Five Year Anniversary in Uganda!

I can’t believe we are celebrating our 5-year anniversary in Uganda today! Facebook memories keeps showing me pictures of our journey here from Texas, and it doesn’t even seem real that we have been here for 5 full years now! It seems like just last month that we were saying our goodbyes to our friends and family as we boarded the plane to Uganda.

I’ve tried all day to figure out how to write this blog post because I’m trying to figure out how I feel about being in Uganda for 5 years now. Vicki coined “excitasad” as the emotion she felt as we prepared to leave Texas. She was excited for the new journey, but sad to leave her life back home. I can’t even figure how what word describes my feelings about the last 5 years and our future. The only word I can think of is conflicted.

I’m conflicted because I miss my friends and family back home like crazy. We committed to staying in contact when we left, but so many things have caused us to drift apart from our friends and family. The time difference is really difficult because as we are winding our day down, getting dinner ready and getting the kids ready for bed, people’s days are just starting back home. When we wake up, it is too late back home to call. Our best shots are often on Sunday nights after people get home from church, but that is difficult as well. Our friends and family are also busy with their lives, softball practices, vbs, camps, etc and it can get hard to relate to what is going on back home when our lives are so different.

I miss watching our nieces and nephews grow up. I’m sad that we don’t have much of a relationship with them like I did with my aunts and uncles. I’m sad that my girls don’t get to spend as much time with our parents as I was able to spend with my grandparents.

I miss my job at the bank and the amazing people that I worked with. I miss having central air and heat. I miss having cars that run (Vicki’s tie rod broke today to continue the saga of broken vehicles we are experiencing). I miss Target and United Market Street. There are SO many things that I miss!

However, even though I miss all these things and they often make me sad, we love life here! I am having so much fun in the ministry that God has put me in here. We are seeing more fruit that I would have ever even thought of 5 years ago. I’m having more fun and fulfillment now than I ever have in my life!

I love the relationships that we have made here with people from all over the world. Relationships are deeper here because you become not only friends, but also family to your friends when family is 8000 miles away. I love the friends that we do life with in our small group. I love the friends we play volleyball with. I love meeting up with friends for 2 for 1 burger night on the banks of the Nile.

I love that my girls are growing up without all the distractions that I see others their age facing. I love the education that they are getting. I love the fact that they have such a bigger worldview than I did.

Though we love life here, it is not always easy. We were drug through the pit of hell and were not even sure if our marriage would survive. We went through the biggest challenges we have ever faced. Though that season was horrible, I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful that God took us through the refiner’s fire and I am a better person for it (and more effective in ministry). I’m grateful that our marriage is stronger than it ever has been. You see, we really needed to go through this sifting to get some junk out and we would probably have never gone through it if we were back home.

We have lost some really good friends that were like family that are living in other places now. Friendships are like a revolving door here and that is hard. It’s hard to open you heart to someone only to have them ripped away from you a short time later. My tendency is to guard my heart and not build relationships with people that I know are soon leaving. Fortunately, I have a wife that freely gives her heart away and we didn’t miss out on some really great times and sweet fellowship.

I’m conflicted! I miss home hard, but I love here strongly! The thing that gives me peace is that I know we are where God has us right now and that is a feeling with no conflict!