Time, Money and Fear – by Stacey Rathjen
There are lots of reasons why I shouldn’t go to Uganda. Money and time are at the top of the list and, with the recent news, we can safely add FEAR to the list too. I’m fairly certain my mother will slash my tires before letting me get on a plane bound for Africa anytime soon…but, those are the main reasons that I have always hesitated to book my ticket.
I work at CENTURY 21 and I have been there since the beginning of our partnership with Ogoloi and Bukedea. I snagged a beautiful young woman from Ogoloi (Rebecca) to sponsor and I faithfully send in my $38/month to provide for her. I’ve known from very early on that the door was open for me to go visit on either of the 2 trips per year that Dylan and Joe go on- but I’ve always hesitated.
The truth is, I’ve been on mission trips to Africa… twice. I know, for the most part, what to expect. The grueling travel, the food, the environment, the people, the culture shock- and I’m fairly sure I’d win a contest to see who could pack the most in their carry-on luggage. But going this time is a whole different ball game. I think the difference this time is that sweet girl that awaits me on the other side of the world (and honestly, I’m nervous to meet her!). I don’t have the luxury of traveling to Africa, experiencing the people and culture, and coming back to forget about it- which honestly is what I did the previous 2 trips—it’s easy to do. You return and get caught up in the normal everyday life and “first world problems”. I have a pretty strong connection for the foreseeable future to these kids and the CarePoints in Uganda. Not only my monthly contribution, but the stories, pictures, updates from coworkers, and now working with Dylan and Jen to really grow Orphans of Teso—to work to get more people involved and to make a bigger impact. Traveling there and going and seeing them face to face will only make that connection stronger. Which I know will be a good thing. I think it comes down to me being scared that God’s going to completely rock my world—change the trajectory of where my life is currently going. It’s a different kind of fear. It’s a change my priorities, create new passions, and change the way I look at the world type of fear. Which really isn’t a bad thing, right? It’s just the scary and the unknown. I’m comfortable here. I’m comfortable sending in my monthly donation and never feeling Rebecca’s arms embrace me in a hug.
Love God. Live a life that matters. Make a difference.
That has more or less been my “mantra” for the last 6 months or so. Can I do all those things from the comfort of Central Iowa? You betcha. I know a lot of people that are. But I truly believe that God has me where he has me at this point in my life to step out the box. To try to make a difference, no matter how small, in a part of the world that so desperately needs it. My only response should be “I’ll go… send me”, and let Him take it from there.