and we are so grateful to the LORD for His wonderful provision, protection and care for her over the last several months she’s been gone working at an orphanage in Jinja, Uganda.
I had intended to write about this last week when she first arrived home, but time didn’t permit much computer use and I was actually so wonderfully overwhelmed with her being home that I didn’t take the time to write about it. I can now look at her homecoming a bit more objectively and probably say more than the words: praise, praise, praise the LORD she’s home!
She had a wonderful time – an experience of a lifetime, really. It was one of those rare opportunities in life to fully and utterly and completely trust in, lean on and submit to the LORD in a way such as never before experienced. If you’ve read her letters, you will have a glimpse of what she did there and about life in Jinja, Uganda from the eyes of a mzungo.
Perhaps in a day or so she will post a final letter to family and friends and I will post that one as well. She blessed us so much with her letters, and now so much more as she tells us things she couldn’t explain from that distance. Trials she couldn’t explain, things she faced were tremendously used of the LORD for her good and His glory. We couldn’t see all that at the time — not really. And, in reality, we will likely never know how she actually lived day by day there. In the comfort of this American home, there is little or no way to comprehend caring for babies with little hope for the future, some with AIDS or some with TB or malaria, women who live in mud huts and work at the orphanage for the equivalent of $30. (usd) per month. I could see from her stories that in Jinja, there’s a strange mix of beauty and abject poverty — a strange mix of modern efficiency, convenience and elegance contrasted by crudely primitive living. We cannot fathom —not really, living days without water or parts of each day without electricity or propane for cooking. We cannot fathom not drinking water from faucets or most all the other “comforts” —luxuries, really, that we take for granted and assume are our given rights every single day.
So now… home means: showers, yogurt, chicken, strawberries, a comfortable bed, no mosquito nets or spray, drinks of water at the kitchen sink, way too many choices at the grocery store, no washing off the red clay dirt on her feet each night, and no $bx. O, and driving. The price of gas went up $ignificantly in the time she’s been gone. But… we don’t begrudge her at all for just wanting to drive around at odd times… just to drive. And think.
We smile with her, we listen to her stories, we cry with her, we cry for her; happy she’s home.
But home also means… no orphan babies who hold a piece of her heart. Home means good bye for now to friends who were so dear and true there in Jinja. Home means decadence and plenty while there is so much need and so many needs to be met. Home means someone else holds the babies she can only now hold in her heart. Home means she can only visit in pictures the different ones who work day after day to care for the babies there. Home means she must wrestle with what she’s seen and lived and what she sees and lives.
It was hard for us to conceive of the living conditions when we heard about the disparities each time we talked to Kathryn over the months she was gone there. Only now, in pictures and through her accounts of the days there, are we able to gain a bit of perspective of the poverty and all that goes with that. And only now are we really able to see how much that meant to her and how deeply it affected her life. Even though she’s eager to step back “into life” here and even though she’s obviously very happy to be home… pieces of her heart are missing… we see that each day.
God is good.
All the time.