I have started several blog posts in the past month…but still, I am struggling to find the right words to finish any of them. I guess there are just not enough words in the English language to describe what it feels like to be walking with Jesus and living life in Busega. In the meantime, I have constructed a list of 100 things I have learned or observed over the past few months. Some are hard-core truths that God has been patiently teaching me. Others, I have ‘known’ for some time but am now beginning to understand on another level. Still others just make me laugh.
1. God is faithful.
2. Physical poverty is not nearly as destructive as spiritual poverty.
3. I am 30 years old in America, but only 22 in Uganda!
4. God knows exactly what I need at the exact time to keep me sustained for another day.
5. Knowing you are loved can change your life.
6. Faith is developed by stepping out and walking on water.
7. Cockroaches aren’t so scary when you have a big stick.
8. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
9. My love language is the laughter of children.
10. Sometimes the smallest gesture shows the greatest care and concern.
11. I don’t often miss home…until the dog starts barking and I remember that I used to sleep well.
12. True satisfaction and contentment is only found in the arms of Jesus.
13. Conflicts are inevitable.
14. Becoming like Jesus is not easy, but it will be worth it all.
15. Moving to Uganda can cure a decade of chronic hiccups!
16. It is impossible to count how many times my heart breaks each day.
17. It is impossible to count how many times Jesus has mended my broken heart.
18. Blessings from God are not for our own benefit.
19. Ugandans never sleep.
20. Trusting God can be difficult...but He knows exactly what He is doing.
21. God is stripping me of my worldy American desires.
22. Being busy does not equal productivity.
23. One cannot survive on bread alone…chocolate is very necessary.
24. My ability to be patient is only possible when I rely on the One who supplies my patience.
25. Sometimes the ‘cure’ for a wounded heart is quality time.
26. “I want to be your friend” means a lot of different things here in Uganda—proceed with caution.
27. When no one seems to understand, Jesus does.
28. God is always present—we are the ones who become absent.
29. Deaf children are entirely unaware of their potential to be loud.
30. Long walks are great medicine—physically and spiritually.
31. Broken people can be used by God.
32. Lives are lost in the absence of love. On the contrary, lives are saved in the presence of love.
33. Prayer is the best lifeline…along with Skype dates with Randa.
34. ‘Clean’ is not a universal concept.
35. Sometimes it is the youngest person that demonstrates true maturity.
36. Perspective changes things.
37. To radiate the love of Christ requires allowing Him to indwell your heart.
38. Being the mother of a teenage daughter for one week is exhausting.
39. Being the mother of a teenage son for one month is equally exhausting.
40. Flu in Uganda is different than Flu in America.
41. African thunderstorms are a lot like God—just when you think He has gone…He powerfully reminds you of His presence.
42. Pray without ceasing…God is listening.
43. Uganda, particularly Kampala, has the most beautiful people in the world.
44. Never take for granted a full night of sleep.
45. God DOES give you more than you can handle…it provides opportunities to call on Him.
46. God desires for us to have a teachable spirit.
47. Empowerment is essential to developing faithful followers of Jesus.
48. I love matooke.
49. Mornings that begin with Eddy singing, make for good days.
50. Above all else, guard your heart.
51. Spiritual warfare is real and can be oppressive if you are not battling it with Jesus.
52. African tea is the perfect comfort drink.
53. Our understanding of God is only limited by our own lack of pursuit.
54. I am not assertive.
55. Jesus loves me—and He gave me my Ugandan brothers to prove it.
56. 10 minutes in Uganda really means 1 hour.
57. Talking to God is not as important as listening to God.
58. God’s light shines even on rainy days.
59. Laughter really IS the best medicine.
60. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
61. Sometimes the tears flooding my heart just need to flood my eyes.
62. The word, Deuteronomy, spoken in a southern American accent, is painfully funny to my Ugandan friends.
63. Children have different styles of learning—being adaptable is key to being a good teacher.
64. The best pineapples in the world are grown right here in Uganda.
65. Real family does not have to be biological.
66. Everyone needs to be loved.
67. The character of God is rooted in our spirit, not our emotions.
68. Pain is universal and God uses it to build bridges between hearts.
69. I will gladly welcome a phone call at 3am to care for a wounded brother.
70. Don’t underestimate the power and potential of young people.
71. It is important to keep an open mind and open heart.
72. Sometimes a passion must endure heartache.
73. It is entirely possible to be surrounded by people, yet feel so alone at the same time.
74. Effective ministry happens with clearly defined priorities.
75. Ramen noodles taste so much better in Uganda—the perfect comfort food after a long day.
76. We are not meant to face this life alone.
77. Spending time with Jesus changes you from the inside out.
78. I have to earn their trust before I can request their love.
79. I am nothing without Jesus.
80. A smile can erase days of frustration and exhaustion.
81. Ugandan culture does not typically hug…I miss hugging my friends!
82. A fruitful life is impossible apart from Jesus.
83. I don’t like being laughed at.
84. Giving birth to a child does not make you a maama.
85. “Patience’ is an easy word to say, but a difficult concept to embrace.
86. God knows the desires of my heart.
87. I am a sissy—no, really—it is 70 degrees and I am freezing!
88. Everything that I say and do must be filtered through Jesus—people are watching and so is He.
89. Satan has been, and still is, defeated.
90. Almost everyone laughs when I speak to them in Luganda.
91. Best friends are a gift from God.
92. Some marriage proposals just have to be turned down.
93. I am allergic to avocado.
94. Jesus is faithful, even when we are not.
95. The spotlight is not for me. I much prefer being in the background.
96. Public transport in Uganda is never predictable.
97. I never really considered my hearing loss as an issue…until now—a glimpse into the confusion my deaf students feel each day.
98. I belong in Uganda.
99. I have so much more to learn.
100. Allowing God to write my story is a beautiful process.
And a bonus:
101. “Weebale Yesu” cannot be said enough.
This is just a sample of some of the great things that I have learned so far. Walking with Jesus is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. But as we all know, He does not promise a smooth journey. Many of the lessons I have learned are painful discoveries that have left scars on my heart and tear stains on my pillow. Fortunately, God has also painted my experiences with a lot of laughter and unexplainable joy.
I welcome your feedback and would love to know how God is moving in your life.
“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:4-5