We took our very first trip to Uganda only three and half weeks before our wedding. A friend of ours had worked in Karamoja with an aid organization for a couple years and while he was living there, he learned of an orphanage that could really use some support. So when he came home in 2007, he told the RiverChurches house church network in western Colorado about the need and they began to pray for an opportunity to send a team over for a visit. That opportunity came in June 2009 right before we were supposed to get married, and Andrew and I both jumped at it. We went with four other people for two weeks to visit the orphanage and see firsthand this Karamoja of which we had heard. During that trip, God not only forged a partnership between the house church network and Shalom Reconciliation Ministry (the orphanage) but He also cast His vision for the region as a whole:
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” Isaiah 44:3-5
Like the spies scouting out the Promised Land, we came back with stories of the “giants” and promises in scripture of the future “milk and honey”. Little did we understand at the time that God had showed us these things because He meant for us to be a part of them.
Throughout the rest of 2009, we supported the orphanage from Colorado and prayed about what God had for us in Karamoja. Now, my brother-in-law had gone on the scouting trip with us, so he and my sister were praying about Karamoja at the same time as us. By December, they felt sure that God was calling them to move to Karamoja as missionaries and we felt God calling us to support them and the orphanage for 6-12 months. We moved to Kotido, Karamoja in June 2010 and lived there for 9 months before returning to Colorado.
Over the course of 2011, we sought the Lord and waited for His guidance while living in Boulder, Colorado. All along our prayer has been for God to give us His heart for the Karimojong people if He really wants us to return there. And guess what? God is faithful folks! We feel confident that He is calling us back to Karamoja because we can feel the desire He has birthed in us to see these people come to know their Father! God has really used our time back in the states to heal and grow us and to prepare and equip us to go back and we couldn’t be more grateful for our Father’s perfect timing. Karamoja here we come!