How much?

How much is enough? or really, how little is enough? Would I be a better Christian if I gave everything away and lived in a mud hut? Would not having the conveniences of American/western life really make me grasp the hand of God more tightly everyday? Would living with less alone make my heart mold to be more like the one who died on that cross 2000 years ago?

I’m not going to lie. I am not living in squalor here. My house has two bedrooms, one bathroom with a bathtub, a washer and dryer, a well functioning kitchen, and a living room/dining room, running water I can drink, and electricity and internet that work for most of the day usually. At moments, I actually feel a little cheated by God. I mean, I came to Africa. AFRICA. I’m supposed to rough it. I am supposed to live in a hut and pee in a hole. That’s what good Christians do when they are “real missionaries”, right? I’m supposed to have horror stories, and while there is great poverty here around me, I’m not out there in the slums. I’m in a pretty plush (by African standards) environment. On this blog, you will probably never see a picture of me praying next to a man in rags lying under a thatched roof. I might not meet people who have holes as big as my head in their ears and lips. I will probably not speak to one person through a translator, and in all honesty, I don’t know that anyone will come to Jesus because of my evangelism. So what does that mean? Am I really giving up enough? Am I really doing enough?

I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t enough. There’s living with what God provides daily and following His leading and trusting in times where it doesn’t seem like there will be enough. And I’m not just talking about “enough” monetarily or in possessions. It’s in the times that you’ve got a deadline on an impossible decision, and it just doesn’t seem possible that He could work within that time, and then looking back six months later when that impossible decision seems like little more than a bump in the road because He did. It’s in the moments where your heart is breaking and life is at the tipping point and you just don’t think there’s more you can handle and it starts to rain.

It’s at those moments that I’m learning to cling to Him. To know that there isn’t enough I can do or give up, but instead there is a God that will use me exactly how He wants me to be used if I just hold on in those times. To have comfort in the fact that I’m–and you too–in the exact place that He designed me to be even when I see someone else doing so much more, and wonder how much the impact is that I’m making. God doesn’t give us as much as our best friend or neighbor or saintly older woman can handle. He prepares us for our own life. The one that He has perfectly designed for each and every one of us individually, the great adventure He wants us to lead if we just say “yes” to His small whisperings everyday.

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The first week and a little more.

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I already have a thousand stories that I want to share. I’ve felt every emotion possible in the past week and taken in enough information and visual images to last a lifetime. Africa is everything that I expected it to be while at the same time being nothing I expected it to be.

Me with Mike and Carolyn

The Rafiki Village is run by two couples who are fulltime missionaries or ROS (Rafiki Overseas Staff) here in Uganda. Carolyn and Mike Enis are lovingly referred to as Mommy and Daddy by the children. They have been at Rafiki Uganda since its beginning ten years ago. Mike, the Village Director, takes care of all things legal and necessary to keep the Village running logistically, and Carolyn, the Childcare Director, is in charge of the mothers, the meals, and the resident children (and the mini-missionaries, [me!] but I’m sure we’re never any hassle. ;]). Cecilia and Stan Gryde have been here a little over a year. Cecilia, the education director, is basically the principal and support staff of the Pre-K to Senior High School. Stan, the Plant Manager, is in charge of making sure all of the buildings, facilities, and grounds are maintained. Those are very specific job descriptions of missionaries who, as a group, do anything and everything it takes to keep this place running smoothly. It is an extremely well run operation, and I often wonder the ROS have time to sleep.

My birthday was last Monday. Thank you so much to everyone who did so many things to make it wonderful even from 8000 miles away. The emails, Facebook comments and messages, gifts and surprises sent in advance, and prayers for that day were overwhelming and so exciting and fun on my favorite day of the year. We arrived at Rafiki on Friday, and they had a birthday celebration for all the children with birthdays in the month of September on Saturday. Everyone gets cake, which is a special treat as dessert is rare. Each child who has a birthday gets a birthday crown that is made by the other children and the mother of their cottage. They also recieve a birthday present in the form of a book. When we walked in all of the boys of the residence hall were dressed alike and giggling. Carolyn had told us to bring our camera so I had a feeling something was up but wasn’t sure what. They had me sit down and the boys brought me a birthday crown they had made and the children sang happy birthday to me.

For all you MC people, I think it’s kind of like being a sweetheart, except for 102 precious african children. The boys were so concerned that my birthday crown would not fit right, and, because of my big head (thanks dad) I worked to move gracefully so it wouldn’t fall off. I don’t know how these African women do it. I can barely keep a hat on my head and they carry huge packages with ease! This birthday is certainly I won’t forget for a long time, and it was so special to spend it with some of the most beautiful children in the world.

We’ve been here a little over a week, and my mom leaves Thursday. I’m going to miss having her here. A lot. Being alone (well not really alone, but without the comfort of home) in Africa isn’t something you can really prepare yourself for I guess. But this adventure is only three months. It won’t be so long before Christmas time and I come home and get right back to American life. I’m trying to take in every second for what God has made it to be here, and listen for His voice when it comes to the future.

Prayer requests: For the last couple days with my mom here, and for joy and perseverance for the upcoming weeks ahead. For me to cling to God above all else in times of loneliness and the moments of “what am I even doing here??”. For God to be glorified through my time here. For continued peace for my parents, as I wouldn’t be able to have this experience if they hadn’t have had that assurance from God. For safe travel  home for my mom on Thursday and Friday. And for all of my friends and family at home. That each of you remains safe and healthy, and to see God working when safety and health seems far away.

I apologize in advance for any inconsistency on my part when it comes to communicating with everyone at home. Internet is inconsistent at best, and I’m trying to stay away from the computer for most of the day and off Facebook except on the weekends, just so I can make sure I am fully here and not wishing I was on the beach in Ocean Springs, at Rush events at MC, or anywhere in between. I promise to write more soon as there is so much that this post didn’t include. I’m sure I left out a million things and if you have any questions feel free to comment or email me! I might not be super prompt in my reply but I will get back to you!

Love,
Hallie

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

This journey started months ago through another blog and another girl. Sitting on a futon in my dorm room at Mississippi College, I read her story, and tears came. In a time I questioned God’s plan for my life as all the glorious plans I had lay broken around me, I heard His voice through Katie Davis’s story. Far away in a land almost unrelatable at the time, He used her story to show me that He isn’t a god who only calls the educated, strong, and ready. He is my God, and His plans for my near future included Uganda. I sat in a Bible study just months before and proclaimed that God’s plans for me weren’t outside of the U.S, ever. That I was proud of people who He did call, but that was for someone else.

Fast forward six months to now and I’m sitting in the Guest House of the Rafiki Training Village outside of the capitol of Uganda. I’ve just gotten back from my first Ugandan church service, and although I’ve been preparing for it for months and months, it’s just starting to hit me that I’m really here. That I have followed through with what God has called me to. That I’m in Africa.

Rafiki is not what you think of when you think of orphans in Africa. There are no starving kids here. These children are thriving. Children that were once orphans, but now have a home and a mother and knowledge of Jesus, their Savior. Rafiki’s goal is not to feed thousands, but to take in and educate and raise up 100 or 102 or however many God provides to improve the future of Africa. They are beautiful. They are still children. They love to play and laugh and love. As I sit in the Guest House, I hear the older boys playing outside. It’s such a cool thing to see children with crazy and unbelievable stories be filled with life and joy like these children are.

  

Prayer requests:
We’re still getting over jet lag. My mom jokes that she’ll be getting adjusted right as she flies back. Pray for us both to be well rested and have strength throughout the day. Pray for continued safety and for God’s hand to be continuously over us in our time here. The trip here were just about the easiest flights I’ve ever been on.. considering that it was almost a day and a half of travel.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported me in this adventure. I’m so excited to be able to share with each and every one of you.I already have more stories than I can type right now. I’ll share them soon on the blog. I would love to hear from you through email at darphin@mc.edu, or we can Skype! hallie.darphin.

Serving Him,
Hallie

We’re Here!!

We’re HERE! in Africa! Finally.

Travel was long but decently easy. Thank you to everyone who was praying for a safe travels. I can’t wait to write more soon. We stayed in a guest house/hotel last night and are going to the Village this morning. I can’t wait to see all of the children that we’ve been praying for and talking about for so long.

More to come soon.

In Him, Hallie