Coming Home.

Just made it to Amsterdam. Missing these sweet faces already. How does three months go by so quickly??

Alice in her Pinelake shirt!
Mama Jane's Cottage (Bottom to Top. L to R) Mary, Lillian, Nakki, Prossy, Sumaya, Mercy, Jane, Mama Jane, Sandra, Alice, and Cathy
Auntie Edith
Gideon
P1 PE Class

–Hallie

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2011. Here’s looking back.

This picture has nothing to do with the following post. But isn't it funny? Prossy. P1.

2011 has been and continues to be a crazy year for me.
This was not the year I had expected at all.

Actually, if, a year ago, you would have told me anything about my life (sans my family being generally wonderful. they’re kind of a constant.) right now, I would have laughed at you.
Literally. I would have told you that you were crazy. And that the only tribal issues I’d be around were at my university.* And that my parents would never in a million years let me take a semester off of college. And that even if they did, why would I want to? I had a plan for my life and that didn’t fit in it. And that JT was just a nice guy, and if Africa was the plan, how did he fit, anyway?.. And that.. and that… and that…
Last year around this time, I was packing for a trip to Italy with the family and dreaming of what could be in the future. I heard God whispering faint notions of change, but I was putting it off as long as possible.
Last year around this time, I was scared. I knew God had different plans than I had up until that time, but I wanted to say no. Because my plans sounded so much more stable, even if things weren’t working out exactly how I had wanted them to.
For the past 19 years, my life has had a kind of routine. Like anyone elses. School, summer, friends, family. It’s been pretty consistent, even though it didn’t always emotionally feel that way. (Again, I’m a little dramatic at times.) But this year has turned all of those years of consistency on their heads.
This year was the most inconsistent time. The first time I’ve been open to whatever God brought. And God did not bring normality.
God brought an intimacy in relationship with my Creator that I’ve known in the back of my mind was missing but wasn’t willing or didn’t have the know-how to get to. He’s drawn me closer to Himself and closer to so many that love Him like I want to. He has done immeasurably more than anything I could have ever planned while sitting in Gunter 106 crying to Kristen about what in the world was going on.
When 2011 started, I had a fresh start in many ways. The opportunities for God to work were endless, and the work He has done has been incredible. Now, going home at the end of this week, I feel like it’s another new beginning.
2012, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. I’m not so scared as I was last year. Because I know with a tested confidence now that my God is a good God. That He works for good, even if it brings pain in the meantime. I’m not afraid of whatever He’ll bring. Even if it’s not what I want. Because I know He’ll work through it to draw me closer to Him and His will. It’s still a month from 2012, and I think this next month will be a lot of reflection. A lot of rest. And a lot of preparation and readjustment. I’m praying that as I travel back to the states later this week, that culture shock isn’t too overwhelming, and my eyes are set on Him in all things this next year.
The past semester has been incredible, and I’ll forever love Africa, Uganda, and Rafiki, but I admit I am excited to to hug my family and friends, wear jeans, and sleep on a real mattress Saturday!
–Hallie

*tribe=MC’s Baptist version of a sorority

Writing my story… (and a plea for Tato-Nut.)

Did you know that knowing people read the words you throw out to cyber-space sometimes makes throwing out those words willy-nilly a little harder?
That recieving compliments on your thoughts makes those thoughts a little harder to share?
Yeah, me neither. But it’s where I’ve been lately. I’ve always loved to write, but knowing that your writing has the potential to be critiqued, and critiqued negatively (although, thankfully, it hasn’t once been!) makes my brain-to-finger capabilities shrink to nothing quickly.
Or even worse than being critiqued, I fear being held to a higher esteem than I deserve.
Because, for one thing, I’m simply not that good of a person.
The work that the Lord is doing in my life is just that, the work of the Lord, and I want to make sure that I get that across in every word that I write on this little piece of web that I’m learning to love and use (and maybe continue after Africa? we’ll see.).
That He is the one writing this story.
That His is the glory that I’m incredibly fortunate just to stand in the edges of.
Because I want to remember, that just like the moon, I have no light of my own.
And I am able to shine brightly only because of the wonderful light of His Son.
I want to have the most positive influence possible, but mostly I want people to know it’s not about me, even when I act like it is, because I’m human, and just that is enough to be synonymous with self-serving.
I’ve been struggling with different things lately, but mainly the thought of not being enough.
Of wanting to do more. But wanting to do more for the sake of doing more.
You see, when I started this whole journey, I was kind of convinced that God was going to open some HUGE door, and, I was going to somehow not be returning to the States, or instead returning to the States with some goal, a major fund or awareness-raising purpose of some kind. Something like kids in horrible conditions that I knew I couldn’t leave, like Leah and Andrea and Musana Children’s Home. Or 13 daughters like Katie Davis (the post on Amazima is still coming. i promise. [if you care at all. :]].
Even before coming to Uganda, that was the goal.
And I knew it was possible.
Because I had read the stories of God working in other people.
I had stalked the blogs of people that God had done incredible things through in crazy African and Asian countries.
I had done the research, and I had the faith.
Actually, I still have the faith. But it’s slowing turning into a different kind of faith.
Because at the end of this week, I’ll find myself sleeping in my bed in my parents house in Ocean Springs, and in January, I’ll return to college, and my friends, and my church, and my tribe.
Soon, my life outwardly will be back to “normal”. But never the same.
Because God has different plans for my life than I had dreamed of, even if I do end up back in Uganda one day (that’s one dream I haven’t given up. sorry family and jt.).
God’s plans don’t fit in the little box of my dreams.
His plans aren’t one-size-fits-most but instead tailored for who HE created me to be.
And that might not be 20 years old, running a ministry, and living in a foreign third-world country.
The things I prayed for because I thought it was the biggest and best thing possible.
And it was. It is. For someone.
But the story He is writing for my life is personal.
It’s mine. And I’m learning to give it completely to Him.
Instead of pointing my sail in a direction and being disappointed when I don’t end up exactly where I wanted to be, I’m learning to look around, and to see what I do have.
Which is a fantastic family that loves me more than I deserve, wonderful friends that I couldn’t have done the past year without, the best boyfriend I could imagine, a love of people, a heart for Jesus, and a capability to accomplish the dreams He puts on my heart.
To let Him have control of not only the sails but the rudder too.
To give Him complete control, because He has it no matter if I give it to Him or not.
Because I know that His plan is best in the end.
And I know because I look back at my life, and at every decision that seemed impossibly hard and heartbreaking, but completely right, in the moment, has gotten me to the exact place that I am, the exact place that I am finally able to say, “God, you have control,” and mean it because I know that He truly does want the best for me, even if the best comes through hard times and not getting what I want.
Even if what I wanted seemed like it would be the best way for me to possibly glorify God.
And I’m learning to wait and be patient.
Because I do feel like God has given me a desire in my heart to start or do something incredible for Him. And I trust that if that is the desire of my heart, and my heart is seeking Him, it will happen.
But right now, I’m learning to wait and trust and grow in relationship first.
To seek and yearn for the Savior of the world.
To desire Him deeply first and foremost, and seek after what’s next.
To trust that He has a perfect plan, and that it will be revealed in due time.
To know that going home isn’t failure, but instead a gift.
That God has blessed me with allowing me to be with the ones I love the most instead of blessing me with a mission 8,000 miles away.

–Hallie

On a lighter note.. (and just in case I needed to prove that claim of being self-serving. :])
How much would it cost to get the Mohlers to make just one plain glazed Tato-Nut donut on a Sunday? Waiting until Tuesday seems a little cruel for this girl whose been craving that sugary goodness since she left Ocean Springs three months ago.