Sunday, 3 January 2010

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps

It's been a few weeks since I updated this blog, sorry! This is mainly because I left Uganda on the 19th to come home for Christmas, and I didn't really think many people would be interested in my UK-based Christmas. But my time here in the last two weeks has actually helped me interpret my time in Uganda, and God has given me a lot to think about. Returning home about a third of the way through my time in Uganda gave me time to process how things are going so far and what everything that's going on right now means for my future.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to 'feel at home'. Of course I feel at home in Bristol, it's where my family and some of my closest friends are, and where I lived the first 18 years of my life. It's the ground from which I launched into 'grown-up life', and God used my childhood here to teach me huge amounts about himself and where he's pointing me to go. But once I'd settled into life in Uganda, I felt for the first time that this is where I should be. I'm happy and comfortable, and although there have been times when it's been really, really hard, and some big sacrifices have been made, all those experiences have placed me somewhere where I really feel 'at home'. The person I am, that I was created to be, fits here, like a piece in a puzzle. I am still a great sinner, and my rebellion against God has contributed to the hard times, but as he shapes me I slip more and more into a comfort and a peace that knows no words, a peace that passes all understanding, and reassures me that 'His ramparts are ever before me' and I am sitting in the palm of His hand.

Basically, all this translates into 'I want to be here forever'. I don't think 'here' is Uganda, 'here' is a much more general 'Africa', but it's not just location, it's vocation and the types of relationships I have here. I love being in a team of missionaries who are working together yet all doing different jobs. I love the relationships I have with Ugandans, where we learn from each other and laugh at our differences and see God in some similar and some totally different ways. I love working in the lab, not doing research but performing tests that will each make a difference to a person's health, and being a valued member of the team there, where my skills are valued and useful. I want to learn more and more so that eventually I can teach lab skills and disciple and be discipled by the people of Africa. God has shaped me and put me here and though it can be hard and stressful and sometimes plain odd, I'm home.

If you know me you'll know that I've always loved Africa and more and more recently I've talked about moving here long term or even forever. But doing real life here has cemented those desires, and not blown them out of the water. And I'm even more sure now of the vocation I will have here, that of a lab technologist (not a researcher) and missionary.

The implications of this are that I have little need for my fourth year of university, as I already have all the skills and knowledge base I need to work in an African clinical lab. I have need for more biblical training, and I'm swaying towards the idea of AIM's TIMO (Training in Missionary Outreach) - a two year course living in an unreached people group and doing biblical studies and practical mission, or the Navigator Connect course, a discipleship course with very good biblical training based in Glasgow. Or Bible college. All very different options.. Please pray, as these are all very big thoughts for a little person like me, and I'll need God guiding my steps as I make my plans!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lou,

    Good to read your blog, I will post it on our website to encourage people from Bristol to keep in touch with all you are doing. Thanks for calling me back today, it was good to touch base and hopefully meet you in Mbarara later this month.

    Chris

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