Every single person that I have told that I'm going to Africa that has been there themselves tells me the exact same thing. They say with such excitement, “you are going to fall in love”. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.OF.THEM.
If we happen to be face to face they all do the exact same thing as well. They turn their head just a bit and before they say a word, it's almost like they sigh because they have no words. Their words fail them because they love this place so much. They will reach out and touch my arm and then tell me how much they love it, and that I too will love this place.
Then when I tell them that I'm visiting Uganda and they have been there they can't even control themselves. So much love for this country.
Every single time I smile and tell them that I can't wait, but on the inside I'm dying. Nervous. Scared. Afraid.
I told my friend Amanda that I was nervous and when she asked why, I was completely embarrassed.
I'm nervous about falling in love with the place. I'm guarding my heart.
Sounds awful, doesn't it?
You see, my heart hasn't been moved for another country in many years. I fell in love with Haiti in 2006, and after that my journey with that place was a bit rocky. I told you about my love/hate relationship with this country and how going back in 2013 was so scary and so healing for me all in one. What I'm about to say sounds completely ludicrous and I know this, but bear with me here. I was hurt by Haiti and I don't want to get hurt again.
There I said it. Sounds completely idiotic I know this. How weird is it to say that a country hurt you? But that's how I'm feeling today, and I tell my kids all the time that you can always say how you are feeling even if it might not be right.
Going to Uganda on this trip makes me nervous. What if I do fall in love with the country, the people, the ministries there. All of it makes me nervous. What is God going to show me while I'm there? What is he going to reveal about my heart, about my consumerism, about my lack of faith? All of that is hard to hear, and I'm fighting it. I know God will break me, and I pray all the time for God to break my heart for what breaks his, but today I'm nervous.
My biggest two fears right now are that #1 I'll be guarded the whole trip and miss my chance to love this place, and #2 that I will love this place. You see I'm one big contradiction here. I want to love this place, I truly do, but that scares the crap out or me. I did that once before and my heart has never felt the same from our years of visiting Haiti.
It's like a woman that gets hurt by a guy and then never feels as though she can trust another guy with her heart again. I feel that way, and guys I know it's stupid, I truly do. BUT I am still so scared of what waits for me when I step off that plane.
As I type this right now, I feel stupid. I feel vulnerable for saying this. Tears are streaming down my face as I think about all my trips to Haiti, and now stepping out and heading to a new far off land to do ministry.
So, I'm here before you readers telling you that I'm nervous about what waits for me across the ocean. Would you pray that I would trust God in this area. Honestly what's happening here is that I am trying to control things to make sure I don't get hurt emotionally, and I want to let it go and trust God in this area.
You know that time when you have been hurt by a guy and you never want to trust another one again? But then THAT guy comes around and maybe it takes some time, but slowly you find yourself letting down your walls and trusting more and more. And ya, sure, he has the ability to hurt you just like guys before, and he probably will at some point, but oh is it worth it in the end. Uganda is that guy. Praying for vulnerability, and for your heart to be broken and for you to fall in love with another beautiful place full of beautiful people that I am confident can and will change your life forever. Praying for trust, but honestly believing that all the fear will disappear as soon as you step off that plane. And even though it will probably be hard at times, and God will teach you the difficult things and you will broken-I think you may just fall in love with Uganda.
Oh kelsey thank you. You just brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much.
I toootallly get this! Just went back and reread your Haiti blog posts and it is all so familiar! I just went back to Haiti a couple of weeks after a very tumultuous relationship with ‘him’ and healed some wounds left by our former relationship. (Also opened some new ones but it was Haiti, after all.) 😉
I have not been to Uganda, yet, but Ethiopia has a piece of my heart.
Hi Jamie! I feel like I know you from listening to your podcast. 🙂 (My fave! I’m always recommending it to friends.) It’s obvious that you love Jesus! You don’t sound stupid at all. It actually makes perfect sense. Praying right now that you would be able to surrender all of that and trust that your loving Father will take care of His daughter and that He has great plans for you! Hugs!
Jaime, your feelings are not silly or stupid. It personally makes sense to me. I actually wrote a blog 5 almost 6 years ago titled “What If I Fall in Love?” I spent a summer in Ethiopia and my heart was so tender towards the beauty, culture and people of Ethiopia. I planned to go back the very next summer working with the same people. Except that I didn’t. It came down to 2 months before I left and I felt like I shouldn’t go (really long story about how great the Holy Spirit is…). Anyway, a week later my friend said, “Come to Mongolia…” So I went (another long story about the Holy Spirit). I wrote that blog post with some of the exact same words you just wrote. I wanted to fall in love with the people of Mongolia (and figured I would), but my heart was in Ethiopia. I didn’t feel like I had the room in my heart to love anymore. It sounded silly. It FELT silly.
BUT, I’m here to report that as I stood in line waiting for my passport to be checked on the grounds in Mongolia, I looked around at the Mongolians that surrounded me…and quite simply…fell in love. I couldn’t help it. And neither will you. Turns out God made a way…made room in my heart to love. To love a new people, a new culture and see the beauty of Himself all over again. Because that’s what He has created us to do. Love. So, try as you may and guard as much as you wish, but if the Spirit is inside you then you are screwed. That didn’t sound so spiritual, but you know what you mean. You will love. Its His fruit.
Also, that summer in Mongolia set the stage for a huge monumental change in my spiritual walk with Jesus. It changed everything. I think I felt nervous and scared because the Holy Spirit was preparing my heart for so many lessons and truths. I suspect He is doing the same with you.
Can’t wait to hear you report back just all that He did in your life as you observe what He is already doing in Uganda.
As they say in Uganda…SAFE JOURNEY!
As soon as you see those kids running at your car waving and smiling and screaming, mzungu–its over.
Jinja is one of the greatest places on earth. 2 of my dudes are from there. It will forever be part of our home.
Your feelings of fear are certainly not silly. God has placed a desire in your heart to visit Uganda. You know that you are supposed to go and you are going. You know how powerful this trip will be because God is in it! Fear comes from the devil who would love nothing more than for you to guard your heart and try to control the situation yourself. God has big plans for your trip and yes it will change your heart but how can we ever grow and do the things that God has called us to without a heart change 😉 I pray for peace and that you will release your fears and allow God to work through you. Your obedience in the face of fear is pleasing to God and you will be blessed!
I understand what you are saying. Please don’t worry about sharing these thoughts. I will be going in September (with Sole Hope) and I feel the EXACT same way. I haven’t been “hurt” by a country, but is there room for another love in my life! Praying for you.
praying for you, Jamie! I totally understand the fear:excitement:fear cycle!!
Oh girl you WILL fall in love…and you will be hurt and broken as well. There is no place quite like Africa. It is a complete mix of good and evil….beauty and ugliness….wealth and despair. It is the one place that I have ever witnessed God’s kingdom directly battling the prowling lion of Satan’s influence. And THAT is what will break your heart! All the roles that make you who you are wife, mom, friend, daughter, woman, writer, advocator for the least of these….all those parts of your heart will be affected in Africa. And you will be changed. Embrace the change, let God use it to make you more of who He desires you to be. When you come back, you will have new eyes and new insights and probably even some new dreams. Africa holds the best and worst of my life….in four years there I saw the greatest beauty of God’s creation and the ugliest despair of this earth, I experienced some of my greatest joys as well as my deepest devestations, I walked alongside some of the most humble humans and was disgusted by the most arrogant narcissists at the same time. It is a collision of God’s best plans and the worst evil He allows….and it makes you fall on your face grateful that He chose to come and sacrifice so we could have His best plan forever. BLESSINGS TO YOU as you faithfully walk in to the experience with eyes wide open and a God that is so good to show you this side of Himself and His world. Praying for your heart as you go!