I turned on the fireplace. I sat down in my rocker. I made my cup of tea. I read. After a few weeks of waiting for the right time, I have finally read the letter than I wrote to myself over 4 months ago in Uganda.
What has did my heart feel? Hope. My heart was smiling as I read this letter. Despite the fact that I desperately miss Uganda and often look back on it in tears because of my longing to be back there, this letter reminded me of how absolutely beautiful the Uganda chapter of my life was. Before I say more, I want to share the letter with you all. That seems to be the best way to allow you to enter into my heart and thoughts.
So…you’ve been back in the States for over four months now. I suspect the past four months went by fast, just as your semester in Uganda did. Maybe by now Uganda seems like forever ago, but I know the memories are still strong in your heart…I pray they always will be. Do you remember the way Uganda changed your heart and mind? Always hold onto that.
I know you are probably looking back at Uganda with with smiles and tears. Smiles for the many joys experienced and the relationships you built, especially with your family–tears because you’re missing it desperately and nobody around can truly understand. But take heart..you’re not alone in that. Others who were there in Uganda with you are feeling it too, and God is with you. And remember, there IS a part of you that remains in Uganda and always will.
You have learned a lot these past few months in Uganda. Some of these lessons are truths you may have forgotten, although I am praying you held onto them. In case you haven’t, here is a reminder of the some of these lessons.
1. Love conquers all. Truly.
2. It is crucial to embrace every single moment God has given you. Everything that can happen to you in that moment is happening…so breathe in deep and embrace.
3. Humlity in relationships is key. Remember, it’s not all about you. Everyone has something to offer.
4. Be present. Always.
5. His grace IS sufficient.
6. Living faithfully should be your goal. Seek to live faithfully daily. One moment at a time.
7. Starting and ending each and everyday on your knees makes a world of difference.
8. Always keep an open hand and an open home. Be a person and place of refuge.
9. Always extend grace. Always forgive. Remember Rwanda.
10. Dont’ get caught up in legalism. Simply live as Christ whispers each step.
11. Discipleship is SO important. Do you have a mentor? Are you discipling others?
12. Prayer should be constant. Prayer truly can move mountains. God is faithful in all things…even the small things.
13. Every relationship should be focused around Christ. Even with those who may not know him.
14. How you spend (or don’t spend) your money and other resources matters. Are you following a budget? Are your resources helping others?
15. Fasting isn’t something for certain people…it’s for everybody. Are you regularly fasting?
16. We need to be advocates for those who can’t hep themselves. Are you allowing yourself to have this role?
17. You have a family in Uganda who loves you deeply and whom you love deeply in return. Are you keeping in touch with them? Are you praying for them daily?
18. God allows you to live your dreams because He has planted those dreams in you.
19. Fostering the community you find yourself in is incredibly important.
20. Take up the crosses that have been yours all along.
21. God is bigger than class, than race, than denominations, then political party, than culture…don’t limit Him.
22. “This is grace…” Re-read Compassion.
23. Don’t get caught up in time. Think back to your rural home stay.
24. Family is greater than any biological definitions.
25. Community trumps individualism. Remember…individualism and materialism are products of American culture, not Biblical truth.
26. It’s okay to seek tension. It’s okay to question.
27. Community will help you carry the burden of this broken world. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by the hurt you see.
28. Live intentionally, humbly, and persistently.
29. Don’t forget Ecclesiastes 3:11
‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.’
Praise God, eh? He made Uganda a beautiful chapter. He let you live that dream, so don’t let go of the other dreams and visions He’s planted in your heart.
Never forget the Uganda chapter of your life…and hey, who says that chapter is closed forever?
Remember…love deeply, hope desperately, seek earnestly, feel honestly, live faithfully, and embrace always…
‘In Christ alone, my hope is found…’
Lord, I pray that I will never forget my time here. You have used this time to break me. Even just thought of leaving is shattering my heart into pieces. But I’ve already seen You begin to create something even more beautiful out of the brokenness, and now Uganda is sewn into my heart forever. Praise you for that, Lord.
I pray that in four months from now, my heart desperately continues to ache for the place and people of Uganda, and yet I pray that I am also rejoicing as I reflect back on the time I’ve had here and the joyful memories from here that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I pray that I will know and love you more than the moment I am writing this. I pray that I am continually seeking to live faithfully. I pray that I have formed new relationships and that I am fostering them daily.
And I truly hope, Lord, that I am starting and ending every single day on my knees before Your throne…
Lastly, I truly pray that every breath I breathe is a testimony of your love and grace…
There you have it. Four and a half months ago, I wrote this letter to myself sitting alone on my bed in a small room in a convent in the middle of Uganda.
I will be honest and say that some of the lessons I did begin to forget, but I am hopeful. This letter pricked my heart. It pricked my heart to press on. To keep loving. To keep living faithfully. To remain humble.
My semester in Uganda was a beautiful chapter of my life that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Part of my heart is still in Uganda and will forever remain there, and I took part of Uganda with me in my heart when I left…and that will forever remain in my heart.
God is good, eh?
Love. Love conquers all. Love is what this world needs more of. Love is what will change the world. Love moves mountains.
My heart is smiling…and my heart is aching…
I am thankful for both of these.
Meg (Spring 2011)