Week one felt like a short term mission trip. It was fast-paced, there were tons of people running here and there with a go, go, go, try to do everything in 7 days mindset. I loved it and think it was the perfect jumpstart to the summer here. An amazing time with amazing people doing amazing things for our Mighty and Awesome God.
This week however was more chill, more focused on settlement and preparation for the remaining two months. I still don’t think it’s fully registered in my mind that I’m going to be here for such a long period of time, but can honestly say that I feel at home now. Fully over jet lag, getting to know my hosts better, figuring out a “routine” (as much as one can be, living in Africa lol), and even exercising daily (any other P90Xers out there?) :).
The missionaries have been so gracious answering my bazillion questions. I truly want to immerse myself in this culture and figure out what makes Acholis unique. I’m curious about the tribal traditions and the belief system, the history of this place before, during and after the war. For the Acholis who profess Christianity, what does salvation mean to them? What’s the work ethic here? What value do they place on responsibility and trustworthiness? Yeah…so many things… And these guys don’t have answers for everything I want to know, which is good. It’s made me search things out for myself.
You know what’s cool is that God is teaching me something very similar in my morning devotions regarding my spiritual walk. He’s showing me that though I may have great, wise people who have thriving relationships with the Lord pouring themselves into me, no man has all the answers to my questions of who God is and what He wills for my life. Only God does. And time with Christian people cannot replace time spent at the feet of Jesus. I still need to invest in a personal relationship with Him myself. I need to dive deeper into the Word on my own to find out more about His character, how Christ lived and what He requires of me.
The Bible is a treasure chest filled to the brim with precious gems and we have potential to discover new things about the Lord by searching it every day. God is more than eager to reveal himself to us, we just need to actively seek Him and immerse ourselves in His Word.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Ooookaaay…so coming back to my point 😉 …one of my methods of discovering new things about this lovely place is to take time to simply observe people, study the way they carry themselves and relate to others, see how they labor, produce goods and do life. I did that this week, focusing in on a different area of ministry at Abaana’s Hope each day. Nope, there’s nothing deeply spiritual about that. It’s not active service, just sitting there wide-eyed, in silence. But I think doing this will assist me as time moves on, and I begin engaging more with these people, to help me realize that we’re different and how we can best work together and pursue Christ alongside one another.
Here’s a tidbit in pictures…
Have you seen Joy in the Jewelry Room? That’s where all this week’s pictures of the bead rollers are. When you sit down and watch these women twist those strips of paper around the metal rod so fast, you’d think it would be an easy task. But it’s not. Ohhhh it’s not. 😉 The other day Akuma Agnes decided it was time for me to learn to roll. She patiently instructed me to roll tighter and laughed with me when I totally messed up like 5 times in a row. To give you an idea of my progress: in the time I rolled 6 beads, Agnes had at least 25 on her rod…so yeah haha…my admiration for these women increased by 110% after that lol.
At the jewelry room I’ve already become good friends with Aryemo Jennifer. We’ve shared about our personal lives with each other and when we got saved. It’s pretty special ❤ As we have talked, she’s let me assist her in the stringing of beads for several necklaces. There’s still a design and special method for doing that, which I would probably mess up in a minute given full grasp of the reigns, but I think it’s more up my alley as far as helping out in the future goes ;).
Have I mentioned the new missionary housing that’s being constructed at Abaana’s Hope? I can’t remember….I don’t think I’ve taken any pictures up there yet. Chase is heading up this project, and with Aaron and his team of handymen getting the job done, the first two homes are due to be completed in July or August. Think of how much more time and energy can be invested in the people out at the Land once the missionaries are out there 24/7!
There are 4 or 5 guys who spend all day beneath the water tower making bricks for the houses. You think you could do it? Think again! Making these things certainly isn’t the job for sissies.
On Wednesday I went to one of the local primary schools with Patrick & Jennifer for their Good News Bible Club. We were at one of the schools they recently started serving at, so it didn’t seem appropriate to take pictures, but that was totally fine. Patrick & Jennifer did such an amazing job with songs and sharing the account of Cain & Abel, every eye was glued on them and mind engaged during that hour. It was one of the most special things to see the eyes light up as they heard the Message for the first time. Will you pray for this aspect of the ministry at Abaana’s Hope?
And all the random things in between…
We also returned to the Refuge Center this week (twice actually), so I’m going to wait to share about that another day…hmmm, maybe tomorrow if I have time?? That means you’ll have to check back haha!
Wow…that was a long post. Y’all, it’s not my intention to do “week in review” posts every time. Personally, I don’t like them because they tend to be less detailed and there isn’t time to talk about actual moments. But it seemed fitting for this week as we’ve done a little of everything and my actual summer agenda is just now beginning.
Thank you, friends, for all your encouragement! Your prayers are felt. I have been blessed by your comments and emails this week. Though I can’t respond to each of you personally, please know that you are appreciated and I have prayed for you by name and thank the Lord for your support through this journey.