“There are no coincidences in life.” This quote by international motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic, has been heavy on my mind since I read it a few days ago leaving Village of Hope Uganda. Life’s intricate web, woven by the billions of people on this planet, leaves me somewhat perplexed. Is it just by chance or God-ordained that we meet certain people, turn left instead of right or have life altering experiences? This philosophical life mantra that Nick speaks of is challenging to grasp as I reflect on my trip to Uganda with eXile International.
I did not have the intentions of going on a mission trip to Uganda. It just happened that way. I was sitting on my couch watching TV when a friend called me and said that she needed a date to an event. Reluctantly, I agreed to go.I did not know what the event was for or who I would potentially meet. Little did I know that my acceptance of this invitation would completely rock my world and would put me on African soil only two weeks later.
Our initial team of five, for the most part, came from completely separate life stories. Our paths and personalities all converged and fit together like missing pieces of a puzzle. Each person offered a completely unique skill set that complimented our mission and the dynamics of our team. Our team grew by two as we met a mother and daughter in our hotel in Gulu. They happened to be working at Village of Hope, as well, and asked if they could join us. What a blessing it was to have them along for the ride. The mother, Karen, was a specialist at EMDR, which is a form of therapy. Of all the places in the world and of all the people it could be, we were lucky enough to receive a therapy specialist that would strengthen our program at Village of Hope!
Over the past 8 months, I have lost a lot of the passion I used to vibrantly show.My heart has been absent from the majority of my decisions. The past two weeks in northern Uganda have completely humbled me. I needed a fresh start or something to act as a catalyst for rebirth. I desperately needed to get rid of the old me and start new again. I guess rebuilding doesn’t come without some demolition, and it literally brought me to my knees. On our last night, I went to the prayer garden that we constructed for the kids and got on my knees to pray. I was silent as I recaptured moments from the past week: The intense joy that was found on the faces of the children at church. The laughter around a displacement camp as kids chased a soccer ball made of trash. The pain and sorrow in the children’s drawings of their past. The enthusiasm spoken by the kids as they discussed their hopes and dreams. A hug from a baby that shouted unconditional acceptance. The power of singing and dancing and the rhythm of drums. I was completely broken while simultaneously being built back up.
Every moment of my life led me here today. The slightest change could have placed me somewhere else. The same goes for our team members and anyone else reading this blog. “There are no coincidences in life.” Regardless of if you find this quote to be a definitive truth, I think the lesson we can take home is finding purpose, value and application to whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. God’s plan for us is much bigger that I can even imagine. I pray that I can continue to keep my heart open, allow myself to be humbled and let Him use me for a greater purpose. There was a reason why I got off the couch and went to the Red Party where I met Bethany. There was a reason why I went to Africa. There was a reason why I was brought to my knees. I believe these revelations are only the beginning! Lord, my heart is open. Show me. Use me up.