Many people have been asking me about my story and what has lead me to the decision to pursue going to Uganda, so here is a little of my journey...
I went to Northern Arizona University (NAU - go Lumberjacks!) and double majored in Women and Gender Studies as well as International Relations. As a disclaimer, I've not graduated due to a few reasons but have about a year left to finish! I focused my attention on issues of women and children in poverty and the relationship of empowerment as well as human rights in the Third World - basically what is causing poverty and how we can eradicate it! One issue that resonated with me personally and that I spent most of my time academically on is the reality of millions of vulnerable children and orphans due to poverty as well broken social and political systems - specifically due to HIV/AIDS.
well as the relational aspects that Young Life is built on.
In my sophomore and junior years of high school, I began taking a more active role in leadership and responsibilities, learning more of the background and theology Young Life and of how Jesus lived and loved. Over the years, more and more has been given and asked of me! My senior year a group of us started Wyldlife in my hometown - it was hugely challenging but also incredibly beautiful! If any of you have ever ever interacted with middle school-er's : #1. praise Jesus for you, #2. its exhausting and completely ridiculous! I was challenged hugely through this experience and began to realize more about the Father's extravagant love and grace and my desperate need for both.
support and work with.
I came across a friend's blog (http://www.mandiejoy.com/) several months ago and the Lord has used her words and courage several times since then to speak truth to my heart. I got an email that she had a new post and innocently clicked on it to go and read it, sitting in a coffee shop - soul shaking, heart throbbing and tears falling - I watched the video she made of the kids dancing over and over (about 9 times in a row!). I sat there and Jesus spoke several words and there was a deep peace that came over my heart; an excitement and confirmation that I am supposed to be apart of this magic, this utter joy that the Lord is calling forth.
For about a year and a half, the word over my life has been 'wait' - and so its been a year of learning how to wait with grace, to lean deeply into trust and to listen in the silence and in the loudness.
And now the word has become 'go', it has been confirmed only as He can - in the hilarious and intimate ways that only He knows my heart. As my journey continues, I am realizing deeply how my heart beats more and more for living my live in a way makes people come alive; pushes them to reach for something big; to live in grace and to choose joy. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. I have the freedom and the desire to go where He wants me - wherever that may be - and through a lot of talking with and listening to Jesus, I believe that I need to be
faithful and pursue working with kids that desperately need love.
There are so many more adventures and people that have played huge and important roles in me coming to this place. You know who you are, I am so thankful for the love and support, encouragement and prayers, that have blessed me from you - I wouldn't be here without you! And the excitement and confirmations that you have responded to this big adventure with - means more than you could possibly know!
And so I am going. With my camera and a desire for adventure. My heart is beating faster as I write this. Beating with excitement of the unknown, reaching for patience and sitting in utter peace that for this time, for this season, for reasons I don't fully know - I am going to be walking through the red dust that Uganda is known for.