Well, a week ago today we were getting ready to get on the plane and fly home from Africa...hard to believe that it has been a week already! We got home a little later then planed due to a few plane issues in Amsterdam, but still made it in time to get a little sleep in before the kids got home! This last week has been busy with missions conference, bonfires, practicing for Compelled (less than two weeks away!), catching up on sleep, and getting the kids back to where they need to be for school. Grandparents tried their best with school, but it is not easy homeschooling 4, and somehow the older kids work never got checked, so I was busy for several hours on Sunday catching up before school on Monday! I think today was the first day life started to feel more "normal" here again!
Many people have asked about our trip, and I am trying to decide how to write about two weeks in two different countries with an amazing array of people, foods, languages, experiences, and fun! I think this will have to be spread out over several blogs! :)
We landed in Entebbe, Uganda at about 9 at night. It was pretty simple getting through customs, getting our luggage, and exchanging money. The airport was almost empty that time of night other than the people getting off our plane. We came out into the night to find Lawrence, the driver sent from the AIM guesthouse, with our names on a sign. He had to go back into the airport to do something before we left, so Shawn and I stood in the night air, looked up, and breathed in deeply. We were back in Africa.
I do not want to sound overly romantic here...Africa can be dirty, poor, and chaotic. I mean, who knew that the smell of body odor and diesel and the crush of people could take me to a happy place? But honestly, it was like I was feeling my heart come alive again! The sky is amazing in Malawi, and it seemed to be just as big in Uganda. When we got in the car and drove the hour into Kampala, I thrilled at seeing roadside stands, fires burning with people gathering outside to eat, cows crossing the street with no thought to the traffic, and drivers going seemingly crazy but with a casual smile the whole time. I saw advertisements that were familiar - Celtell, Zain, and other cell phone providers. I always found it funny that there was so many ways Africa was cut off, yet even in the bush there was 5-bar coverage!
We got to the Inn and I was happy to see the bed with the mosquito net over it - a common site in Africa. I was tired and felt grimy, and looked forward to a shower and sleep. However, when I awoke in the night, the reality of Africa hit me. Crawling out of the mosquito net and using my flashlight because the power was out, I opened the bathroom door to see the biggest cockroach I have ever seen looking at me and scattering away. Lizards were crawling on the wall and making scurrying noises overhead (I am pretending that was the lizards, ok??) I was exhausted, away from my kids, and heading into the unknown the next day. And I was an emotional mess.
How could I go from such a high to such a low in that time? I did the only thing I could do - I woke up Shawn and had him hug me, then I prayed. I cried out to God to take away the irrational fears of the night, the guilt of leaving the kids, the tiredness of my mind. And you know what? He is sufficient.
I fell back asleep for a couple more hours, and when it was time to get up to get the MAF plane, I felt like I could see things more clearly again. I do not claim to always know what God is doing, but I am learning more and more that as I rely on Him, he makes each step clear. I want to see the whole path, and usually he only shows one step at a time. But with each step he shows, he gives the strength and grace to do what he asks. That night he was asking me to trust him with the bugs, heat, weather, plane trip, and my kids. Some were easier to hand over than others. But I am so grateful for a God who loves me that much!
More on this trip later...