God is God everywhere. He is the king of the universe. He is good in Iganga and He is good in Visalia. He is faithful to show up wherever we are.
People are people everywhere. They are in need of connection. They have a deep longing to be known and heard. They deserve compassion, grace, and love.
It feels more difficult to love my neighbors than it does to love orphans in Uganda. But what is the difference really? There is no difference, it is just my preference. I am discovering that I cling to a lot of preferences and they are embarrassing and gross and wrong. I don't want them. I want to be more like Jesus and love all people.
I'm sitting on my front porch, watching some teenage kids shuffle through the park on their way to the school across the street. One with her head down. One on a skateboard. Two laughing as they walk. Two silently staring straight ahead. " What's going through their minds right now?”, I wonder. And I begin to pray for them from afar, just like I pray for my kids in Iganga from afar. I want all of them to know they are beautiful. To know they are worthy. To know they are seen. To know they are known.
God has been growing my heart for my own “village” since I've returned from the village in Uganda, and even though everything in me wants to be back in Iganga with my friends there, I am accepting the fact that I am here. In Visalia. A place I never really wanted to be. And the strangers around me in this place can become new friends too. It happened in Iganga. It can happen in Visalia.
If you have not yet please check out The Archibald Project, the incredible organization that I went to Uganda with. The Archibald Project exists to document stories, advocate for orphans, and inspire people to action.