Garden of the Gods

I have now been in Uganda for two and a half weeks!  Time is already flying!  It feels as though it was a decade ago when on January 14th I flew down to Colorado Springs for a weeklong orientation with the 25 or so other interns who are serving at the other offices around the world.  It was an unforgettable week.  Near the end of my time in Colorado Springs, we visited a place called the ‘Garden of the Gods’ which is an area of large, beautiful red rock formations.  It was surreal and I could totally imagine a giant or some other fantastical creature plundering through the almost gravity defying landscape.  Already reflecting on orientation week at this time, I felt as though the week was like what it may have been like in the Garden of Eden, or a shadow of what heaven will be like:  being surrounded by a huge family of Christ followers, all with a passion to serve God with their gifts.  

During the week we did many activities together including cultural lessons and games, lessons about missions and the role of eMi, lessons for designing in a developing country, small group times, prayer times, outdoor hikes, and many other things.  The days were jamb packed and whenever I could get away between activities I would take time to process it all.  It was certainly a lot of information to take in in such a short time.  Not only was orientation week a dive into culture, design, and Biblical mandate, it was also a time of spiritual self-discovery.  By learning more about myself and studying my personality, my strengths, and my spiritual gifts, I was better able to see what my place might be in the work of the Kingdom.  I feel like my nomadic life over these past few years has prevented me from taking on spiritual leadership roles, that I have been in a season of being served and that I will soon move into a season when I will serve. 

I become melancholic when I think I might not see the people again who I got to know that week.  What an amazing group they are!  Their faces and enthusiasm are forever engrained in my memory!  I thank God that I was able to hear so many testimonies, both from young people like me, and professionals who have years of experience serving in missions and in their respective fields.  What a witness to God’s amazing intervention in people’s lives!  In formulating my own testimony, I have realized that God has indeed brought me to serve at eMi for a reason.  Not only will I be serving people in need by being here, I think that God will really stretch me in the process.  Already I am finding I have a greater dependence on God and am hungrier than ever for His Word.  I find that at home it is easier to ignore God and do things my own way, while here I have to depend on Him or I will be overwhelmed.

I find that I miss Colorado Springs a little bit.  It was a beautiful city, quite spread out with the consistent presence of the pre-Rockies looming in the distance.  It reminded me of my visit several years ago to Calgary.  I love mountains because their majestic presence reminds me that for God anything is possible (Matt 17:20).  We had a magnificent view of them from the place we were staying.  It can be easy to forget that creation too is God’s handiwork and that through it also He makes Himself known.  Some of my fondest memories from orientation week are the group hikes in the beautiful landscape, evenings in the hot-tub under the stars with a bunch of interns, and rocking out to music or chatting during car rides – a different set of people every time.  The week almost felt like a dream and I almost didn’t want it to end.  It was time however to do what I had been called to do.  After months of fretting, praying, pondering, fundraising, and at times freaking out, it was time to go serve with eMi in Uganda.  It was good preparation for what was to come.  I couldn’t imagine jumping right into things here in Uganda without taking a week to solely pause, reflect, and pray.

To any of you 2012 interns who are reading this, I miss you and all the very best!  I am praying for you all and your work with the other offices.  We must keep in touch! 

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