This is my first blog post in the UGANDA SERIES: my experiences/adventures/overall takeaway of traveling to Gulu, Uganda on a mission trip to Abaana’s Hope. If you want to stay updated on the rest of this series, subscribe to my blog by clicking here
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m not the person to normally take risks. I’m a person that loves feeling comfortable. I like having a sense of security, relying on things that I know will keep me safe n’ cozy. You’ll know me as NOT the type of person that would drop everything to travel over 8,000 miles to a third world country with 7 strangers that I have never met before. Well, that’s exactly what I did.
I got to the point in my life that I was tired of feeling comfortable. I felt like I wasn’t growing, and I felt like my relationship with God was at a standstill. If you want to hear about how I got to Uganda and why I decided to go there, read my blog post about it here
Long story short, I got on a plane by myself to travel halfway across the world with a group of people that I had never met before. And I cannot begin to tell you how much this changed my life.
The most important take-away from this is that I learned to have blind trust in Christ. That He would provide for me, He would keep me safe, and that He was in control of everything that was happening. And in turn, I met some of the most amazing, genuine people. Not only did I make long-term friendships out of this trip, but I got the chance to sit down and talk to strangers and hear their life stories.
For all of my life, I’ve been taught to not really interact with strangers. If you say hi to them, that’s cool, but don’t go out of your way to get to know them. Traveling halfway across the world by yourself gives you no other choice but to talk to strangers. No, I wasn’t about to get in this stranger’s white van if he offered me candy, but I was able to hear the stories of everyone I got the pleasure to travel with. What I learned was that God was so intentional in placing strangers in my life on this trip.
When you are traveling for over forty hours, on two ten-hour flights, back to back, sitting in a small cramped airplane with a random stranger right beside you, it kind of forces you to make conversation. Without stepping out of my comfort zone, I would have never heard the incredible stories that belonged to the ordinary faces sitting beside me. I would’ve never learned about a young Ugandan woman’s journey as she backpacked Europe by herself because she had always dreamed of seeing the world. Or the young German man who had been on an internship in South America to study geology, or about the anxious mother’s tales of just dropping off her own daughter on a 9-month mission trip in Guatemala. I met an African American woman who was a writer, a professional mountain biker from Calgary, and so many other beautiful people with beautiful stories. I learned that if you take the time to listen, you not only learn so much about the faces around you, but you learn about yourself, too. These people that I would have never dreamed of reaching out and starting a conversation with taught me so much about the world and reminded me that every person has a story.
I took a risk. I did something that terrified me, something that I never imagined myself doing. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and relied on God to lead me to where I was supposed to go. As a result, I learned more about myself and about the world than I could’ve ever imagined.
While I was on this trip, I had so many people tell me that I was so brave for going and doing this on my own, for trusting God with my life. I didn’t really see it as a brave or courageous thing to do, but I was truly humbled and so beyond proud of myself for accomplishing something that I never thought I’d do. I’ve always relied on other people, I’ve never felt comfortable doing things on my own. Pushing myself to be uncomfortable taught me so much about myself and honestly helped me grow so much in my walk with God.
What I’m trying to tell you is this. DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE. TAKE RISKS, & STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
If you have a dream, but don’t know how you’re going to get there, I’m here to tell you to DO IT. If it is part of God’s plan, everything will fall into place. Don’t live a life where you are always comfortable… if you are always comfortable then there will never be any reason to grow. If you live scared of the future, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Force yourself out of the places that make you comfortable. Fear will only hold you back from your potential. If you want to do something, do it.
I would have never gone to Uganda if I hadn’t pushed myself away from the box I made of the things that are “possible.” I would have never accomplished my dream of going to Africa if I hadn’t taken the risk. I’m trying to tell you that there is nothing stopping you from following your dreams.