looking toward home.

One week from today, I'll be returning home. My time here seems very short. In some ways, I'm ready to go home. I feel like I've done the work I was asked to do here, and that it is time for God to move me on to a new place, with new lessons and new challenges and new ways that he will meet me. And yet, it will be so hard to leave the people that I love here, including these:

I'll be honest - I have no idea what life will look like when I get home. I know for a little while I will live in my sister's basement. I know that I will need to find a job. I know that I will need to find a place to live that is a bit more permanent. For now, though, I'm just looking forward to doing everyday life with my family, and working on being content exactly where he has me.

living at hope house - the raw stuff.

Because of the kids' school schedule and some difficulties with transportation, I've spent the last few weekends at Hope House, staying there overnight. I've had fun, and have enjoyed my time with the kids, but there have also been challenges, and truthfully, some convictions that were hard to swallow. I'm still working through them, but until I can wrap them all up into a neat little post, I thought I'd share some snippets from the journaling I did while I was there. Just please understand - this is raw, and though I'm not sharing everything I journaled, otherwise unedited.


It's difficult to figure out how to navigate here, how I go to the bathroom and how I take a shower and handle trash and eat. But it's more than that.

It's feeling confronted by just how much I like my own comfort. I thought (arrogantly) that I was past that. I thought that coming here (to Africa), giving up the things I did, meant I wasn't so concerned with nice things. But there are still so many things I take for granted - a pillow, toilet paper, a trash can in the bathroom, a shower, clean water.

And yet, it's still more than that. I didn't realize how much I relied on being able to go home and forget. I want so much to go back to the Envision house where there is plenty of food that isn't rice. I want to be able to forget that fruit is such a luxury that they're so excited to get it, and that it's hit or miss when they might get breakfast. That they wash their sheets by hand every week, and their clothes every few days, because they don't have that many. That not everyone goes to church because they don't have enough money to pay for two taxibuses.


There are people who work in this space, day in and day out, for years on end. How do they do it? What do they do to keep from being overwhelmed? Because there are no easy answers and the need just keeps on coming, and I'm afraid that I'll go back home and treat myself to Starbucks and ignore it all, because I don't know what else to do.


So my big prayer for this weekend has not been for anything I expected - for patience, or long-suffering, or good sleep. Instead I pray for strength and courage - to stay and engage, with my eyes wide open, to learn what God has for me here. To choose to see it, and then to choose to remember.

made for more.

I keep going back to this song:

You're beautiful, you're beautiful
You were made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, you're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his

And this is the question - made for more than what?

For more than a life trapped in poverty?
For more than a life trapped in sin? In judgement and guilt and insecurity?
For more than my own ignorance?

Maybe that's what I need to be rescued from more than anything else:

From the selfishness and ingratitude that has me taking too many things for granted.
From the pride that has me thinking I've got this figured out
From the arrogance that makes me judge too many others for not doing their part
From the fear, that would keep me closing my eyes so I don't have to face truth. Because once you know, you have to do something.

spending the night at hope house.

The last two weekends, I've spent the night at Hope House - partly for practical reasons (working with transportation difficulties and the kids' school schedules) and party just to experience more of what life like there is like.

And honestly, though it's been fun, it's also been full of a lot of hard lessons. Maybe after I've been able to process them a bit more, I'll be able to share more here.

But for now, my friend Alace has a great write-up of this last weekend. She, Leanne, and Hannah joined me so that we could give Pastor Israel and Mama Nathalie a night off.

fighting injustice.

Since I read this on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it:

"We get to put more than just a toe in the water fighting injustice; God dares us to grab our knees and do a cannonball."

What does this look like, in real life? What does it mean to jump all in to the fight, to make that kind of splash?

when they have to make a choice.

Many of the children who live at Hope House are siblings. And some of them have other brothers and sisters, who still live with their parents.

At first, I couldn't understand this. How does a mother choose to send two of her children to live somewhere else? How does she pick who leaves and who stays? And how in the world do the two who leave, how do they ever handle this?

But really, what bothers me just as much is that a parent would have to make that decision at all. Because the reality is that here, sometimes a mother has to choose, because she simply can't afford to feed them all.