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Ten years ago, April 2006, I boarded a plane to Uganda. I was going on a trip to a new country, meeting a group of people from different places. I was young, excited, and terrified. Ten years have passed since that plane ride, ten years since my feet first touched Ugandan soil. A decade since I first danced with the children who ran from rebels, clasped hands with the displaced, held the sickly infants without parents who were dying from diseases that they inherited from the harsh war.
This land looks much different than it did then. I thank God for that. I thank God that there are no more people displaced in their own land, no more children walking miles every night to sleep on hospital floors and try to escape abduction by monsters. The dust has settled, and what remains are the beautiful people who still need healing and freedom from the pain they endured. Many didn’t make it; others are physically here but long gone. For those who have so resiliently weathered the 20-year storm, they need to know the true freedom in Christ; a freedom that is not contingent upon peace treaties or sanctions, but one that will outlast every tempest.
I can’t believe ten years have passed. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday when I tasted my first Acholi meal, shared with a group of ladies under a mango tree, tried to dance like them and laughed at myself. I spent most of my 20’s in this place. While my friends and relatives chased their dreams, I chased this call of God. Through Malaria and Typhoid, betrayals and robberies, paperwork and red tape, bumpy roads and broken cars, it has all been worth it. The new friends, the love, the healings and transformations I have encountered ⎯ there is no price tag on these things. Sure, I have missed my family and loved ones in the US terribly. I still do, that never goes away, but the adventures I have been able to share with them through new eyes, the ways that God has stirred them to be a part of this from their corners of the world ⎯ that is so special.
It has been ten years, but there is much work left to be done. Ten long years of hardships, yet ten short years of living life to the fullest. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. May I not rest until God tells me my work here is done.
Time goes so fast. What have you done with the last ten years? What are your goals for the next?
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.