This past weekend I got all my flight information for the summer (In case you missed the memo, I will be going to Uganda as a summer missionary!) Having travel dates and a plane ticket arranged… wow… it makes this 1000x more real.
It makes going more exciting, but the plane ticket home also make the reality of leaving after two months all too real. I will undoubtedly miss my friends and family in the States and be excited to see them again, but I also thought about how hard it will be to say goodbye. Right now I only know these kids names, but I already care about them. And it is only March. How will my sister tear me away in August? (don’t worry mom, I promise to come back).
Tonight at Bible study, Beth Moore was teaching on James (which makes sense, since our study is on James); specifically James 3:13-18. Her points were answering the question “What is the good life?” She had a lot of great insight to share, but one that stuck out to me was point number 3: The good life is one that is full of mercy. This is taken from James 3:17, which says, “but the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Beth made a couple of comments that I keep turning in my mind and in my heart. The first was to ask of yourself and God, “What does a life full of mercy look like?” Secondly, don’t let yourself become overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of suffering in the world. It is important not to take on God’s responsibility – you can’t fix everything. It isn’t your job to do so. But what really got me thinking and encouraged me was that to be merciful, I have to be willing to be emotionally involved. I know that after pouring love into these orphans, it is going to hurt to leave them. But the hyperbolic question in response to that concern is, “Is that pain going to kill you?” The pain means that you love. And yeah, sometimes that might hurt, but it doesn’t mean you should stop loving.
Secondly, in my birthday card from my grandparents, my grandma wrote some words that have just stuck with me and encouraged me. She writes, “We are so excited for you on your plans for this summer… Sounds like a real challenge – will be different from your last mission trip. We’ve never been to Africa but have a number of missionary friends who have. We’ve started praying for your time there. I’m glad you are doing this since we can’t anymore. It is good.” Hopefully they won’t mind me sharing their words with the world (or all 12 of you reading this), but it just really touched my heart. My grandparents did short term missions work for a period of time and I’ve always thought it was so cool what they’ve done and where they’ve traveled. I’m glad to be able to continue on in their legacy of telling others about Jesus.