To the red dirt country I wish to call home-
I love the way you make me rethink the world; I love your rare, heavy rain and the dry, dry air; I love the welcome, I dread the goodbye.
From the moment I stepped off of the airplane, I smelt the familiar smell of a country so far away. Two days of travel and I have arrived in Uganda for the second time, only this time with a new heart and new team. I left America with a team of thirteen: ten teenagers and three adults. By the end of one short week these people were my comfort, family, and forever friends. But even better, I was able to introduce them to a country I love so dearly, and to the people within Uganda who I love even more. Each day we traveled an hour- sometimes more- to Bukaleba, the village where Arise Africa International built their schools and orphanage. In the morning we went into classrooms and talked to different age groups. I focused my words on how to live out your passions for Christ, and how to develop your passions with intentions to change the world for the better. As each of our team members talked and taught, we made relationships with the children, teachers, and each other. In the afternoon, we did sports camps and games with the kids, and strengthened relationships with the kids as well. By the end of the week, we had met the king, seen the Nile, and made more memories than a mind can possibly hold.
Above all, I was able to see Sulai, Timothy, James, Dacia, Clare, Kelly, Kayil, Godfrey, and so many more people once again. To rebuild relationships, and to strengthen even more of them in a single week is truly a gift from God. I was able to spend the week with my favorite people ever, and talk about the hard things life has to offer. Of course at the end of the week, I wanted to take everyone home with me; in fact I wished to stay with them more than anything. Three days and many handwritten letters later, it came time to say goodbye to these people I call my best friends. The most heartbreaking goodbye was given to me by Sulai, a twenty-year-old boy who wishes to be a pastor. While walking to the bus, Sulai put his arm around me and began to sing a farewell song; he wished me love, safety, and his voice longed for Christ to stay near me. I began to cry, and headed off to the bus knowing I won’t see these faces for at least a year. I dare to have love like this; I dare to say goodbye so passionately. My Ugandan friends teach me to be constantly aware and intentional in my relationships, and encourage me to go full in. Make gold with your hands, and spread love with your heart.
My cup overflows.