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Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

   Building a school is hard and it takes a lot of time and effort from many different people. There are so many things that can go wrong while at the same time there are so many things that can go right. Every day we have to rely on the strength of the men out at Garuka to get the work done, despite the lack of food and water, despite the poor weather conditions and despite the fact that they haven’t been home with their loved ones in over a month. We have asked a lot of these men and they are still pushing through with perseverance. They are tired, the evidence is in their eyes and their bodies are weak with exhaustion, but they keep on pushing.

   Garuka Primary School sits on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and is at least a 1.5-2 hour drive. The roads are perfectly filled with potholes and there is so much mud that our trucks often get stuck and cause delays. Our car, the Noah has been working hard and he is also worn. We have had to work on both of the ball bearings in the front tires, replace the radiator, and fix some things under the hood. Both of our motorcycles have needed maintenance as well: new batteries, new brakes, and new power packs. All of our people, and all of our vehicles reflect the exhaustion that has set in the last 2 months of building this school. Our hearts have even grown tired and weary. There is always something we have to buy, and things we run out of and they need more. Recently I found out that the men hadn’t eaten in three days, and I was disheartened and disappointed that something like this could happen. All of the truck drivers don’t want to drive to Garuka because it is so far so we have to pay them money for transport and time. We are all tired, and though the enemy would love to see us give into frustration and anger we are choosing to cling to hope and find the joy in every little thing. In having this attitude like Christ, we have seen and experienced his goodness, and last night God showed us that it is all worth it.

   Last night I was invited over to the Bishops house for dinner to congratulate the Bishop Elect and just to say thank you to everyone that has supported Bishop Patrick and Mama Eva over the years. The hearts of Bishop Patrick and Mama Eva were overflowing with love last night and it was the kind of love that you cannot resist, but just rest in and be filled. There were other muzungus there, Bob and Sue from Australia, and Jane from the UK. We all do different things here at the diocese, Sue teaches a variety of workshops to the people about marriage and children’s workshops, and Bob comes to support his wife and their relationship is just wonderful! They are a couple one can look up to. Jane comes and teaches the children how to sing and works with the choirs. Then there is Unified in Mission, and our focus is Garuka.

   There were so many questions about the school and the progress so I took my phone out and started showing the pictures to the people there and that is the moment when building this school became worth it. Theses people didn’t know about the struggles and frustrations that have come with constructing this school. They just saw the transformation and they were filled with gratitude. One thing I have come to love about Ugandan and the people we get to work with is that they don’t look at Collin and I as 20 something year olds who are beneath them, they don’t look at us as young people but they truly see us as a brother and sister in Christ seeking God’s kingdom. They look at us with a loving kindness and respect. 1 Timothy 4:12 comes to mind, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.” They don’t think less of us at all but encourage us and love us because when we are out here, we are en example of Christ’s love and because of that love, this place has become home, in more ways than one. I needed that last night because this school has been a burden and a blessing. I showed them pictures of the children and you can tell the pupils are happy! These kids really do know what a gift this is and I cannot wait for them to step foot into those classrooms.

   As I was showing the pictures Bishop spoke up and shared the story about Garuka, and how God had laid it on his heart. From the beginning of Garuka we have wrestled with it. The original organization we partnered with was too busy to help us build the school so Collin had to find another partner and that’s when he turned to the Church and that’s the story Bishop chose to share last night. He began talking about how he had heard about the conditions of Garuka and decided to visit the school. Garuka is a church school and it is not part of the government. So when Bishop saw the poor conditions of the school his heart was very heavy and he declared that day that he would pray for this school. A week later is when Collin walked into his office to talk to him about Garuka. At this point Collin didn’t know that Bishop had been praying about that school so he walked into the meeting not knowing he was in fact an answer to prayer. Bishop explains that when they both realized they were meeting about Grauka he was filled with joy and they were both excited ready to begin this project. Bishop was quick to get behind Collin and Unified in Mission and he has also continued that support through me. Yesterday we exchanged phone numbers and he told me he would save my contact as “The Bishops Daughter”. That story made it all worth it, God had ordained this school and he brought the right people together to make this happen. I have been questioning his sovereignty and his goodness and he revealed to me last night that he hasn’t forgotten about me but he has surrounded me with love and family and all of the support that comes along with that.

   At the end of the evening Godfrey, one of the reverends at the diocese was giving thanks for the dinner and thanking everyone who came. When he got to me, he said that it was a good work we were doing at Garuka and we need to magnify those pictures to show the transformation of Garuka because there is a history there. He was so thankful for the love that has been poured out over this school, much like everyone else there. I am sharing this because as it was an encouragement for me and I pray that it is an encouragement for you too. God is way ahead of us and he in his sovereignty is weaving together the fabric of our lives in ways we could not possibly imagine. He is good, and he has shown me recently that every bitter thing is sweet, we just have to look for the sweetness and keep on pushing through, especially when life becomes difficult.  There is always a lesson to be learned in the struggle, we just have to be open to the work God is doing in us and through us to receive his truths.

   We still have about 3 weeks left with the school, which means we are 3 weeks behind schedule. With that we are choosing to adapt an attitude of grace and reflect patience and peace. We are striving to imitate 1 Timothy 4 :12, “…Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, in your faith and your purity.” Pray for us as we continue to work on this school and as we prepare to have the World Race team arrive on the 22nd! We are excited for what God is doing here and we are eager to see the work he does in us and through us!