Some missionaries are attacked by night terrors. Others, sickness and anxiety. For Nathan, it’s sleepless nights. For me, it’s doubt.
Before our Dignity Project distribution, I had three African’s check my teaching manuscript and outline for the day. I have learned that my well-intentioned, well thought out plans might not always be culturally appropriate. So, with their review, I left for the training feeling equipped.
After a beautiful 1.5 hour boat ride across Lake Victoria, we reached Buvuma Island. Hundreds of excited children ran to our boat to greet us.
Seventy-eight eager teen girls gathered in the chapel. “What am I doing here?”, I thought to myself, “Who am I to be teaching them?”
The attacks began.
“Why not me?”, I thought to myself and started sharing my testimony.
I told the girls how I had once sought to find my value in all the wrong places as a young adult and how it wasn’t until I felt God’s love for me that I felt true worth. Ugandans rarely cry and yet here I was with tears streaming down my face.
“What am I doing here?” I thought to myself. “Who am I to be teaching them?"
The attacks persisted.
“Why not me?” I thought to myself and I pressed on.
We scoured the Scriptures as we studied sex, holiness, who we are in Christ and living a life of purity. We played a true or false game to add some fun and laughter. Sometimes, when I thought the girls understood a concept, I'd realize they didn’t quite get it yet and I felt a pang of defeat.
“What am I doing here? Who am I to be teaching this?”, I thought to myself as I explained and reexplained.
“Why not me?", I thought to myself and resolved to move forward.
I asked the girls to stand up and tell the class what they learned. One by one, they stood up and shared:
“I learned to honor my parents.”
“I learned I am valued by God.”
“I learned to respect my body.”
Realizing the things that were sinking in, my heart began beating fast and tears welled up in my eyes.
The girls received their gorgeous, handmade Dignity Project sanitary pads. I caught a glimpse of Sophie passing out the pads and felt tremendous gratitude. All day long, my Sophie heard about my mistakes, my redemption, who she is in Christ and how we can live holy lives for God. She saw that a redeemed life is a life of service to God.
We ended the day by giving the girls an opportunity to pray and commit to living a life of purity for God. I wanted the prayer time to be sincere, so I gave the girls the opportunity to leave if they wanted.
“What am I doing here? Who am I to be teaching them? What if no one stays behind to pray?”, I thought to myself.
“Why not me?" I thought to myself as I looked around the room.
Not a single girl left.
All 78 girls, including the Muslim girls, stayed behind to pray.
I walked outside the chapel and cried a sigh of relief behind a huge palm tree. All throughout the day I felt scared, vulnerable and even silly at times. But God helped me.
He always helps me. In the midst of my doubts, he speaks to me saying, "Why not you, Jade. Why not you?"
Why not you?