If Home Is Where the Heart Is

Saturday, 28 March 2015 | 14:57

AKA: The Entry I Didn’t Think I’d Be Writing

How can it be possible that I’ve only been here for a month? Or how did the month go so quickly? Yes, it’s a strange mixture. Bear with me if you can; things are connected.

On the one hand, I just got here, but it feels like it’s been ages since leaving the States. The routine definitely contributes to that. It’s a five and a half day work week, punctuated by the Sabbath on Sunday. The strong missionary community also contributes to it. If you want to be a loner, this isn’t the place. When your close community is composed of five families and four singles and you interact with them every day, not once a week, you build relationships more quickly. Yes, of course I long for those back home. I miss those relationships dearly and I’ve treasured the simple conversations held by e-mail. But to have what has felt a second home - that I never anticipated.

On the other hand, I just got here and it feels like I’m leaving so soon. Which is very true. It really only has been a month. And a month wasn’t nearly long enough.

Which brings me to the title of the post. I never anticipated that I’d fall in love with Karamoja this much. Whenever I’ve moved, the new location pretty quickly comes to be home. Home isn’t where I grew up or where I used to live. Home is where I live. I’ve never before had the experience of visiting a place and thinking of it as home, especially a place to which I had never been and about which I knew very little. But so it is.

There’s the aspect of the basic functions of life here, too. There’s so much uncertainty amidst the known. Sure, I may have plans for the day, but far more often than I’m accustomed, those plans fall apart. I really have no option but to place my reliance upon God and His promises. It’s something that should be no different based on the location, but here you must. So much is out of my comfort zone, but His grace abounds. He has granted confidence to me like I’ve never experienced before, yet I didn’t realize it until my departure began looming. To not be confident in His plans as better than my own would result in frustration. And that’s hard for this engineer who likes to plan things in detail. It’s something that both worries me and serves as hope for my return - that I would continue to put my plans in perspective. I know God uses trials to form us, but in this case it feels like He’s using a gift to do so. A gift He intends me to carry home with me.

Going, my expectations were few; I wanted to start figuring out how I could use my background/skills as a missionary. He did more than that. It’s hard to describe the joy I’ve felt, but after eight years of feeling that particular missionary call, and then to actually be doing it is simply wonderful. It’s that feeling of “this is what I was made for”.

There’s a vulnerability in going somewhere completely unfamiliar. Typically, I close up when overwhelmed by the unfamiliar. But that didn’t happen. Rather the opposite, actually, and that caught me off guard. What might have been overwhelming became comfortable, and it wasn’t a conscious effort on my part. It’s like He set me up to show that He provides in ways far exceeding what I would ever imagine. And He provided more than confidence, more than joy in the work, and more than being open to the unfamiliar. And this is the part of the entry that was never even a possibility in my mind. Why should it have been? Who in their right mind expects to travel two continents away, for only a month, and find someone with whom he shares so much? Especially me, the guy who is quite particular. And for the feeling to be reciprocated. I couldn’t imagine such things a month ago, yet here I find Taryn and me deciding to date. So, there, it’s public. I can be as dense as a brick at times, and this is no exception; apparently everybody else at the mission saw it before I really realized it myself. We’re going to have to figure out how this long-distance relationship is going to work, but knowing that we have so much support is a blessing and reassurance. If this is meant to be, as we believe it is, those challenges become what I like to call “just details”. Even to hear myself say that reminds me of the work God has wrought in me over the last month - forming me to trust in Him. So if home is where the heart is, that makes two homes here on earth for this one heart.

Note: While this entry was technically written after I had already left Uganda (on the flights), the topic has been heavy on my mind for the last few days, so that’s why it’s written as if I haven’t yet left. Indeed, a big part of my heart hasn’t left.