Honestly, each step was a very hard emotional and spiritual struggle. We were confident in the fact that this is what God was calling our family to do, but it was very hard for me to leave our "home." Our home in Georgia is where we had lived for 11 years. We loved having family and friends over for meals, backyard cookouts and play dates. Our home was not large by American standards, but it was perfect for our family!
As we were preparing to move to Uganda we knew we would need a place to live until our house could be built on campus. We had some people looking for a place for us, and nothing seemed to be available that would work for our family. Then we heard of a house that would be available here in Jinja during another missionary family's furlough. The best thing about this situation was that it was furnished and ready for us to move in. We were glad to know that we would have a house for our family for our first 4 months here. Then we found out that a missionary family at GSF would be going on furlough and that we could use their home for the next 6 months. It was originally our hope that our home might be built soon after that.
This week we realized that it will probably be at least another year after that until our home is built. There are several reason for the delay, and we don't know for sure that it will take that long, but I have been struggling a bit thinking of all the transitions in the years ahead. After living in the same home for nearly 12 years, we have moved to a missionary guest house in Georgia for a few weeks, then 3 days on campus in one house at GSF here in Uganda, then 4 months in Jinja. Next we will be moving for 2 weeks to another house on campus at GSF, then 6 months in our third house on campus at GSF, then God only knows where to next. Honestly I have been a bit discouraged and feeling sorry for myself about this feeling of being "homeless." But as soon as that word came to mind, I realized that I needed a change in perspective/attitude.
The first thing I realized is that even though we have not been able to stay in one home, God has always provided us with a place to live, which is much more than we need. Here is a picture of the amazing house we have had the privilege of living in for the last 3 months.
I have never lived in such a big, fancy house. It has been a blessing to have this nice house to use for several months. And there are definitely some benefits to living in town. We have learned a lot about Jinja since we are here every day. And we have made good friends with other missionaries here.
But more importantly than just seeing the blessings of our temporal home, we have an eternal Home! Since I have been struggling with this, I decided that it would be good for me to read about my heavenly Home. It was a very encouraging time for me, so I thought I would share some of these verses. In John 14 Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:1-6 NIV)
Since I think of home as a place of rest and comfort, I also read this passage. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28, 29 NIV) The comfort of our eternal home is not just that it will be comfortable, but that our God will dwell with us! Here is a description of my true home and I will fix my eyes upon this.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life." (Revelation 21:3-6 NIV)
It is my desire that each time I long for home, whether thinking of our home in Georgia or a home to be settled in here in Uganda, that instead I would fix my eyes on Jesus and my eternal home, that I "will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1&2) Whether we are in America or Uganda or somewhere else, we are "foreigners and strangers" on this earth. Because our true Home is with our Father in Heaven! And that Home is forever!