesterday. I was at dinner with some friends and I received a text from my pastor that read, "Would you like to go to Uganda this December?"
I just about freaked out. I always thought it would be "neat" to go to Uganda but I never actually thought I would go. My pastor also helped form Project Hope Worldwide - a non-profit organization that has built an orphanage in Lira, Uganda. I had just started blogging for PHWW about a month before he asked me to go. He wanted me to go with him and three others because construction had just started on the orphanage, called "Calo Me Lare", and he wanted me to get pictures of the building, as well as take pictures of the orphans that would be living there. The trip would provide great blogging material as I would get to see everything first-hand.
Most people would jump at the chance to go but I reluctantly said "yes". Inside, I was crying and scared like a baby. I would be away from my family for 16 days! And the more I read about Uganda's history and civil war with the Lord's Resistance Army, I terrified myself even more. What if this was the last time I would see my family?! What if the LRA attacks and kills us or takes us hostage?! What I die a martyr?! The "what ifs" took over my mind and it was all I could think about the entire time leading up to my trip and even until about one week into my trip while in Uganda.
Then I had an "experience". On the 8th night of my trip, I was lying in my bed reading when all of a sudden the lights went out. I did not know that Uganda occasionally has power outages and was not prepared for it at all. I had a little book light but the bulb went out shortly after the electricity did, too. I was so scared I could literally hear my heart pounding. I was in Uganda in a pitch dark room all by myself with no way to communicate with the outside world. After freaking out in my mind for about 3 or 4 hours, I finally did what I should have done in the first place. I prayed. Almost instantly a calm and peace came over me which affected me for the rest of the trip. I was finally able to enjoy myself and live in the moment. I was reminded that the trip wasn't about me anyway. It was about following what God had called me to do - even when I was fearful.
So I made it home alive and I'm a living testimony that God equips those He calls and he gives strength to the weary. And now I have the chance to go again and I am truly excited to go this time! I get to see all the children now living at the orphanage whereas before, I saw them when they were orphans living in their villages - poor, hungry, sick, unclothed, and uncared for. There are now 48 children living at Calo Me Lare and I can't wait to see their smiles and hug their necks! Four months! The countdown is on!