five minute friday: tree

Every Friday, a group of like minded individuals gathers over @thegypsymama’s to write unscripted, unedited masterpieces for the sheer joy of writing. The only hard, fast rule is to leave comment love on the blog prior to your own.

This week the word is tree.

GO

It all started with the memory of a tree in Africa, my missionary dream. The memory of that one acacia tree led to multiple adventures in the USA, Haiti, Uganda, Guinea, and Congo. It opened the door to the possibility of reaching out to people who need help. The dream of the tree has come full circle as I’ve come home and learned to reach out to people wherever I am. One little memory of a tree. How cool is that?

STOP

His… Michelle
Philippians1:20

Here’s how I’m earning my keep while visiting my brother and his family:

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hi, my name is michelle and i am a wrestler, but not with the wwe…

Here’s the thing I know about this missionary adventure. I know I am meant to be a missionary. It’s what I think about at least for some period of time on a daily basis.

Here’s what I thought I knew about the adventure. For the last 2 years, I thought I would move to Uganda and work with Tom and Jean on their team to ultimately plant a church in the region of Karamoja, Uganda. I thought I would do this through the support of my church and PIONEERS mission organization. I thought all of this would take place in a timely fashion, mainly in my timing, at my convenience.

Here’s what happened when I went to Uganda to spy out the land. I discovered there wasn’t one thing that drew me to this people group that would have me move there and thrive and be successful in long term ministry. The Karimojong in rural Uganda deserve somebody who will love them and stick with them for a life time. I’m not that person. Short term trips and visits? Yup. I could do that. So then I discovered I can’t be on Tom and Jean’s team. This confirmed, finally after a year of prayer, that I should resign from PIONEERS.

Here’s what happened when I returned from Uganda. The first thing I did was take a job I shouldn’t have because I was resolved to move back to Miami. Then, I fell into one of the worst depressions I’ve had in a very long time. I just wanted what I wanted for so long that I wrestled with God for weeks to make my dream come true. I worked at it from every angle imaginable, well if I just do this, if I just ignore that, if I just extend grace here, if I just try to compromise what I know to be absolutely true. No wonder I was depressed! Two weeks ago, I finally came to my senses. I finally stopped pretending I could go and succeed despite all the red flags. I gave up the dream. It was a good dream, but it wasn’t from God.

Here’s what I figured out. My mistakes are not mistakes to God. Romans 8:28 says He works all things for good to those called according to His purpose. God still has a plan for my life. I still know I am called to be a missionary. I even think I am still going to go to Uganda. While I saw only red flags in Karamoja, I saw great possibilities in Jinja.

Here’s what I’m going to do now. I am going to pray for the opportunity in Jinja. I am going to move back to Miami in June. I am going to continue encouraging my little boy to independence or missionary service with me. I am going to become involved in ministry to my neighbors. I am going to wait for God’s dream to become my reality. I am going to wait for God.

His… Michelle

back…

I’m back after spending 14 days “away”. I thought I would spend 40 days, but here I am. I did manage to make it to a number that had 4 in it. I don’t know if much has changed. I am still feeling quite out of sorts. But I miss my internet “family” too much to remain silent any longer. I retreated for a time. Now I have returned. Besides, I have so much more to tell you about Uganda. With that being said, let the stories recommence.

After returning from Moroto, I had the opportunity to spend the week observing the staff of the health center 4 in Nabilatuk. It is a hospital that serves a fairly large region in Karamoja. The hospital has a fairly small staff of government employees. Most of the health centers are run by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Because the health centers are run by the government, the staff is assigned to each facility by the government in a military like fashion. The health center 4 in Nabilatuk is staffed by several nurses, a health officer (like a physician assistant), a theatre officer (like a scrub tech) midwives, an anesthesia officer (like a nurse anesthetist), lab officers, and a physician.

The week I spent at the health center 4, the physician seemed to be on strike? I t was never confirmed or denied. It was the impression I got from the staff.

The hospital was fairly busy with about 50 inpatients. The number one disease to deal with in Nabilatuk and much of Uganda is malaria. The strain is different from the Carribean strain. It is actually more deadly. People get it frequently. At least 90% of the inpatients were sick with malaria. When the rainy season arrives, the number of patients rises significantly.

The hospital serves as a great place to hear the news. There are no newspapers to speak of in the Karamoja region so news is by word of mouth. While I was at the hospital, I learned about the gunshot that occurred over the previous weekend. It seems a man from another tribe came to spy out the land for cows. He got caught. The people showed no mercy as they shot and killed him. Then they phoned his people and told them to stay away from Nabilatuk or they would suffer the same fate.

The first day at the hospital, I had the opportunity to help Domos (pictured above) do an irrigation and debridement of a hand infection. We also changed the dressing on a girl who was shot with an arrow. Her brother was angry at their mother and was trying to shoot her when she stepped in front of her mother to save her. Domos poured honey into the wound because it has many healing properties.

It is always fascinating to see the way hospitals run in other countries. This hospital was very basic, basic supplies, basic staff, basic lab tests, basic medications. In a place like this, you really get to see God as the great Physician He is. Amazing.

His… Michelle