I remember growing up in FBC Duncan and seeing missionaries come to give us updates on their work in foreign countries. They would tell us about the remote villages that they were serving in and all of the brushes with death that they had lived through (while clicking through 6 trays of slides). I would think, “man, I am glad that I live in the USA”! They would tell us how they needed more mission minded people to come help them. They would tell us of their need while wearing native garb and speaking in some undecipherable language. To console us for going 30 minutes longer than our usual service time, the missionaries would jokingly talk about the 4 hour church services services in “their country”. I am not sure if they thought this made being a missionary seem more glamorous, but I was convinced that I would never be “one of those”.
As I got older, got married and continued in my education, I found myself concerned that if I got too close to God, He would send me to be a missionary in the African bush! I would never let my relationship with Him grow, but rather kept Christ at arm’s length. Each time I would let my guard down and I would be honest with God, I felt that He would tell me that He did not want to send me to the African bush, but rather, he wanted me to do more where I was. Boy that was a relief! I sure did not want to go to Africa and be a missionary.
My growth and maturation as a Christian, has been much slower than it should have been! Usually due to my own preoccupation with things that are not eternally important. As my Walk with Christ deepened, I began to feel as though God wanted more from me than what had grown to be my normal. In the Summer of 2010, Jill and I read a book called Radical, by David Platt. In this book, David Platt challenged me about how soft we have become as Christians in America. He challenged his readers to spend one week per year out of their normal context (among a few other things). After talking with some friends who had been before, Jill and I felt like God was calling us to spend our “one week” in Africa. Our friends had been to Uganda and spoke of the people and the country that they had grown to love. I knew that an “OLD” friend of mine from Duncan, Jerome Loughridge, had been on multiple mission trips in the past, so I called him in October of 2010 for advice. He too had been to Uganda and recommended it highly. In fact, he was a part of a men’s group from Henderson Hills church in Edmond that was going to Uganda in January of 2011. He invited me to go and my work schedule “miraculously” opened up to go with this group of guys to scope it out for our family. I knew from my first day in Uganda, that God had more plans for me there. When I returned to the US, I asked Jill to start praying about our family possibly going to Uganda for a longer period of time. Things worked out for our whole family to go to Uganda for 2 weeks in July of 2011. Jill and the kids too fell in love with Uganda and its people. Isn’t it strange, as it turns out, God really did want me to be a missionary in Africa. As I grew closer to him, it became something that I wanted to do, not something that He was forcing me to do.
Many, many things have happened to afford us the opportunity to go to Uganda for 6 months starting in February of 2012. We will try to fill you in on all of the things that have continued to point us to Uganda over the coming days. These things have God’s fingerprints all over them. One of these “God” things that Jill and I are most thankful for is the positive attitudes of Jake, Jared and Jayne as they have been eager and willing to go. This willingness at a time in their lives when they could easily be more occupied with friends, cars and themselves.