WOW. We finally get to share with all of you what God has been orchestrating: Ben and I are moving to Jinja, Uganda for a minimum of 2 years to work as House Parents/ Family Mentors at The Amazima Secondary School. My heart fluttered as I wrote that.
What? When? How? …are the next questions to come. And I am about to write out many more.
This past January, six months into our marriage, Ben and I began to notice an overarching question pop up in our life– Is Jesus worth it? God asking us, Am I worth it? Am I worth following? Am I worth your devotion? Am I worth your career, your reputation, your time, your money, your life? The answer is yes. Jesus is worth it all, because He demonstrated that we were worth it all to Him– the great I AM.
So, we prayed. We asked Him to show us what direction He wants our marriage to go. We asked how He wants to use us together as one. Our time on Earth is temporary and we want it to count for eternity.
I started to feel a strong conviction about my level of comfort, dependence, and abundance here in America. While I rest my head at night with a full stomach and heart, many people across the nation and world are suffering from the pangs of hunger and loss. As I run clean water at my convenience from multiple faucets to wash my hands, take a shower, replenish my thirst, many people are walking miles to do the same with way less. As I went to public school for “free”, had my materials paid for by my parents, and graduated from college, many people cannot even learn to read or write because they are busy helping their family buy essentials to live. By people I mean both children and adults.
As followers of Jesus, Ben and I don’t want sit back and watch. If we follow Him, we follow His actions. We fall short! Oh my word we fall short. But we pick up our cross daily and follow. Jesus cared for the poor, the refugee, the orphan, the widow, the children, the marginalized. Whether it’s in our backyard, community, State, Nation, or third world country we want to make ourselves available to Him. As Mother Teresa would say, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
Thankfully, Ben and I have had the opportunity to serve in youth ministry the past 4-5 years. There have been other mission opportunities we’ve done right here in the good ol’ red, white, and blue, but the majority has been spent pouring into students. Now, God is leading us to very similar work. It just happens to be over 7,000 miles away. Further from the comfort of home in order to strengthen our dependence on Him, and to see/learn more of His heart. The USA is like, what? 5 % of His heart? “For God so loved THE WORLD…” (John 3:16, my emphasis). So lets go love the world, too!
We’ve been building relationship with friends currently at The Amazima School (Mac & Zach!), and they taught us that here in the States we struggle to believe our need for God because of our abundance, whereas in Uganda they struggle to believe God loves them because of their lack of resources.
It cost $20 for a child to go to school in Uganda and most of them struggle to pay that. This could be because over 50% of the population in Uganda is under the age of 18. Half of that number are orphaned. They don’t have a foster care system set up– most of these kids are on their own. Almost all secondary schools in Uganda are boarding schools. Often the students are physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by their teachers and/or house parents. These schools rely on memorization or “teaching to the test” for curriculum, and most students graduate with scarce problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
Enter The Amazima School. Some of the most vulnerable children in the surrounding villages of Jinja will have the opportunity to receive an education, medical aid, and three hearty meals a day. They will graduate as well-equipped leaders. One of our favorite parts is that it is a Ugandan School under their own government license. Each couple works closely with a Ugandan partner throughout their time there. The goal is not to westernize– we want to maintain the integrity of their culture. Transforming these lives, transforms the future society of Uganda.
There is so much more I could continue to write, but I’m going to pause here. Thank you for reading up until this point, and showing an interest in whats happening with our story! We will continue to update this blog with the haps, prayer requests, praise reports, and whatever else comes to mind. Ben and I would love for you to stay updated with us as we journey to Jinja!
We will be raising support over the next six months. To be honest, this scares us. Most of this process scares us. But we know that in this and through this, God will show up in big ways, and we are eagerly anticipating whats to come. If you would like to support us prayerfully, subscribe to this blog or contact us with your name and email! If you would also like to support us financially, we would love to meet with you separately over coffee or a meal to talk more. Or, if you want to give right now, we will not fight you on it! HERE is our support page. We are being sent off by Resourcing Christian Education International. Ben and I so appreciate and love YOU for supporting us in any way. We truly couldn’t do it without you.
Mweraba (farewell in Luganda),
Ben & Lo
PS- Yes, if you have read the book Kisses From Katie this is the ministry that she founded + HERE is a video that Katie Davis and the Dean of Student Life, Kelly Miller, plus the Headmaster, Mark Guthrie, welcome Ben and I to the team. They are such incredible brothers and sisters. We cannot wait to work alongside of them to serve students!