Pondering Poverty in Uganda

Our family moved to the beautiful country of Uganda just five weeks ago. Having lived in Indonesia for the last eight years, I anticipated a few bumps in the transition, but all in all I expected to shift to a new country, culture, life with relative ease. I have eight years under my belt, right? Wrong.

I forgot.

I forgot arriving in a new culture feels much like being two years old.  I forgot how everyone points and calls you “Westerner” in their own language {“mzungu” here} and how they giggle when you attempt to pronounce their names and words.

I forgot the face-flushed feeling of embarrassment and how it beckons you to give up all together.

I also forgot moving to a new home in the two-thirds world takes copious amounts of time to sort out.

And then I remembered. When there was no electricity for nearly a week and when they came to fix it they accidentally cut the water pipe which meant no water, and everything I touched seemed to break right in half, I remembered. I remembered all the feelings, all the emotions, all the hard things.

And it all overwhelmed me, a flood of emotions and circumstances. In the midst of that flood, a huge rainstorm hit our house and in came a literal flood. A gap under one of the doors, and in came a torrent of water down the hallway, into my bedroom, everywhere. I grabbed every towel in the house and tried to mop up the flow, but when I realized I could never keep up, I sat down in the midst of the flood and cried…and cried…and cried.

I could only think of me, my problems, my pain. Poor me. 

And in the midst of the flood, I did what I almost never do, I reached out for encouragement {or shall I say INcouragement?} and prayer. I was immediately flooded with support.  And one thing Lisa-Jo said gave me pause:

“I know you know this, but my dad would always remind me – it’s those moments, those worst bottom of the barrel moments when we can most relate to the people we’ve been sent to serve.”

Um. Oh yeah. How could I forget those I came to serve? I was so engrossed in my own problems, I hardly spent any time remembering others’.

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So I chose to remember. I remembered all I have been given. I remembered all I possess in Christ. I remembered the grace of God comes to me in uncomfortable circumstances, and His purpose is to conform me to Himself. I remembered nothing can separate me from His love. {Romans 8:35}

And I remembered something Ann said in this post: “What God’s graciously given you is always enough to be abundant grace for someone else.” 

I remembered those around me. Those who don’t have running water. Those who don’t have electricity. Those whose houses flood when it rains. I remembered God sent me here to be abundant grace for others.

That is why we need community. To remind each other when we forget.

I remembered my way out of the flood. But I may need you to remind me again. 

What in your life has caused you to forget? And how can we help you remember? Share your story in the comments.

{Photos by Mandie Joy and gimpbully.}
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  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Joy,
    Reading your post reminded me how small some of my problems are compared to the problems some people face around the globe. Fortunately, though, God doesn’t give out grace on a comparison scale. He mercifully gives grace to those who call upon His name.

    I need people to remind me when I forget that God has my prodigal and rebellious son in His hands. I need encouragement on days when it seems like all hope is lost that he will grow into a Christ-centered responsible adult. I need wisdom as to when to give grace or tough love. I need to remember, in the flood, that my son is ultimately God’s child…not mine. I need to remember that God is more than able.

    Thank you for the encouragement to not stay focused on my problems, but to look outward…and remember.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      I love your words, “God doesn’t give grace on a comparison scale.” Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. Praying now for your blessed son and for wisdom as you seek HIS face through tough times.
      Grace to you,
      Joy

    • Tammy

      Bev, can I just say “ditto!” This is so true for me as well. Lifting your son and mine up to our heavenly Father.

      • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

        Thanks Tammy…lifting your son up as well!!

  • Sarah S

    This spring I experienced some health issues that caused me to forget. We don’t know why for sure, but, we think I had encephalitis. A virus attacking my brain. There isn’t really any way to confirm this so we can’t be sure the symptoms won’t happen again. Just before my head cleared up and my body became covered in a rash, I realized I was forgetting who I was, what I liked, and where I came from. I piled pictures of my family and friends all around me. We eventually hung them up on the living room wall. For several days I just kept looking at them remembering the stories that went along with them. In all this…I have distinctly felt God whisper to my heart…simply… be still. Be still. Stop it all. Love stays home.

    Sometimes He calls us out…sometimes He calls us home. More often than not…He calls us to be still…know Him.

    Being still, caring for my husband, my home, and self… is what I am focusing on and what has brought me out of the flood of fear that came with my health issues.

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Oh Sarah,
      What a beautiful, yet tragic story. It is so beautiful to my soul that the Lord whispered that message to you, because that is the same message He is giving me, now, in this country of Uganda. Your story has confirmed what He has been telling me in my heart. Thank you for being open and honest. I truly love this community where we can be real and encourage each other to follow HIM.
      He calls us to be still…to know Him. Thank you, for blessing all of us with your story and your courage in the midst of pain. Most of all, thank you for reminding me.
      Love and grace to you,
      Joy

  • http://www.thehallahans.blogspot.com Kelly Hallahan

    Oh goodness. Yes. Thank you for your transparency! I’ll need you to remind me when I get back there- all I can think of right now are all the things I miss… not all the hassles! But He is good and enough- and we are so blessed. Love you, friend!

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Yes, sweet Kelly, we can remind each other!

  • http://www.crystalstine.me Crystal Stine

    This is the encouragement I need this morning to keep going, to push through those hard times when life floods in and you want to just sit and weep. Today I’ll choose not to see it as “why me” but “with them” and praise God for those moments that will connect me with sisters in new ways. Love this post so much, Joy -and sending you big {{hugs}}!

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      I love those two thoughts, “why me” turning into “with them”. I will praise God with you, friend. Thanks for reminding me and standing with me. :)

  • http://graceforthat.blogspot.com Karina

    For me, it’s when I feel I have things basically figured out, that God reminds me that I don’t, and that I still need Him. I’m thankful for His gentle rebukes, His never-ending love and never giving up on my forgetfulness. Thank you for your transparency.
    Blessings from MAF in Madagascar.

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Yes, exactly, Karina! I am constantly in that state of re-learning to rely on Him. I, too, am so thankful for the gentle rebukes, the never-ending love, and His never giving up. Waving at you from Uganda. Say hello to Arwin and Rihanna. :)

  • Sara V

    I forget, in the middle of a long night with a sleepless baby and in the following day with the 2 year old, that I’m here for these little ones. My mom helps me remember that I’m equipped and chosen especially for these tiny hearts. And today, my dear friend is helping me rest (taking the toddler for a few hours) so I have energy to do the rest of the day. Practical help . . . Such a gift in the flood!

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Yes, sleeplessness causes me to forget oh, so quickly! So glad that your sweet friend knew how to bless and encourage you. Yes, it is such a gift in the flood. :)

  • http://livinginstitches.wordpress.com Nicole M

    Chronic physical pain has often caused me to forget the beautiful truths you have remembered above. Thank you for this post, Joy!

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Yes, chronic pain is a doozy, isn’t it? Nothing can make you feel discouraged faster…. It is such a choice in those moments, to turn our eyes and CHOOSE to remember, isn’t it?!

  • Rakel Thurman

    Thank you Joy for sharing. We have been praying for you all as you are taken over the threshold of transition. It is so easy to drown but you haven’t. The community on this end keeps locking arms with you all.

    • http://joyforney.org Joy Forney

      Thanks Rakel,
      It’s because of community that I haven’t drowned. :) Thanks for lifting us up and encouraging us in prayer.

  • Tammy

    I need to make a print out of that saying by Lisa-Jo’s dad! That is a good thing to be reminded of when serving on the mission field. I too forgot that when I’m in the midst of power outages, no water, or the constant reminders that I’m a foreigner. We so need each other to encourage each other to good works, and to thinking biblically rather than according to our feelings of the moment. Thank you for your transparent post! -Tanzania, East Africa

  • Karen

    It seems that whenever I think I have it “worse”, God crosses my path with someone who REALLY does and that is a reminder that my perspective has drifted off course. It helps me to remember………

  • Catherine

    Wow, did I need this today. Thank you so very much. I hope to remember and will pray to do so.

  • Vonita

    I’m having such a hard time the last several days trying to understand that even when the going is tough and then just keeps getting harder God does care and even understands and sees each tear and hears. Oh thank you for being so honest. It is a great reminder.

    • Libby S

      Vonita, I’m sorry for your struggle. I looked up these verses for you from Psalm 56
      8You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book.
      9My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
      This I know: God is on my side!
      10I praise God for what he has promised;
      yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised.
      11I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
      What can mere mortals do to me?

  • http://www.togetherwithfamily.com Angela Richter

    Your words always BLESS ME Joy! I needed this message today, right here in my KY home, it still spoke right to my heart and convicted me too! It is so easy to go into pity parties no matter where we live isn’t it? Thanks so much for the reminder. When I heard you were picked for Incourage, I thought “wow, she is the perfect writer for that site” I knew you would bless so many here!

  • Mary

    This. Was. Beautful. A great reminder, thank you so much for sharing, it put things in perspective for me today.

  • http://marileemarks.blogspot.com Mari Marks

    Thank you so much for this. I don’t always have time to read blogs anymore, but I think God needed me to see this one. I’ve been feeling every bit of this. In a different country and in different circumstances. My family moved to El Salvador 3 months ago… I really, really love the quote from your Dad. Having people to remind us is such a gift, this is hard. It’s not always as exotic as people back home think! Sometimes it’s danger, bugs, floods, storms and parasites :) anyway, thank you for being my reminder today. It’s not about me, or my comfort, it’s about God and his glory.

  • Carrie

    Thank you Joy! You wear your name well.

    Shame, fear and self-pity after quitting a job I was unequipped both spiritually and technically for, have been my walls lately. I have been numb praying and wondering what to do next. I am rich now with time to pray and study God’s word while getting acclimated to life without a time clock and paycheck.

    Your shared words have lovingly, soothingly humbled and cleansed me from my selfishness in this matter. I prayed and will continue to pray for you and your family.

  • http://abigail613.wordpress.com Abigail Snyder

    “Mzungu!!! Mzungu!!! How are you? How are you?” The children yell and jump and wave their arms in excitement as I walk by. The young guys point and grin and ogle. The women watch silently. Because no matter how much Kiswahili I learn, and no matter how long I live here, I will still be “the white person,” the “mzungu.”

    As a fellow expatriate from the land of Kiswahili (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in my case), I know your feeling. There are days where I just shake my head in disgust…and days I cry uncontrollably…and days that I walk down to the beach, look at the ocean, and remind myself of Who God is…and why I’m here.

    “Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great…. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” (Psalm 105: 25; 33)

  • http://www.christyfitzwater.com Christy Fitzwater

    I’ve spent a few weeks in Kampala, and I quickly learned to appreciate the American constant flow of electricity and the wealth of being able to drink water from the tap on demand. May God strengthen you in the adjustment to all that is new.

    And thank you so much for these words today. I’m a pastor’s wife in Montana, and I’ve been in my own flood of trials and grief over the last few months. I can already feel a growth in my compassion and sensitivity to the pain of others because of what I’ve been going through. You’ve said it so beautifully here, and thank you for Lisa Jo’s quote from her dad. I do believe I’ll put that on a sticky note on the computer today.

    God’s blessings on you!
    Christy Fitzwater

  • http://www.leighpowers.com Leigh Powers

    Oh, I forget so easily. When this whole housework and homeschool and dishes and diapers thing makes me feel like I’m drowning. When life and church and ministry just seem hard. But God gives us grace so that we can be grace to others. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Diane

    Thank you Joy for sharing your heart, and all the others who commented with their own struggles and joys. It’s a reminder that we ARE a community of believers in a magnificently grace-giving God, and that we need each other to hold one another up when down. I don’t think there’s a person alive who hasn’t had flood moments when all the walls caved in. Yes, blessed be the name of the Lord, for we are never, ever alone. Even though I walk through the darkest valley… HE. Is. With. Me. And. You.
    May his grace and purpose flood your life and ministry with open doors, healing hands, and the abundance of the storehouse of heaven.

    All is grace,
    Diane

  • Heather Strong

    Thanks so much for this incredible post. It was just the encouragement this weary mama of two young kids needed this morning. Praying for your sweet family as you continue to adjust.

  • Angela

    Praying for your son, Bev. That he returns to Christ.

  • http://bowlofinspiration.blogspot.com Lisa Petrarca

    An aggressive pre-cancer diagnosis along w/an Oncologist visit yesterday, another recommendation of surgery. Surgery in a dangerous area that could require a colostomy bag. Your post was EVERYTHING to me today!!! Thank you for the reminder that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 I will keep you in prayer as The Lord works in and through you right in the middle of the mess. God Bless You Joy!

  • http://kristybyerscomedian.blogspot.com/ Kristy Byers

    Joy:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I was involved in mission work in Mexico and Brazil. You story brings make so many memories. Today, I am in ministry in the states, but have had some very hard times, especially financially, here in the states. I remember when I didn’t have a home and lived in the an attic of a friends house that was technically the “cats” room. They had become used to their food, litter box, etc being that room. It was a huge adjustment for me and for the five cats. (Did I mention that I am highly allergic to cats. ) And it was a hard situation, but without that attic room, I would have been homeless. So I was grateful, but it was hard and at times overwhelming.

    I remember when I was in Brazil, it was illegal for homeless people to live IN abandoned homes. They could live UNDER any abandoned building they wanted. It my ministry there I met many families that lived “under” those homes. I often thought of that during “my year in the attic”. And today, when I start to complain about my life. I remember Brazil. I remember “my year in the attic”. I didn’t have an actually bed in the attic. So every night I thank God for my bed. That’s been almost three years ago and I do thank God and enjoy the feel of my bed every night. I pray I never forget that, especially when the flood of my emotions and my wants and my desires take over.

    In view of it all…I am most blessed.

  • http://angietolpin.com Angie Tolpin

    Dear Joy,

    How right you are that it is so easy to get wrapped up, thinking only of the trial or struggle we are experiencing in that moment. I bet every truly honest person would admit to doing that.

    I too have been there a million times, where I have to preach to myself. Even now, I have to remember that often times the struggles I walk through also create of effect those I love the most, creating struggles for them also. What a lesson to also be preparing our children to deal with this, by being transparent with them. Sharing honestly with them our struggles. This is something I need to get WAY better at!

    Will you remind me of that?

    Love you dear one

  • Lina

    What a wonderful story… and an excellent reminder!

    Naturally you felt overwhelmed and thankfully you found a way out. Don’t beat yourself up too hard for feeling that way. After all, feelings are neither right or wrong, it is an emotional response to what is going on around us. It is our actions that can get us in hot water. I felt overwhelmed just reading it!! I think you are brave and courageous to even be there.

    My own trial at the moment is migraines. I have always had them, but now they come in clusters of days at a time. I am on day 6 in a row at the moment and they make me weary when fighting them off. Everyone I know wants to cure me, which also makes me weary. This is just my thorn in the side in this life. I do my best to stay positive and fully rely on God and definitely read as many blogs a day as I can….Thank God for all of you.

    Lina

  • April

    Joy, I am encouraged by your acceptance of encouragement and support from community and how quickly you returned your gaze on our great and awesome God! I thank Him for giving you that ability! Isn’t He a good Father!
    Not too long ago I was hurting deeply and by His grace He compelled me to almost literally run to the Bible to find out what Jesus did when He was hurting deeply and before I even got to the gospels He reminded me of Jesus telling the Father that He’d rather not go through what needed to be done if there was any other way for it to get done but in His willingness to fulfill the Father’s plan for Him He said, “not my will but Yours be done.” Then He gave me an image of Jesus walking next to me with His arm around me and we both were saying, “not my will but Yours be done.” This reminded me that I had Jesus as my example of how to function in the difficulties of living down here and the attitude that I need to do it in.
    I will continue to pray for you and your family for all the difficulties that God allows in your life not just the ones that come from living down here but also those that come specifically with living in Uganda.
    Thank you for sharing with us the faith God has given you, the courage He gave you to reach out to those God has placed in your life to support and encourage you, and for demonstrating the importance and significance of the community of believers near and far.
    Thank you for living in Uganda and being available to God for His purpose of revealing Himself to the people there and bringing them to a saving knowledge of Himself.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for sharing your trials Joy! I love that the Lord has specific trails for those whom He loves – I believe He sees us worthy of them, and in the refining process, we get to become more like HIM! Easy to say to other, and hard to remember myself.

    My trial is my hurt of feeling betrayed and loosing the friends the Lord gives me. As I look back in like, He seems to see fit, to give friends and then to take them away – all His prerogative I know! Our family applies; a time and season for everything. Sometimes we have friends for a season, and it’s beautiful and meaningful, and if the Lords sees fit to take it away, then it’s because He thinks it’s best. This process has been a very deep and painful one, as I am person who loves deep and meaningful friendships. The above comment sums it up well….when I look into the work: HE is all I need. My best friend, lover and most of all my SAVIOUR. He constantly is saving me from myself. This lesson has been a long and hard one, but in hind site, I believe the Lord did this so that I would cling to Him in ways I never have before and be satisfied with the best friendship I could ever have – one with my beautiful Saviour.

  • http://narrowpathstohigherplaces.com Alia Joy

    Joy,
    I was so encouraged by this today. I have been drowning under the weight of things around here lately and struggling to find peace and grace for each day. This reminded me where I need to go to find it and the perspective that makes trials so much smaller in light of God’s provision and grace.

  • http://learningcurvey.blogspot.com/ Joesette

    Such great words of wisdom! It truly is in those hard times that we grow the most…and the growing pains are no fun.

  • Carrie

    Going through my own flood today and so this was a great reminder for me too. The act of remembering is intentional. And so, the memorials, the reminders and things we can do to attach meaning and emotion to our thoughts can really solidify them so that our “remembering” can change our behavior. I choose to remember, so that I can serve him. Send me.

  • http://www.smallishblog.com Evelyn

    Thanks for this beautiful reminder, Joy!

  • Glenda

    Dear Joy,
    I am proud of you, you get out from your comfortable zone just to be uncomfortable for others to see the difference.. to be abundant grace to others.
    I have been in a real flood twice. The recent one was here in Papua. Remembering the scene was a scare. However, the young locals had shown their strength to help us and others. A baby behind me was crying to his stomach because of thirst! I grabbed a half of my bottled water to quench his thirst. And there the baby was quiet! What I am trying to say is that, God sees every detail, every tiny things and every struggle we have! Be (en) in courage!

    Love from us here in Papua

  • http://trendingmama.com Marisa Slusarcyk

    I am proud of you for allowing the reason you are there to begin with to come forth and kick the negativity out! Negativity is the simplest form of manipulation that can and will pull us from God if we allow it to run rampant. I am excited for you on this journey into a new country and I can’t even begin to imagine the struggle that comes with moving into these different countries! I pray that you and your family are able to keep your eyes on the prize and spread the Word and Work of our Saviour!

  • Emily

    Sometimes I forget, in the midst of the Hashimotos, Adrenal disease, and Arthritis, stomach burning, and brain fog, the extreme fatigue and nausea, the extreme hormonal imbalances that cause many debilitating symptoms, the pain. I forget, that the Lord can still use me. I don’t say all that to complain, or to draw attention, but to testify that the Lord has proven faithful through all these things!. When I am at the bottom of the rain barrel, When it lasts so long, it is so easy to lose hope, when people judge what they do not understand, but even then, Jesus carries me, He whispers hope filled words to my heart, when I so desperately need them but know I don’t deserve them. But by God’s grace, I am hear to say, that God has used even me <3 What feels like such a curse at times, God has used for so much good, and yes, even to touch someone else. Because there are so many people that the good Lord has put in my path, people that are hurting and need someone to reach out to them, that I would not have met if not for the Lord….God is so good. I say this with tears even now. It is so hard, so hard to endure, but yet He promises never to leave or forsake, and no matter how hard things are, He always gives sufficient grace for each day. If not for Jesus Christ, and the hope that He brings, I could not endure, and I could not remember, that He can use me to show grace to another. Your words truly bring hope to me :) Thank you for letting the Lord use you to touch many.

  • http://www.passionandpurposecoaching.com Anita Albert-Watson

    Thank you for sharing, Joy! I am in the midst of my own adjustment after a move. I am in a place where I get stares and whispers, and I’m in FLORIDA! I moved here from NY. It’s a small town in which I might just be the only woman of color. I am a spectacle for sure…and not always welcome. I wrote these words on my own blog just today: “I may be in a strange land, with a strange people, in a strange circumstance – but I serve a familiar, steady and unchangeable God who reminds me that He is doing a good work in me, and that He holds all of my circumstances, strange as they may be, in His always-steady, unchanging, ever-loving hands.” The LORD is our constant! And He is constantly GOOD!

  • http://dayofgrace.me/ Patricia

    In the messy parts of life and in the difficult seasons I just need to remember where I was before I was one of the Lord’s flock .

  • Janie

    Thank you, friend! Love you!

  • Brenda Cox

    Joy,
    Oh how many times have I had those those times of “flooding”, but God has always lifted me “above the floods”, when I choose to allow Him to remind me this is only my temporary home.
    I have a ministry in Kenya, with widows and orphans with AIDS. I cherish the weeks and months I am blessed to be with my Kenyan friends! It humbled me to see their gratefulness for the smallest thing. I know there won’t be many times with electricity and most, notice, I said most, of the time I appreciate the quiet and calm. The last few years have been drought years, so the rooftop rain water collector is most often empty. Walking to the “river”, I use that term loosely, and carrying water back tires me out before I a can quit, but my friends encourage me to keep on! I am always thankful the next day! For many years I have battled chronic pain and each day I try to live above it. But there are too many days that depression begins to pull me down into the “water”. I wonder why God doesn’t heal me, after all I have to go take care of my work in Kenya. That’s when He gently holds me and whispers, “The work is Mine, you are only my hands and feet. You see terrible suffering every day as you work among those with AIDS, why should you be any more deserving than they?”
    In February I was diagnosed with Melanoma and I’m facing my 2nd large surgery. In have no fear, I know I in God’s care! That doesn’t mean I don’t feel frustration when the extreme fatigue is always part of my life. I want to play with my grandkids, take care of my elderly clients, be fully involved in all the activities at Church or not have people wonder why I don’t do all I did before. There’s nothing they see stopping you. That is when I feel the tears come, even though I try to hold them back. I begin to whisper, “Jesus” and try to remember I’m no more deserving than others and I must use where I am to minister to those who face similar circumstances and often we lift each other. I am planning to return to Kenya in November, God willing! In the meantime, when the floods come, I will swim with my Life Preserver!
    Asante sana, Joy, for sharing your story! Being a mzungu will fade away quicker with each “jambo” and smile.

  • Brenda Cox

    Joy,
    Oh how many times have I had those those times of “flooding”, but God has always lifted me “above the floods”, when I choose to allow Him to remind me this is only my temporary home.
    I have a ministry in Kenya, with widows and orphans with AIDS. I cherish the weeks and months I am blessed to be with my Kenyan friends! It humbled me to see their gratefulness for the smallest thing. I know there won’t be many times with electricity and most, notice, I said most, of the time I appreciate the quiet and calm. The last few years have been drought years, so the rooftop rain water collector is most often empty. Walking to the “river”, I use that term loosely, and carrying water back tires me out before I a can quit, but my friends encourage me to keep on! I am always thankful the next day! For many years I have battled chronic pain and each day I try to live above it. But there are too many days that depression begins to pull me down into the “water”. I wonder why God doesn’t heal me, after all I have to go take care of my work in Kenya. That’s when He gently holds me and whispers, “The work is Mine, you are only my hands and feet. You see terrible suffering every day as you work among those with AIDS, why should you be any more deserving than they?”
    In February I was diagnosed with Melanoma and I’m facing my 2nd large surgery. In have no fear, I know I in God’s care! That doesn’t mean I don’t feel frustration when the extreme fatigue is always part of my life. I want to play with my grandkids, take care of my elderly clients, be fully involved in all the activities at Church or not have people wonder why I don’t do all I did before. There’s nothing they see stopping you. That is when I feel the tears come, even though I try to hold them back. I begin to whisper, “Jesus” and try to remember I’m no more deserving than others and I must use where I am to minister to those who face similar circumstances and often we lift each other. I am planning to return to Kenya in November, God willing! In the meantime, when the floods come, I will swim with my Life Preserver!
    Asante sana, Joy, for sharing your story! Being a mzungu will fade away quicker with each “jambo” and smile.
    Blessings,
    Brenda

    • Beth WIlliams

      Brenda.

      Prayers for a successful surgery! Prayers for complete healing from the mighty Healer!!! May God swoop down and give you hugs, kisses-peace and contentment as you battle this awful disease!

      Blessings

  • http://mlsgregg.com Marie

    Dear Joy,

    The flood is about to come for me as I begin a season of medical…stuff. Changes in medication, lots of testing. God is sending word after encouraging word my way, and this post was no exception. I love that you reached out for truth in your overwhelmedness. That’s awesome. You’re an example of authenticity. Thank you for being real!

  • Carrie Cheecham

    I forget when my family is being persecuted for living Godly lives, following Christ and simply standing up for integrity and honesty on the reservation we live in. My husband and I get sad, angry, bitter when people come against us. He is running for office. His second try. And the existing leadership play very dirty politics to keep a God-fearing man out! I pray (again) that God remind me just how good I have it. Just knowing Him is all I need. May I be reminded in the midst of the floods.

  • Laura

    Divorce stopped my own self destructive patterns and sisterly love gave me restoration. Then my daughter was forced to realize her own mortality, so I was wading in faith testing territory. Then I remembered that I my young two sons needed to be reminded to forgive each other and walk in LOVE and so I dropped all my baggage, and prayfully counted my blessings. Then the Holy Spirit said YOU are to teach the future generations about love. At that moment I took the time to encourage them to forgive each other and walk in love. We all need support and we can all share what we have been blessed with too.
    Thank you for demonstrating to us what this looks like.

  • Clayre

    You helped me remember (once more) how extremely blessed I am. I pray for you daily and send loving energy.

    I went whitewater rafting this past weekend and it truly was amazing. One minute I was floating along looking at the scenery, the next I was going through turbulent waters churning and tossing my little boat around. It just reminds me of life….life is like that river, sometimes you just float along, sometimes you hit turbulent waters and need courage. It is good to know God is with us through both however, it helps to have community to travel with us. Praying you will soon have a growing community to live and thrive in. I love you beautiful lady!!

  • Mary

    God is so good! I needed the reminder that He did everything for me and I did nothing for Him. I am humbled by your post.

  • Edwina Cowgill

    Thank you for the reminders of grace; for the reminder that God is always there, even when the flood is up to my hairline, as it’s been lately. And the reminder that what we are going through will be used by God to help us relate to others who are going through the same type of situation.l

    Blessings,
    Edwina Cowgill

  • http://www.emilywierenga.com Emily Wierenga

    I’m sitting here crying with you Joy. Oh friend. Wish I could hug you.

  • Beth WIlliams

    I love what Bev said “God doesn’t give compassion out on a comparison scale”. He loves us all equally!

    My flood is my job that I’m not crazy about. A lot of days I just wish I could quit and stay home. Then I realize that some people in my office are older than me, more stressed out & don’t see how or when they can retire at all! It’s at that point that I count my blessings and thank God for His love and care!

    Blessings! :) :)

  • http://www.chasingblueskies.net Kristen Strong

    Girl. This post? Blows me away. And your words right here: “That is why we need community. To remind each other when we forget.” Yes and amen and I don’t want to ever forget this.

    So thankful to have you in this community, Joy. You are a treasure. xo

  • http://www.morethanrubiesblog.wordpress.com Amy

    I did need this remind today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • http://mandylynncarpenter.wordpress.com Mandy

    Thanks so much for this. Our family is preparing to move to Nepal as missionaries. I know our days are coming and have bookmarked this to remind me when they arrive. Somehow it is easy to think that because we are serving the Lord, we should have it easy. Yet, the truth is, the closer we walk with Him, the harder it sometimes is. The enemy hates it and wants us to quit. Just want to encourage you, as your post always encourage me to keep the faith and stand firm. Praying for much grace for you and yours as you settle into you new place of service. God is using you to impact the nations.

  • http://www.wilkensfamilyadventures.com Heather

    Oh my goodness… Joy, i stumbled upon your old website by searching for the words ” Joy in being a missionary” no joke. We are in the very place you are… although Tanzania.. even though we had a crazy year before this living in 4 different countries.. we are very much in this for the first time. “flooded” with the same circumstances, fears, sinks falling off the wall, mold, outcast status…. but very much in need of encouragement and to get our eyes off ourselves.. thank you for your words. your openness and your encouragement. i am blessed to have stumbled on your site today. youve encouraged me to blog more openly about my struggles so i can see Christ more clearly. thanks.

  • http://thesweetnest.blogspot.com/ Anna

    This was a timely message for me. We are in the throes of selling our home for an overseas move with our family, trusting the Lord to work out the details. When He calls, He provides. I become scared in my humanness but my, but then forget to stay scared when I stop to really watch Him work. We serve a mighty God.