[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] In light of Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to share some of my heart and remember what I have to be thankful for.
Kitgum, Uganda in 2006:
Dusty roads, people living in IDP Camps. Everyone is on edge. There is a fear glossed over their faces. They want to believe this war is coming to an end, but they don’t have the strength to hope. At night, in the Night Commuter Shelter, there is a flood of beautiful little faces. They came from miles, gathering to find safety from the rebels who have abducted their loved ones. They will all sleep on the ground again tonight, side by side. This is one of many such shelters in Northern Uganda, keeping thousands of little ones out of the bush and hoping to save their lives.
Before they sleep, we sing and dance with them, give them some small gifts, and teach them about the God who loves them. All of their eyes are glued to us, attentive and hungry for something more than this life of chaos and fear. As they settle down and we prepare to depart, it looks like a sea of beautiful chocolate skin in front of me. There are so many of them. As I look at them, I wonder, do they feel invisible? The world, their country, and even many of their families have turned a blind eye to what has been going on in this place for the last twenty years. I wonder if they feel that God has forgotten them; that they are just another nameless face in a huge crowd of displaced and broken people. As I look at them, I remember my own pain, so small in comparison to theirs. I remember feeling hopeless and invisible. I also remember when I discovered that my reality was quite different from what I felt. My world was transformed when I discovered that the God who created galaxies, who balances stars and planets, who creates the complexities of DNA, loves me. He thinks about me. In the same way, His eyes are upon them. His heart beats with love for them, His tears fall for their pain.
(This is a picture of one of the IDP, Internally Displaced Persons, camps where they lived when forced from their land.)
When I was a teenager, I struggled with depression. I was shy and didn’t feel like I ever related to people in a normal way that I should. I felt like the world moved on all around me, and there I was stuck in the eye of the storm, watching life swirl around me as I stood in place. Or better yet, that I was sucked up into a storm and swirled helplessly around while the world remained still and normal. I felt that I had no voice, that my opinions didn’t matter, that my pain was unnoticed. I was so wrong. All that time God was reaching out to me, but I was so absorbed in my self that it took a very long time to realize that. It took years of pain for me to finally take my eyes off of myself and put them on Christ. He left the splendors of Heaven, He became a man of sorrows, He was well acquainted with grief. God in the flesh was in the midst of men, and we didn’t see Him. He became invisible. When I realized this, it broke me. It changed me. I began to realize that I don’t need to be noticed. My purpose in life, the thing that brings me the most joy, is not being noticed, but it is drawing near to my Creator and sharing His love with others. Making Him noticed amongst the people. Now I pray to be invisible that they might see Jesus and not me; that I may be a reflection of His light to people who are hurting and walking around in the darkness. So many more people need to know that they are loved, that God came for them. Let us take our eyes off of ourselves for a moment, and realize that this life is about so much more. Let’s dare to become invisible, putting ourselves aside, for the sake of Christ. The paradox in this lifestyle is that this is where joy resides, this is where hope is found. Jesus already informed us of this when He said in Matthew 16:25: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. (HCSB). This is what He meant. Tired of life? Try something radically different. Try to live for something, someone, other than yourself. Be invisible. Then you will really find true life, and realize that you are always seen and always cared for by the maker of Heaven and Earth. And maybe you can share that beautiful reality with someone who is hurting and broken. They are not just in Northern Uganda, people everywhere need to know they are loved. When we realized how loved we are, what a glorious THANKSGIVING it will be.
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[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ericambasan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_0088.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi, my name is Erica and I am a God-called missionary for Northern Uganda. It is my passion and life-calling to bring God’s word to the people of the world. Each and every one of us can do our part in spreading God’s word to people in need of Jesus’ healing touch and hope. Trying to figure out if God has called you to the mission field? Do you want to learn more about what it’s like to be a missionary? Check out my book, For the Joy Set Before Us – Insights Into the Missionary Journey today.[/author_info] [/author]