People keep asking me what it's like to return to America after experiencing a third world country. And I don't know how to respond. Most of the time we were there, we had running water, electricity and toilets. I slept in a bed every night and had plenty of food. Yes, sometimes I had to bucket shower or use dripping cold water, and there were a number of smelly pits I used for the bathroom but life wasn't vastly different. Plus I was only there for two weeks, which is not long enough to really miss the luxuries of the first world.
Part of me thinks that it should have been harder. Aren't you suppose to "rough it" on mission trips? While I went without some of my normal extravagances, I was also treated like a queen. All my food was made for me, my dishes were washed for me, even my hiking boots that were fully covered in mud were scrubbed clean for me. Where is the rough in that?
I guess that isn't what God had for me this time. In fact, it was incredibly humbling. It was hard to be served all the time.
In a similar way that receiving money was hard for my pride, not being able to do things for myself for 14+ days was hard. I am suppose to be independent right?
But in fact, refusing help or insisting on doing it on my own can be disrespectful. It was a privilege for them to move my luggage, cook my food and help me do my laundry. You see someone carrying something, you offer to help them. This came in handy when we had a lot of paint supplies to carry to and from the secondary school. The kids loved carrying stuff and walking us home. It was just another opportunity to build relationships!
Apparently, roughing it wasn't the lesson that God had for me. He rarely does what I expect Him too! This entire process has been humbling. From the very beginning, God has been breaking down my pride and the idea that I can do it all on my own. Not only do I desperately need Him, I need other people. Without my generous supporters, I would not have been able to go on this trip. Without the large number of people who housed, served and fed us, our trip would have not been successful.
God desires for us to be servants and queens (or kings). He calls us to serve others but also to humbly receive the service of others. And the Ugandan people seem to understand this better than anyone! Their culture is based in community and values putting others before oneself. This is just another beautiful thing about these people and this country that I love!
You are loved.