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Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Broom Tree Blues

This has been a FULL week, and one of intense spiritual challenge.  We have questioned our vision, our calling, our leadership, our community.  We have listened to the struggles of our team mates, and our Ugandan co-workers.  We have examined the challenges of running CSB, wondering if they represent normal first-decade developmental growing pains or insurmountable structural deficiencies in mission management. In between meetings we have juggled malfunctioning kerosene fridge wicks trying to preserve a month-plus supply of fresh veggies and meat from Kampala, or attacks of biting ants marching up our sidewalk.  We've begged our two youngest for patience with our busy-ness as they have faced their first week at home without both older brothers, and as they have had exams at school.  We've similarly begged our health center colleagues, especially Heidi, Biguye, and the midwives, for equal patience as we popped in and out to assist without being fully available.  We've welcomed Paul and Ward and tried to be mentally and emotionally present for the rare gift of their on-site friendship, and at the end of the week received Asusi back from her nursing degree program to temporarily stay with our family.  

In the midst of this fire and storm of stress, God showed up, as He promised.  Day by day we were awed by answered prayer, by meeting of the minds, by unanticipated insights, by that-makes-sense-agreements.  By tears and by relief.  By blessing.  

The three main messages God has brought to us from Scripture this year have coalesced:  I will fight your battles and bring Myself Glory just march on (2 Chron 20); Drink the cup of My will even it it is bitter (Mark 14); and Find Me in your weakness (2 Cor 12).  So here we are, emerging from a week of intensity with a testimony that God has not forgotten us here in Bundibugyo, that He loves us and the people we serve, that He is not finished with any of us, not punishing any of us, but calling us to move into the unknown of the future with faith.  We know that the next year will not be easy (was there ever an easy one?), particularly as Scott has been asked as Chairman of the Board of Governors for CSB to significantly step up his oversight and involvement at the school.  WHM affirmed our commitment to CSB and decided for now to forgo the proposed paths of government-aid or other-organization-donation.  We know God led in that direction.  We also know that we will struggle to love, to accept our weaknesses, sins, and failures as the very place where we encounter the presence of God's grace.  

God speaks through His word, and also through our leaders.  We're grateful to be part of a missionary-order, a family of believers, in which the Director of Ministries with responsibility for 170 missionaries in dozens of fields could land on our doorstep and listen and give us perspective and call us to grow.  We're grateful that the mission leadership prayed for him, and us, and that we were a witness to the way God works through all that, which increases our trust in following.

But, as they say in Uganda, the struggle continues.  This district is a place of oppression.  It is hard to live and work here.  The spiritual push-back from evil is palpable, the physical demands are heavy, the risks are real.  So even as we emerge with a testimony of God's presence, we feel a bit like running to the nearest desert and sleeping for 40 days under the broom tree eating angel-cooked bread.  So we would appreciate prayers for renewal of strength and steeling of faith as we keep on.


Anonymous said...

So good to hear, rest assured we are all praying hard for you from here. Lots of love,

Tricia said...

Praying for you. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could give back to you as much as you give me through your blog.

Cindy Nore said...

Jennifer, thank you again for sharing the struggles and victories occuring in Bundibugyo and for so clearly articulating the three main messages you feel God is teaching you. I have been steadily working to identify some of the things God is calling me to cling to as I continue to adjust to Jessica being in Heaven and to draw nearer to God in the midst of the darkness and sorrow. The three concepts you listed gave structure and words to the bits and pieces of truth I have been trying to hold on to: that the battle is the Lord's and we are already victorious, that a bitter cup can be God's will and used for His glory, and that His power can be made perfect in my weakness. I am always challenged and motivated by your writings and your perspective and especially so today.

It sounds like an exhausting week for everyone there, and though closure and clarity on some issues has emerged, I know you all must be weary. I will be praying daily for strength, for courage, for a very real sense of God's love and presence. I am also praying steadily for Luke and Caleb as they adjust to school this week and for your family as you adjust to them being gone from your home. With much love - Cindy