The title pretty much says it all – I’ve officially moved to Uganda! It still feels so surreal to say that. It’s been almost a full year since I applied for the job that I will started today, how crazy?!
Praise the Lord, the travel from Seattle to Uganda went smoother than I ever could have imagined or prayed for and felt so much peace throughout it. To be completely honest I haven’t felt peace from the Lord or in my life since May. So much changed around that time, so many endings that the summer months really felt more like mourning the loss of those people, relationships, and places than anything else. This was a peace i’ve never experienced before; in the midst of the sadness and unease and overwhelming moments, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.
While the travel was filled with a peace I can only accredit to the Lord, the goodbyes were hard. It didn’t hit me until the morning we were leaving for the airport and then I spent the whole morning sobbing as all the change and “costs” hit me. It wasn’t simply the “costs” for me that were hard to handle, but knowing what my decision and dream were costing my parents and family was hard to handle. It’s a weird dichotomy that you experience as an expat.
I wish I could put into words how I’ve felt this past week since boarding that plane to Dubai, but all that comes to mind is; overwhelmed, confused, elated, excited, sad, unsure, insecure, doubtful, joyful, content. Basically I feel like one huge mess of emotions. As a four on the enneagram I’m used to feeling all the things, so during such a huge life event of course it’s all so elevated. I am not good at giving myself Grace, and I can feel the Lord already teaching me how vital it is we have grace for ourselves.
I flew from Seattle to Dubai with a fifteen hour layover, then met up with my fellow other new intern so we could fly to Entebbe, Uganda, together! We met at orientation so it was such a relief to be able to see her finally and know we were in this together.
Stepping off of the plane in Entebbe I was immediately hit with a sense of “you’re home” and “welcome back”. Call me crazy but the feel of the Ugandan sun and the smell in the air is one of the most comforting and blissful feelings i’ve ever been lucky enough to experience. I know it’s technically just a place, but Uganda is so much more than that. So, so much more.
Once we made it to Uganda we spent the first three days in Kampala with our office there getting oriented and acquainted with their staff and interns. It was such a joy to meet everyone and be welcomed so warmly, but I was so excited to get up North and settled into my house and office there I was counting down the days until it was time to leave the capitol and head to my new home!
As excited as I was to finally be making my way up to my new home in Gulu, it’s about a five hour drive from Kampala and was the part of I was most apprehensive about, I just don’t love car rides. But God is so so faithful, and our entire ride was spent behind this truck with Psalms 28:7 written on the back flap
Psalms 28:7 in the passion translation says, “You are my strength and my shield from every danger. When I fully trust in you, help is on the way. I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise! I will sing songs of what you mean to me!” When I saw this truck I knew God was walking right alongside me, being faithful and steadfast through every onslaught of emotion. It was my reminder that God has orchestrated all of this; my move, my job, my housing, my coworkers, everything. All I need to do is trust him and walk with him.
Since getting to Gulu, which i’m already in love with, i’ve just been settling in and all the little chores that come with making a home somewhere new- exchanging money, going to the market, learning the town, finding the safe restaurants, making my room feel like mine, and most importantly meeting people and being in community. This is a relational culture, so remembering that nothing is more important than being in relationships and community with those around you.
I am so excited and thankful to be living here and learning from these incredible people. I started work today and will be learning from and supporting my brilliant Ugandan coworkers. Seriously they are brilliant. I can’t wait to see what unfolds, I can already feel God pushing me closer to him and teaching me invaluable lessons. I want to thank everyone for their prayers. They were felt more than you will ever know! Here’s to a little life for a big God under the warm Ugandan Sun!
Here are a few very random photos since getting here
I made two videos documenting my travel from Seattle to Uganda that are on my instagram IGTV (and i’ll upload here eventually) if you want to check those out as well!