Africa.... when I was a small child, I used to love to listen to missionaries come and tell about their work. I remember learning about the Gambia (I wondered if you called the people of the Gambia "the The Gambians"...) and thinking maybe I would go there someday. With every testimony and story, my heart’s desire was that one day God would allow me to serve overseas in medical missions. As I got older, I was fascinated by other countries and cultures, and became interested in disaster relief, as well. In high school, I got to go to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip. It was more challenging than I had anticipated, but it was a great introduction to the world of mission work. In college, I helped coordinate a medical trip to Bangladesh, but didn't get a chance to go myself. I got to go back to the DR after Carter and I were married and do some medical work with a plastic surgeon. I followed disaster relief efforts after almost every earthquake, flood, and typhoon. But God never opened a door to another opportunity, and never to Africa. Togo... Angola.... Kenya... Nigeria....The Dark Continent… the statistics telling of the need for water, food, medicine, and… Light. Later, I followed the journey of the Myhre's as they worked during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Then, we met a wonderful family serving in the Central African Republic. A group of friends from our church went to visit, work alongside them, and encourage them, but still, the Lord said, “Not yet.”
When our church began working on coordinating a trip to Uganda a few months ago, I felt the spark again… the “I want to go!” like a little child raising her hand in front of the Lord and squealing, “Pick me! Pick me!” And when the moment finally came when I had to make the decision -- the timing seemed right, Carter agreed that this was the trip and that Emma was the one who should go with me, and we both felt it was right to commit to going. Since that moment, God has encouraged me through songs, devotionals, scripture, and other people’s words to me that no matter what happens, He is leading, He is in control, and He loves Emma and me. My biggest fear is not a vague, scary “Something” that might happen on the trip, but it is really that something will fall through at the last minute and I will not get to go! For this fear, the Lord has reminded me that no matter what, He is already in this and He is already at the end. I don’t need to convince Him that it all needs to work out. He is already working in the details, and what He has for me and Emma is best. We can rest in that. This summer, Emma and I have the opportunity to go with a small group from church and visit, encourage, and work alongside the Fish family for two weeks!!
Emma is excited about being around children and working with the toddlers and babies. We don’t know exactly what we will be doing while we are there, but we are pretty sure it will involve kids! I know that Emma’s biggest fear is the food… she has periodic stomach trouble, and is afraid that she won’t like the food and that it will bother her stomach. She is hoping that she can pack some things that she will be able to eat to supplement whatever food she has there. I don’t know if we will have room or if this is even possible at this point. Please pray for her to trust God to work out the details of the food for her, just as he will all the other details.
At this time, we don’t know the specific amount of money that we need to raise. Our church is very missions focused and has made short-term trips a priority, but we also want to give our friends and family opportunity to support the team members and be part of the process of us going. Emma and I already have been blessed with the funds to get our passport application started. This is a huge encouragement, because we needed to start this process immediately and initially, the cost involved for two of us to get passports was daunting! If you are interested in helping support us financially, please contact me. Donations are tax deductible as long as your check is made out to the church and our individual names are not on the check.
More than anything else, though, we need your prayer support… for organization as we plan, for funds for passports, vaccines and medications, and travel, for right hearts and attitudes as we face new experiences and uncertain days, for us to be strong testimonies for Jesus, for the hearts of the Ugandan people we interact with to be open to the gospel, for safety, for health, for God to use us to encourage the missionaries we visit and to be a blessing and not a burden in any way, and for any number of challenges we can’t even anticipate yet. I remember hearing from other missionaries that prayer support is the most vital, but never quite understood that. As we look down this road to Uganda, it is so clear to me that they were right. Not a thing can be accomplished without the Lord’s blessing and hand in every detail.
Thank you for being a part of our adventure.