Ebola- The most recent outbreak in Western Africa was literally thousands of miles away from where we are.
Terrorism- Uganda has periodic threats, just like the U.S., but in our 2 years there we have not had any terrorist attacks in the country. Additionally no one is particularly interested in targeting a small village in the middle of the sugarcane fields. We feel very safe at GSF.
Snakes- In our 2 years in Uganda, we have only encountered a handful of snakes. Only one of them was known to be venemous, so we just kept our distance. During our second week here in the U.S. Esther accidentally stepped on the tail of a copperhead and it picked up its head and prepared to strike. She moved away quickly, and did not get bitten. So I am not any more concerned about snakes there than I am here.
Malaria- Our family has escaped our first 2 years in Uganda without any confirmed cases of malaria. Those on our team who do get malaria, get immediate treatment and have all recovered in a matter of days.
Wild animals- We do not live near any areas with lions or crocodiles or hippos. There have been rumors of a leopard taking some pigs nearby, but no one has confirmed that suspicion. There have also been rumors of a two headed leopard in the past. I'll let you know if we ever see that one!
Crime- The only problem we have had with crime is theft. It was never violent or threatening, we just found that things were missing. It is still discouraging, but it does not make us feel unsafe.
Now that I have answered your actual question, humor me and read my answer to other questions. Do political stability, protection from terrorism, and the absence of diseases and dangerous animals mean that we are safe? No.
In the safe U.S., one of the most secure buildings, the Pentagon, was attacked and many people were killed in 2001. Every day people who thought they were healthy are diagnosed with cancer. There are unexpected car crashes. Things happen. Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit, life is not safe.
As I have been reading Emily Freeman's book, Grace for the Good Girl, I have been encouraged by some of her concluding thoughts about God and safety. Here is a quote that struck me.
"He never promises that our families will be safe. Not in the way we think. He does promise his presence, though. And if you don't know him, you may think that is a bad trade-off. There are times when that is how it feels."
As I thought about God promising his presence rather than what we think of as safety, it reminded me of my children. In the transition between worlds, our kids are often in new situations, meeting people they haven't seen in years, and in unfamiliar settings. They are definitely out of their comfort zone and they might not feel safe. So what do they do? They cling to their parents, where they know they are loved. They feel safe in our arms. I give and receive lots of extra hugs, cuddles and requests to be held. In the midst of unsettling circumstances they know where to look for security.
God tells me that even as an adult child of his, I am to do the same. I can run to my Abba, Father for comfort and security in the midst of the trials of this life. (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) I can call to him, "Daddy, I'm afraid. Will you come sit with me and tell me a story?"
Just like my kids call for their daddy to read to them every night. And my Daddy tells me a beautiful story of a Hero coming to rescue his lost love. A story of a Good Shepherd, sacrificing his own life to find, rescue and protect his sheep. A story of a Father running out to welcome his lost son home. And I am comforted by his love. All of a sudden the dangers of life and "what ifs" don't seem so scary. Because I know I am loved, and the God of the Universe has me safe in His arms!