“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” –John 13:14-17
I didn’t quite know what to expect. I suppose I liked the unknown. After all, I was comfortable in the air conditioned van and oblivious state of mind. It’s so much easier not to care of feel or genuinely ache for the hurting. It’s so much easier to remain in our air conditioned state of apathy.
But then the van doors opened and the hot, African sun beamed in, and the smell of the wild bush flooded every crevice of the car. I instantly knew my apathy was about to be wrecked.
Africa will do that to you. The sights and the smells and the tastes will toil at your heart before you ever even meet the people. I suppose it offers an initiation so the continent’s raw purity can wreck you, but not completely destroy you all in one blow.
We had visited so many other ministries that week, I guess I expected SoleHope to fall in line with the rest. To become another check mark on our to-do list and another great blog post to share.
But a tiny village in the district of Bulambuli had different plans for my heart–and with every foot I washed and sliced into…with every pair of hope-starved eyes I stared into…with every smile of relief that flickered across the face of a treated child with a new pair of shoes, I realized SoleHope was far more than a riveting blog post. It was a ministry I deeply connected with, believed in, and left a piece of my heart beside.
For 7 months I prayed about returning to Uganda. Returning to serve with SoleHope. Possibly returning to the tiny village in Bulambuli. I wrestled with God and rationalized ideas in my mind and anxiously doubted how and when and if I would ever be able to make it back. To return to a place I was annoyed that I even longed for. To return to the broken-hearted, yet joyful place of truly loving others outside of my own comfort zone.
You can imagine my excitement the chilly September day my phone buzzed and an email rolled in from Dru, the founder of SoleHope, inviting me to return on a “SoleHope bloggers” trip. You mean I get to go back? And serve? And WRITE?! God, you are just too good to my stumbling soul.
With that said, I am excited to announce that in March of 2014 I will be making my way back to Africa with a team of seven amazing writers, and my sweet friend Molly Bear! Our “SoleHope bloggers” team will be serving throughout Uganda for a week and a half and I look forward to sharing the journey with you all along the way. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about SoleHope and their mission in Uganda. Any donations to their ministry are so deeply appreciated. If you would like to personally donate to my support-raising efforts for the trip, feel free to visit my SUPPORT page.
You can follow all of the wonderful bloggers who will be documenting our trip through the links below…
You can also watch the beautiful video of my first encounter with SoleHope from the Next Step Ministries Journey series below…