Hut! Hut! Hike! They were all lined up as Dad hollered out to Maddix and cousins. I watched as giddy children concocted secret plays for backyard football. The setting sun painted a dreamy backdrop with glowing shades of yellow, pink and blue. We devoured pork from a hog dad started roasting early in the morning and laughed until the evening logs on the fire fizzled out. The day’s activities were a paradox of soulful glee and searing pain. Come January, these events will begin a three year pause as our family moves back to Uganda.
I love my father’s work ethic and wisdom. I love my mom’s tenderness and generosity. I love how my stepdad’s eyes are leaky like mine. I love my stepmom’s go-with-the-flow attitude making the kids always feel at ease in her care. They each add so much value to our lives.
For weeks I have been wrestling with the pain of leaving. In the middle of sleepless nights, while I scour the Word, as I jog and pray, I hear the words, “But Christ, He compels me to go.”
Nathan and I just got back from a 9 day trip to Uganda. One afternoon we went to visit our dear Kenyan friend. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she said she wanted to talk to me privately. She took my hand and gave me an article called, ‘Girls from Poor Families use Cow Dung as Sanitary Pads’. The article described how school girls were so tired of getting made fun of for their soiled uniforms that they had resorted to using dried cow dung to construct "sanitary" pads. The article resonated deeply with me because just last October we gave 166 Dignity Project Kits to girls who were using the very same methods. My friend said, “Thank you for the work you are doing with The Dignity Project. It is important. Thank you for your sacrifice.” I inhaled a deep feeling of warmth. I was seen and known by God. He knew I needed a reminder of why we are leaving backyard football games, hog roasts and campfires.
“But Christ. He compels me to go.”
I go because He saved my life when I was dying in sin. I go because He asked me to. I go because I can’t turn my back on girls dying from an infection over something he’s shown me how to fix. I go because I know a Man named Christ who wants to be the closest friend to hopeless inmates and lonely women in psychiatric wards. I believe there is a direct relationship between my perception of Christ’s descent for me and my willingness to descend for others. As Jesus was sent into this world, so He is sending us. For His glory, I'm going.
To my parents,
I hope you are proud of my going.
It is painful to leave you.