Two weeks from today I’ll be doing my final packing before one final night in my bed and getting on a plane (well, three planes and a bus) to head for Musana.
I alternate between feeling incredibly excited, and rather ho-hum. I mean, on the one hand, I’m going halfway around the world! I’m going to be away from the ever-present distractions of technology and my work! I’m going to eat the most delicious pineapple on the planet! I’m going to spend a week teaching Bible stories to children who are just plain thrilled that I am there! And even though I thought there was no way that another Musana team could come close to being as awesome as last year’s team, somehow God brought another incredible group of people together this year.
And yet I’m ho-hum because I’ve done it before. I’ve gone to Uganda, been free of the internet (except for spotty WiFi every day or so), I’ve eaten the pineapple, I’ve spent a week playing with kids, and I did it with a group of people so amazing we refer to each other as our “Musana family”.
I know what the long hours of travel will be like. I know what the adventurous driving will be like. I know about chicken-on-a-stick. I know how the children will greet us with giggles and hugs. I know how incredible it will feel to sing worship songs in the chaos of the Musana chapel. I know how the village women will dance and dance and dance. I know how the rains can come suddenly and torrentially.
Or, rather, I think I do.
The truth is that I don’t know. Because I’ve been there once before, there’s a tendency for my brain to switch to know-it-all mode. I have points of reference from last year. And many things will probably be the same. But not all of them. And if I go into this trip thinking that I know what it’s all about and everything that will happen, it will be even harder than last year.
Last year was hard because I didn’t know. Everything was new, and it was scary. I had never traveled so long or so far with a dozen people I didn’t know. Never been to Africa or experienced its rains and its people. I sat in the front of the bus on every ride, enraptured with everything I was seeing. I sat among piles of children feeling amazing joy, too overwhelmed and dumbfounded to know what to say. I pulled a notebook from my bag every five minutes jotting down things I didn’t want to forget. I fell into bed each night mentally and physically exhausted.
This year is hard and scary because I do know. And I might not readily feel wonder. I might not so easily feel joy. And thus I may not be as ready, willing, and able to experience God’s love and power in Uganda.
Like last year, I find myself turning over and over this year to the same verse in Galatians 3: “Now all glory to God who is able through his mighty power at work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Emphasis mine.)
Infinitely more than I can imagine. God can do more than last year. God can do more through me. God can do more through my team. God can do more through Musana. God can do more in Uganda. God can do more in me.
God, be present with us on this trip. Open our eyes to see your creation and your people as you see them.
And do more.