First I want to thank everyone for the prayers. He is finally home!
It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (The Message Matthew 6:21)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV Matthew 6:21)
Saturday was a very strange day at the market. For those of you that don't know, one way that I raise money for the boys is through selling jewelry made by 2 different women's groups in Uganda. The women get paid per piece so they can support their families and save for their own businesses, and then the rest helps to support the boys. So most Saturday mornings when I am in town, you can find me at the local Farmer's Market.
I thought Saturday would be a typical Saturday. I like being at the market because I hear lots of Africa stories. People stop by and share their heart for Africa or about some one they know that has gone and brought them a souvenir. It is really interesting and encouraging. I have met many cool people and until this last Saturday everyone only shared kind words.
A lady that I had seen at the market many times came up to the booth and picked up one of the bracelets. She was looking at it intently and finally asked, "This is paper right?" So I told her it was and as she showed it to the lady with her, I began to tell the story, why I sell them, who makes them, etc. Then, she put the bracelets down mid-sentence and started to walk away. As she was walking away she very rudely criticized me for not helping here.
Honestly, I can't remember her exact words. I only remember how she made me feel. ***Lesson here, the saying is true. People won't always remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel.***
I felt hurt, angry, shocked, outraged, bitter, heartbroken, the list could go on...
I couldn't believe that someone was actually criticizing me for trying to do something good. That they felt like the boys weren't important enough to help.
Now I could go in many different directions with the story. But the path I am choosing is to try to share why Uganda.
I could have gone anywhere in the world and found someone in need. Every single space on this earth is filled with someone in need. Maybe not the needs we think of but still needs. There are spiritual needs and physical needs. There are needs of friendship and comfort. There are needs of emptiness and feeling alone. Everyone, including me, has some sort of need. I could go anywhere, even to the most wealthiest places and find someone in need of something. I could have stayed here and found something.
Before I left for Uganda, I volunteered a lot locally (at an afterschool program for kids in a housing project, packing boxes of food for the food pantry, at a food pantry, at church, grocery shopping for an elderly lady that couldn't get out, raising awareness for Heifer International). I worked locally in jobs I thought would make a difference, as a teacher and at the Boys and Girls Club.
While I was happy to do those things, because I saw a need, my heart wasn't there. I can't explain it. I loved helping and working with the kids. I have some great memories and it is wonderful running in to kids I used to work with and seeing them and how they have grown or progressed. But I didn't LOVE it. There was always something missing.
That feeling where your heart comes alive and even if you had to walk up hill to the moon in a tsunami and blizzard with no shoes, you would do it.
I never felt that until I moved to Uganda. That is how I feel about the boys. That is how I feel when I am in Uganda. My heart is in Uganda. I would do anything for the boys to make sure that they have everything they need.
In Uganda, I have found my calling. I have found God's purpose for my life.
I realize there are needs everywhere. But I can't be everyone to everybody. no one can. But I can be someone to one, in my case 20. God has called me to Uganda. Uganda is where my heart is. Uganda is where I will stay until God calls me elsewhere. I know many people don't get it. I understand people feeling that we should take care of our "own".
We are all God's children. The boys are as much of my "own" as the people here in the US. Sorry if that upsets you or makes you angry, but it is the truth. We are all part of this world. What happens in other parts of the world, does have an impact on what happens here. Martin Luther Ling Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Where you live or your skin color doesn't make you any more of my "own" or any more in need as anything else.
Not everyone is going to have the same passion as me and that is fine. I don't care if you love dogs and want to rescue them. I don't care if recycling is your thing. I don't care if you want to visit inmates or tutor after school.
Just do something.
There are needs everywhere. Just because someone doesn't have the same heart as you, you shouldn't criticize them. As long as people are doing good in the world, trying to make it a better place, living out their faith, I can't argue with that, even if it is different that what I choose to love or do.
Like the scripture says, "where your treasures are, your heart will be also." I have many "treasures" in Uganda and that is where my heart is. That is why I go. That is why I choose Uganda.