It has come to that time.
I am leaving this beautiful country in just six days. I have been struggling to come to terms with this bittersweetness, and many of you have asked me why I have changed my flight from April 27th to April 7th. Well, here’s where my heart is:
For the past couple of weeks, I have started to become anxious to go back to Canada. I really do love it here, but I am fully aware that I have not been called to be here long term. When I started exploring the idea of changing my flight to earlier date, it was a romantic idea, but I was struggling.
It’s only thirty more days; why not just stick it out? This is an amazing opportunity; if I leave early, doesn’t that mean I’m not being thankful, or grateful, enough? I can’t leave; it means I’m weak, and I’m not being true to my word. Besides, this family is amazing. I’m going to miss them, as well as the other bonds I have made here. Who knows when I would ever get to have an opportunity like this again? I’m in Africa; enjoy it!
I miss home. The kids are finishing up their school this week, and then I’ll just be hanging out for three extra weeks. I miss my family, my boyfriend, my church. I’m starting to become lonely with Sydney, and now Emma too, gone back to Canada. I miss my guitar and food.
I was conflicted. I prayed and prayed. I wanted God to give me a direct answer.
“Can you just tell me whether to stay or to go? Just be straight up. Please give me wisdom and clarity of what to do.”
I waited and waited for an answer, but every time, I got nothing. I wrestled with no answers. I wrestled between decisions. I wrestled with frustration and anxiety of not knowing what to expect, although I felt okay in either decision which stirred more confusion. Finally, I sat down and journaled out of exhaustion, tired of not getting what I wanted. But this time was different, and it wasn’t exactly the straight-up answer I thought I might get. I wrote out my pleas and requests, and waited in silence.
“I will bless you.”
I wrote the words down. Over and over again; I will bless you.
Then it became clear.
I had carried out the purpose that God has given me. He answered this family’s prayers in hopes to find a teacher for the time being. He used me in the way that He wanted, just as I prayed He would do. The kids have finished and completed their work for the year, which has fulfilled my short term purpose. Short term purpose; God has not placed me here full time. He has used me to fulfill the purpose, and now that it is coming to the end, it has made me ready to fly back.
“Haven’t you noticed that I have given you peace in either decision? Choose, and I will bless you because you have obeyed my plans.”
And with that, I confirmed to my travel agent that April 7th would be my scheduled flight home. I am excited, but I’m also so sad. This family is so beautiful, loving, and a huge blessing. God knew it would work out so well. I’m going to miss them dearly, although, they will be back in Abbotsford soon for a few month (financial support pending), and I will more than likely see them again.
But I felt uneasy. Scared, actually. Going back to Canada from a third world country is a scary thought. When Sydney and I went to Rakai to visit the schools back in January, we went to the mall in Kampala. It immensely overwhelmed me. If I felt that overwhelmed then, I can only imagine how I’m going to readjust to Canadian life. I began to feel anxious and stuck again. I started praying that, somehow, God would give me a sign of confirmation that He is with me, that He is supporting me, that He would calm my worries and doubts again, that He would show me that no matter where I am in the world, He is my soul’s comfort.
Last night, I had worship practice. This Sunday will be my last Sunday here in Uganda. I sat down on the couch as we were about to start, and as I skimmed over our song list, my eyes froze at the last song. My eyes watered and my heart beat faster.
Instantly, my soul was overwhelmed and overjoyed with His peace and comfort. He’s tying up this bittersweet part of the journey with a little bow, and is blessing me already; just as He said He would. Once again, He has answered my prayers, calmed the storms, and restored my joy.
The other day, I was reading my very first blog post. I was reminded of how God was moving and leading me to Uganda in the first place, including using the song “Cornerstone” as confirmation and a comfort. I was reminded of how God was going to use this time as a time of restoration, stretching my faith to new depths, purifying my heart in ways I didn’t know I needed, and using me as a servant to bless this amazing family. And how amazing it has been to see how God truly has used these four, full months in doing all that and more.
I really don’t believe I am the same person I was when I first arrived. I am new, refreshed, restored, and pure. No doubt, there has been a number of hard times; being stretched is best done during the trials and hardships. But there has also been a beautiful number of joyous memories that I will not soon forget. I don’t believe I could have grown in the way I have if I hadn’t obeyed my God’s command to get up and go. I am beyond marvelled and thankful at the work God has performed on my heart and soul during this time. And I know He’s not finished with me yet, nor will He be until I see Him face to face in glory.
It’s true; Uganda really does become a piece of your heart. This has been my home for four, intense months. I have already been asked by many what my favourite part has been, but I can’t choose. This wasn’t some type of vacation time; this was life. You can’t just pick a favourite part of life, just like you can’t pick a favourite part of chocolate brownies; it just doesn’t make sense to try because it’s all good and messy. Many have already begun to ask me when/if I will ever come back to Uganda. Right now, I really don’t know. If it’s in God’s plan to lead me back here one day, then here I am. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who does.
I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who have been praying and encouraging me. It has been so amazing to see your prayers being answered, and it has certainly blessed me in more ways than I can say. Thank you for journeying with me and supporting me through your prayers.
I also cannot express my gratitude enough to the Sperling family for loving me, encouraging me, putting up with me, praying with and for me, and treating me like one of the family. There’s no way it could have worked out any better than it did. This experience and opportunity has been absolutely unreal. I am so thankful to experience more of God’s faithfulness in a way many are not able to experience.
So as I sit here with a pile of last minute teacher work to do, packing to get done, and a million other things on my mind before I leave in just six days, I know that this is just part of my journey that is coming to a close. I don’t know what is next, or what I am doing after I get home to Summerland. I don’t know what God has in store for me in the next part of my journey. But I do know that my Father is in control, He is my comfort, He is faithful, He is all-knowing, He can do the impossible, He is peace and love, He is the definition of grace and mercy. I know He has plans for me because I am His daughter, He gives me purpose in whatever circumstance, and I am willing to be His vessel. I know that He will continue to chisel, mold, mend, and shape my heart. I know that He is my Cornerstone and First Love.
And I know all of this because I know who my God is.
If you would like to help support the Sperling family, please do not hesitate:
“For The Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” – Psalm 100:5
“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” – Psalm 139:5-6
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.” – Ephesians 2:20