When we meet up with teams, we are given a packet of information at the end of every trip. It includes many debriefing questions and also a rundown of some of the emotions we might experience as we come home. It doesn't matter how many times we go through the process, I think we always seem to experience every bit of the ups and downs of returning home.
I was going to write this post last night. After the post I wrote Saturday, I wanted to share about how we've started to move from the despair we felt the last week and first few days home to a steady desire and resolve to do what we can for even just a few people. Our conversations had changed from trying to process what we saw and almost reliving it with each other, to talking mostly about what steps we can take to help the situations we found, to inspire more people to want to sponsor children, and what we look forward to for next year.
Then there was today. I drove to the chiropractor to undo some of what the 20 hour flight and Ugandan roads did to my back. I was alone in the car (alone for the first time in over a month) and I passed an old man walking with a cane. He was wearing a hat that made me think he could be a veteran, and he was hitch hiking. I knew that as a young woman driving alone I shouldn't be driving around old men I don't know. But there was still that part of me that knew how wrong it is to live in a world where we can't trust one another enough to help each other.
And I completely lost it. Tears started streaming down my face, because the sight of that man brought me back in time a few weeks as I sat in the AMG truck in downtown Kampala. I watched as a girl no more than 10 years old stood at our window begging for money. I could hear her voice as she said over and over, "Hello, hello." And though my mind knew I couldn't give her anything, my heart was screaming, "What are you doing just sitting there?"
And as I drove past that man, tears streaming down my face I wondered is there anyone I can actually help? I go to Africa and am surrounded by the immense needs of the people, and I come home and still I can't escape it.
I know we're supposed to be focusing on the postive work we accomplished on the trip. And I know without a doubt that we made a difference in people's lives while we were there. I know for a fact that children who have nothing and no one felt deeply loved and I know that sometimes that's enough. But it doesn't always feel that way.
Getting back into life at home is a process, and God is still working on us. Just when you think you have it down, an old man comes your way and breaks you. And the pain is deep, and it brings up so many other memories and emotions. But I know that with everything that happens, God is still working. Every time God breaks my heart, He is at work. He can't give me strength to stand up for something if I didn't fall down and get a little broken first.
I ask for your continued prayers through this process. Pray that in the end, God will bring us to a place that despite the heartache, we can make a difference in the name of Christ for these people. Please also pray for our teammates as they continue to work through the coming home process. And finally, we ask for prayers of good health. Some of our team became very sick on this trip and they need healing. Pray for the ones who are healthy, that they would stay that way. (And yes, I am among the healthy so I praise God for that!)