I'm going to UGANDA! Discerning this new placement and getting back on track with support raising and preparation has kept me pretty busy but I am so excited to finally blog about what God has next! I chose this placement for many reasons. First God directed me to it and opened up the door so I followed. But the story is a lot longer than just that.
I have wanted to go, live, and be a missionary in Africa for as long as I can remember. I was around the age of 6 when I felt this strongly and communicated to my parents the desire to be a missionary. God has been orchestrating this story for a long time. As I grew up and that passion for both missions and Africa continued to grow, I remember trying to learn as much as possible about the two through books, social media, etc.. One of the most impactful was a book I read in high school called Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis Majors who wrote about moving to Uganda at the age of 19 and feeling the call to stay and empower the people in the villages surrounding Jinja through education and job opportunities. This book rekindled my burning heart for missions and living in Africa and it has not been extinguished since.
When it came time to step into this season of missions, I prayed for God to send me where He wanted, even if it wasn’t Africa (which was an excruciating prayer to pray). And then God directed me to Southeast Asia. This was so far off of my radar and came as a huge shock to me, but slowly I prayed and received God’s heart for where and how He was leading me. I started raising support, themed my 22nd Birthday on the nation, and was dreaming and researching about moving there every single day. Then the placement was no longer an option.
While heartbroken, confused, and looking for a new placement to serve for the next two years at least, I broke before the Lord. When I was looking at placements the first time around, I felt the Lord telling me to not go to any of the placements in Africa, and that He was directing me somewhere else. However, this time around He kept tugging my heart to this placement in Uganda. I questioned my motives, my heart, and my discernment. Did I want to choose Uganda because it was a safe option for what I desired? Was I mad at God and His placement not working out that I thought it would be better if I chose on my own? Or was I actually discerning the Lord redirecting me to the place I’ve always wanted to go? Through lots of prayer and wisdom from mentors, family, and friends, God taught me a valuable lesson that sometimes what we want and what God wants for us can be the same! And that when He is in control, our journey may not look how we expect it to, but we can trust He is working all things for the good of those who love Him!
The crazy part of this story is that Uganda was not an option when I was first looking through my placement options; and the only way the Lord could guarantee that I would go there in His timing was to have me placed in a location that (He alone knew) would close, knowing that the sending organization it was with would be opening up this new opportunity exactly when I started looking again! Why do I ever doubt God?! His ways are so much higher than ours and trusting Him through every step is the most difficult yet wonderful experience in the world.
As I reflect on this journey, I am reminded of a vision the Lord gave me in September 2018 as I was considering applying for this missionary journey. I had so many fears and doubts of stepping into missions work so soon as a 20-something single woman but God reassured me of His perfect plan, His qualifications, and His promises. Here is what He showed me and what He said it meant:
- I saw a front door to a home begin to open - This represents the first step into my house which is my calling and purpose of being a missionary for the rest of my life.
- As the door opened, a red carpet began to unravel inside the house - The carpet was red which signifies Jesus’ blood and presence. He will lead me and guide me in this house, establishing my steps, and protecting me as I remain in His presence. It also was to be the red carpet where I began to truly shine and step into confidence in who I was made to be and do.
- The carpet led up to a room in the house. As the door opened the room was pitch black and immediately I felt fear, doubt, and darkness, but the carpet went into the room anyway and I followed. - God said that He is intentionally going to lead me to places I didn’t want to go to because I would be fearful, doubtful, and it may be filled with darkness. But that He will be ever present there and will bring His light, His truth, and His love to those places if only I was to say yes and follow Him.
This journey to get where I am now has been anything but predictable. But through this crazy adventure, God has remained faithful to send me exactly where I need to be, exactly when I need to be sent. I wait with such expectation and wonder in what God has in store for this child of His.
“You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am you God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Isaiah 41:9-10 (ESV)