We’re tickled pink today to welcome Jaimee Sekanjako. Jaimee has spend the past year and a bit living in the crazy-beautiful chaos of Uganda, East Africa. She spends her days designing water systems, toilets, and–as a civil engineer with Engineering Ministries International–having meetings on the controversial topic of urine diversion (her words, not ours!). She loves dark chocolate, rescuing dogs, and her husband Paul (not in that order). She’s proud of Paul surviving his first trip to Canada’s -42 degree winter, after meeting and marrying him in a story that could have only been written by God himself.
I was bent over the stove stirring a pot of something when my husband brought me the phone. The voice on the other end was musical, full of life and joy. I heard a sweet young woman say, “Auntie, I love you so much. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you. I want to hear all about your life.”
On this particular day, I needed those words. Needed them more than I even knew.
I had lost more of myself than I knew what to do with since moving to Uganda to pursue full-time global work. I somehow felt lost and overwhelmed by all the ways in which I felt like I wasn’t making a difference.
Perhaps that sounds like some kind of paradox, but at the moment, it was my reality. I somehow thought that leaving my life in Canada to pursue full time global work on the African continent would increase my capacity to serve the Lord. But in all honesty, I was beginning to feel like I was making less of a difference, that God was using me in less significant ways–while I tried to wade my way through a foreign culture–than He did while I was living in my home country.
Looking over my shoulder
Sometimes I longed for the days when I had margin; energy to spare which was invested in the community around me. In Canada, I worked full time, volunteered with immigrants, was active in the local dance and running community, and was involved in numerous ways at church. I also did at least one or two short term trips per year to use my skills as a water and sanitation engineer in the wider world, in addition to a host of other things–all with seemingly limitless energy to build relationships. Now, I was finding myself walking down Uganda’s red dirt roads with nary the energy to come home from work and cook supper.
I felt like my days of “making an impact” were somehow in the past.
But in the middle of all this transition, exhaustion, cultural misunderstanding, and standing in the mire of life’s challenges, somehow God caught my attention. He reminded me He’s using me in small things. He reminded me that He is weaving beauty into even this. He reminded me that He is here, right in the middle of it all.
Although I may not feel like I am any kind of grandiose world changer, He is using me in small ways that matter.
I’d met this young lady on the phone seven years ago on my first visit to Uganda. She captured my heart, and I wrote her a letter when I got home. The next time I visited, she told me she had been praying to receive her very own letter for five straight years and she was praising God because He answered her prayer. She has been part of my life ever since. Even though we are both in Uganda now, we still write letters. God is writing her into some kind of amazing story.
ordinary moments, extraordinary dividends
Another somehow ordinary evening, I sat on the couch with another young lady turned dear friend. This one, she comes from a heartbreaking past. She shared her heart and I shared my home. A while later she told me she would never forget my kindness, a seemingly small but significant thing. I can see it now, see Him working in all these ways I might have missed.
Because when we who are broken give to the broken–this is giving ourselves to Him, the Wounded Healer, the Broken and Given Lover. And He gives us His open and given heart, gives us His very life, gives us union . . . communion.
Ann Voskamp, The Broken WayBecause when we who are broken give to the broken--this is giving ourselves to Him, the Wounded Healer, the Broken and Given Lover. Ann Voskamp Click To Tweet
Just this morning I sat with an intern and discussed how we can allow God to work in the ordinary. In and through the days and the tasks that seem boring and mundane. Somehow I see this Father of mine weaving me into a tapestry. In as much as I have been placed in a position to mentor, I find myself mentored. He brings us together in the struggle.
He works in the small, ordinary things. And He loves me enough to remind me of that.