It is equally humbling and amazing the way the past few months have panned out. When I made the decision to sign up for the trip way back in November of last year, I had dreams of how things would transpire. Some were admittedly more optimistic and grandiose than others but the reality has reminded me a hundred-fold that we worship a sovereign God who works in mysterious ways, and ultimately for the good of those who love Him. Entering into a new season of life, I would like to thank all those brothers and sisters who shared the same desire to spread the gospel in countries that desperately need it, and now those who are carrying out the same vision in your respective communities back home.
As a christian community, have we been blessed beyond belief by being brought up and residing with the resources available in "comfortable" countries like the United States and Singapore? Have we been protected from the problems that plague others in less developed areas? Absolutely. In that sense, we should be remarkably grateful and unusually holy! Are we? The greater the scope of God's blessings, the more imperative it is for us to receive it with trembling and self-examination.
Since then, we have been spending the majority of our time visiting and encouraging sick people at a nearby hospital. One patient in particular, a 25 year old single mother named Cathy, stood out to me. Cathy has been paralyzed from the waist down since 2008 and consequently has struggled to support her five year old child, Charles. Still, it has been incredibly inspirational to see Cathy remain so positive in the face of these (and many other) hardships. There was such a tangible joy about her and it was obvious that she got her strength from relying solely on Jesus. Her attitude is truly a testament to her faith and is something that I hope to eventually emulate.
In other news, I have been struggling with homesickness and missing certain people as of late. There definitely have been days when it becomes a battle just to stay positive and focused on why God has placed me here. I try to remind myself that transformation into the man the Lord intends me to be will require a great deal of patience and discomfort. Please be praying that God would grant me that patience and obedience to carry out His will here in Uganda.
On a more positive note, the home that we have been staying at for the past 10 days actually has a functional toilet! As fun as peeing into a hole in the ground has been, I was pretty geeked up about being able to flush stuff down for the first time since leaving Atlanta a month ago (has it really been that long??). I'll definitely be missing the good life as we prepare to spend the next week living in some remote village out in the middle of nowhere - it's going to be an interesting experience to say the least. More updates to come as soon as I next get access to the internet!
P.S. This song has been stuck in my head over the past week. Thought I would share it with you all.
One of my role models: Brad, thank you for showing me what it means to love Christ and others. You lead by example.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." – Matthew 5:14
We have the ability to influence others through the way we live our lives. Something that I have come to understand over the last few years is that we all have different stories to share - life experiences that can make a positive difference and bless the lives of others.
In high school, I was fortunate enough to encounter a few remarkable individuals who would profoundly impact the way I view life and the Christian faith today. While they certainly had their unique differences, a common trait they all shared was their capacity to genuinely live out the gospel and to empathize with others. I remember thinking that I wanted to live like that, and it’s no coincidence that I started making strides in my own walk with Christ shortly after having been around them.
I believe that God is challenging you and I to change the world. And to accomplish this, He asks us to look daily into our own little spheres of influence and figure out how we can best “let our light shine before others.” It’s a process that takes tremendous patience but if we keep the faith and continue to do things the right way, God WILL use us to transform the lives of others.
As I sit here, a couple of hours away from getting on a plane to spread the Word, there is no doubt in my mind that none of this would even be happening if it were not for those few special people God chose to place along my path. It’s because of them that I find myself with a renewed passion to invest in the lives of those around me and in things that will last for eternity. I simply pray that God will afford me opportunities in the coming months to touch others and lift them up through His Word – for Christ and His Kingdom.
Although I could not have envisioned such a strange ending to my time in Singapore, I firmly believe I made the right decision to take the year off and come back to SAS instead of going to Wheaton right away.
I'm a better person today than I was six months ago. The lessons that I take with me from the past six months – virtues like humility, patience, and the ability to tolerate disappointment – will undoubtedly be with me for the rest of my life.
In that sense, along with a host of other intangible qualities that were either acquired or reacquired on the journey (confidence comes to mind), the extra year gives me a head start into what I am assured will be a fantastic college experience.
Having the opportunity to be around and learn from an amazing group of teachers and kids on a daily basis has made the semester a memorable one. That’s not to say I enjoyed every moment, because I didn’t, but I would never regret the decision, nor would I trade it for any other experience.
Now is the right time to move on. While I definitely still have some growing up to do, I don’t think there is much more to learn from staying another half year at SAS. I’ve always believed that the two highest priorities one can have are serving God and loving other people. By spending the next 4 months in Africa as a missionary, I’ll be placing myself in a distraction free environment where I will get to focus on the things that truly matter. In the words of Paul the Apostle (and very much in the spirit of the new year), it is time to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.”
To my blog subscribers/prayer team: Thank you so much for agreeing to follow me on this incredible adventure. I promise to do my utmost in remaining as forthcoming and candid as I possibly can while providing all of you with frequent updates and any prayer requests that I may have!