Monday, September 15, 2008

Crossing Over

"Home is where one starts from….
In my end is my beginning." -T. S. Eliot-

The love of God is such that when we lay something down He is faithful to give us something better than we thought possible.

For the past week my prayer has been God—your will…(but if I can put a special request in…..)I’d sure love to have my own space. After close to 5 months of looking much like a pack mule melting in the midday sun and staying in rooms where I dig through my exploding suitcases looking for that one thing I’m almost positive I packed…I’m ready to put down some roots.

It’s more than the Virginia Wolfe urge to have a place to call my own---it’s about beginning…beginning to make a home, to create a safe atmosphere to bring in girls and children into a family. The family is the most underutilized, taken advantage of, agent of transformation in our society. There comes a point when you’ve done the research, you know the needs, you’ve visited the programs, you’ve been overwhelmed, you’ve been intimidated, you’ve cried, you’ve died, you’ve prayed and you just have to say…
enough already
Now is the time.
I can’t spend my life in fear of beginning because I’m looking around and seeing everyone do it bigger or better, with much more money, or with better hair :)

God gives you a burden for a reason though you may not understand all the intricacies of why it’s not better done by someone else. The answer has something to do with the fact that no one else is you. No one else is me. Your giftings, your love, yourself…its what you bring to the table. I’m ready to bring it…

So why the new-found confidence…
I’m pretty sure I saw God move heaven and earth for me.
Day One: I pray
Day Two: Prayer gets answered/the impossible happens

I was given the number of a pastor who just happens to have a place just up for rent. Now, let me explain the rarity of this. Gulu has become a Mecca for huge NGO's who like to drive around their Land rovers and college students who watched Invisible Children and think going to Gulu would be cool. Not only is it more expensive than Kampala (the capital) but its getting to be just as crowded which makes finding a place to live or do ministry pretty much impossible, even though the needs are still great.

I call the guy up on a whim and he says "You come now now." So I go. Now. Now.
I’m praying as the boda boda winds his way through the town, past Peche stadium, on the red dirt roads and I feel I hear God say, "When you see it, you’ll know." Sounds very "if you build it, they will come…" incomprehensible eeriness, but I’m trying to trust, so I just say "ok God" thinking I may have just found the last reasonably priced mansion in Acholi land.

I gotta be honest, she ain’t much to look at. But there are about four huts to her left that make her a beauty. Turns out, a group of child mothers affected by the war and infected with HIV live there on the compound. The youngest is 15, and between the 3 of them they have about 7-8 children. The landlord tells me if I want them to move he can ask them, but he had let them stay there because they had no other place to go. I just start laughing and I’m like, no no, they can stay, I want them to stay (instant ministry 101) and then tell him my vision. He tells me he was just about to rent the place that morning but felt like God didn’t want him to yet because he wanted the house to be used for ministry. He is relieved because if someone else had rented they would have made them move. I go inside and notice another funny God thing that just makes you realize how intimately God knows you and cares---the walls are half-painted turquoise…my favorite color.
There’s even some space to build more huts next to the avocado trees.

She’s a fixer-upper, my house, but she’s mine and she’s the beginning of something new…something with a lot of laughter and a lot of love---and pancakes. And maybe some chocolate chip cookies. (mm, Mom, Nestle, send ‘em)

I go back home that night too afraid to just jump on my God-send without serious prayer and I open to this verse:

"The Lord your God has given you this land to take possession of it." Deut 3:18

And then because God knows I’m a skeptic…this one:

"You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you." Deut 11:18

And I realize God wasn’t up there in the clouds wringing His hands about where I was going to live….everything had a perfect plan and a perfect timing. And now is the time to take possession of the land, of the dream, of the future.

It will for sure go down in history as my quickest answered prayer.
And I’m not complaining.

Note: All you guys and gals who secretly love getting dirty and banging things with a hammer---you know from back in your Habitat for Humanity days….Karibu---you are welcome. It’s about $3,000 for a wall and gate for security and well it would be nice to have something in the kitchen other than just the kitchen sink. :)

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