Friday, August 23, 2013

Citizens of the World Beware!

Tuesday, I drove to our local AAA with my membership card, driver's license, and $15 in hand. That's all it takes to get one of these:
 

I can now legally drive in Uganda (in addition to over 150 other countries in the world). Scary, I know.
 
 
So what will driving look like in Uganda? In my experience it is a scene of mass chaos. I read somewhere that there are 7 traffic lights in Kampala. Of those, I've only seen about 3, and I've only seen them working a handful of times. (You can see in the following photo, we have photographic proof that this one was working that day. Or at least the red light was.)
 
 
The rules, as best as I can understand, are if you're a bigger vehicle you have the right of way at all times no matter what. In addition, the boda bodas (or motorbikes) weave in and out of cars wherever there is enough room. From what I've witnessed, there's always room. (See below).
 
 

 

I'll have my hands full dodging potholes...
 
 
On the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road...
 
 
Prayers are greatly appreciated!
 
- Aly

 
 

 
 
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blessed

I am now less than 40 days away from leaving for Uganda. Over the past several years, the 40 days before departure has been an important time as it often brings a time of trial and testing. There are endless boxes to check off on my to do list, friends and family to see before I go, and of course the daunting task of packing. And so it begins again, but to a degree I have never experienced before. Preparing to leave for 2 years is much different than any preparation I've made before.

But the Lord has truly blessed me. Last Friday marked 40 days until I leave, and instead of feeling overwhelmed I was blessed with a visitor from out of town.

 
Several months ago, AMG told me about a young woman who hoped to come to Uganda to do a 6 month internship while I was there. My first reaction was, "I hope she's not crazy!"
 
We started emailing back and forth and were able to meet face to face in Chattanooga back in May. When I found out I wouldn't be leaving with the team in August, we planned for her to come up to visit. So we spent the weekend talking and about our hopes and dreams for our ministry there.
 
We also had an opportunity for some team building. We overcame obstacles and practiced good communication at the Adventure Park.
 
 
And had quite a bit of fun along the way.


She went back home today (home is in Georgia for her), and we said, "See you soon." Because every day is one day closer to leaving. So she's back home getting ready to raise support to come in December, and I'm back to business because September 25 will be here before I know it!

- Aly

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fear and Faith

Approximately 2 years 10 months and 17 days ago I did something that has changed the course of my life. That was the day that I submitted my application as team coordinator for AMG International in Uganda. It's been such a long journey that included 3 more trips to Uganda, moving out of my parents' house, finding a sending church, and raising support. This all was leading up to a phone call last Friday when I was given the go ahead to purchase my ticket and head off to the field.

So I am excited to announce that I will be leaving for Uganda on September 25. I purchased a one way ticket today. I am going to be completely honest with you, I took about 10 minutes before I bought it to pray and spent most of that time crying (if I'm being painfully honest I was bawling), until God gave me the courage to pick myself up and click purchase. There were so many emotions flooding my heart, I thought it might actually explode out of my chest: excitement, happiness, relief, fear, sadness, anxiety. So often as Christians we make it sound like we're never supposed to feel those negative emotions, but I am of the belief that it's ok to feel any and all of those things at some point during in our walk with Christ. The difference is how we deal with them. Those emotions didn't stop me.

Am I excited about going? Yes. Am I scared out of my mind? Honestly, yes. Will I miss my family? Terribly. Am I looking forward to being with those kids every single day? You bet. Do I sometimes wish I could pull the covers over my head and hide? At times. Do I believe that it's what God called me to do? I wouldn't have spent the last 3 years striving for this if I didn't.

Jill Kelly said, "Where fear and faith wrestle is where we see the power of God." It's ok to have fear. It's ok to let our fears and faith wrestle, because when we allow faith to win it gets stronger. In theory, it would be so much easier to stay home, pull the covers over my head, and pretend I didn't hear God's call for my life. But I heard it, and I wasn't created to sit on the sidelines. I wasn't made to be a bench warmer.

And neither were you.

Let's get ready, because God's about to do something big.

- Aly