Mzungu Memoirs

What is My Calling?

When we were preparing to come to Uganda, people often asked what I would be doing while Robert was working with eMi.  My standard answer was that I would probably have my hands pretty full running the household and chasing after Caleb.  And while running a household in Africa is decidedly more involved than doing so in the States, it does not take up near as much of my time as I thought it would.

And I struggled to find things to fill my time.  I guess I thought I would be spending a lot of my spare time with the other eMi wives.  But they all had lives of their own that kept them pretty busy, and they didn’t really have time to babysit a new missionary wife fresh off the boat.  It didn’t help that we were struggling with finding a church home and then where to fit into that church once we found one.

As mentioned in last week’s blog, Robert was able to plug into Kampala International Church (KIC) pretty quickly even if it wasn’t quite a role that he felt fully qualified to fill.  I, on the other hand, continued to struggle.  I volunteered to help with the tea and coffee service after worship, but that was only once every 6 weeks or so.  After some words of insight from my sister-in-law, I pursued the possibility of serving on one of the various praise teams.  I attended one of the Worship Leader Training sessions but quickly decided that I didn’t really want to lead singing as much as serve as a backup singer.  I was asked to sing as part of a team, but so far it has only been once.  Hopefully, I will get more opportunity once school and normal schedules start up again, especially since KIC will be going to two services this fall.

In an effort to get me more involved, Robert signed us up to work with an eMi project trip together.  The project site was just north of Kampala, so the team actually stayed here in town.  This allowed us to participate in the project trip as a family, something Robert has wanted to do for a while.  Our experience is detailed in a previous blog entry entitled “eMi Project Trip, Family Style.”  The project did get me more involved and helped to fill up my summer, but I have determined that I am not really called to serve on eMi project trips.  I will leave those to Robert.

My service to eMi is more in the form of food.  The cook at the eMi office has been wanting to learn more mzungu type recipes, and I was asked to assist with that.  As cooking is something that I love to do, this has been something that I can really get into, and I have.  I poured through all the cookbooks that were already on hand at the eMi office, looked though my own personal recipes and scoured the internet for suitable meal ideas.  It’s not as easy as it sounds to find recipes that can feed 20 people without breaking the budget.  It has been a lot of fun though, and we have developed a good set of menus that we can pull from to provide adequate variety for mzungu palates.

About the same time I was exploring the idea of serving with a praise team at KIC and was starting to work with the menus at eMi, I was approached by one of the eMi wives about helping with a fledgling program.  She and a friend from Canada were teaching women in the area to make cards by punching patterns with pins into cardstock and creating designs with thread.  The idea is to teach vocational skills and provide income-earning opportunities for Ugandan women who currently struggle to meet the basic needs of their households.  The program is loosely modeled after Bead for Life, a program for which the friend from Canada was volunteering.  I thought it sounded like a really neat program and I love crafty types of things, so I eagerly agreed to help.

After months of wondering about my purpose here in Uganda, I went from having not so much to do to being so busy I could hardly keep up.  It has been a really good busy, though.  The card making program really was fledgling and I have had to do a lot of figuring out as I have gone along.  Not too long after I was asked to get involved, the two ladies that asked me to join them left for Canada leaving me to run the program over the summer in their absence.  It has been a lot more involved than I realized it was going to be, but I am really proud of what the program has become and I am eager to watch as it continues to grow.

I feel that this is why I am here in Uganda, to work with this fledgling program.  I love working with the ladies and watching their craftsmanship improve.  I love learning about them and their culture, although the learning is slow as there is a language barrier to overcome.  English may be the national language here, but it is not the native one.  Still we manage to communicate, sometimes directly, sometimes though translation, and I catch glimpses into their lives.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the program, for my work with it and for the lives of the ladies I work with.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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