A big bullet point for me on my trip to Uganda was: relationships. It brought a renewed meaning to the phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself”. That phrase has always begged the question amongst the most well versed of theologians “Who is my neighbor?” The Bible answers quite clearly that we are all each other’s neighbor (Luke 10:29-37), no matter what we look like or where we come from or what we’ve done, where we’re going or what our circumstances are. We are ALL each other’s neighbor.
The thing I love about relationships is that we all have a story. Every single one of us has a story that can be told of the things in our lives that have molded us and made us into who we are, what we are and where we are, for better or for worse. This is a common thread that binds us all no matter of our race, religion, or creed. When we take the time to sit down and hear someone’s story, we find out that we’re not so different after all. We are able to see value in people regardless of their social standing. Some of my best friends are people that might seem quite different from me, but because we know each other’s story, we have a tight bond that binds our hearts together, even though people would look as us and think that we were mis-matched.
One of the highlights of my trip to Uganda was forming relationships with the people that I came into contact with every day. Our host Patrick and his wife Sarah are wonderful people and I cherished the time we had together talking about our respective lives. Patrick and Sarah recently had a four-month-old daughter die. And whereas I have no personal experience with this, I do know about the trials of having sick children and how those experiences have helped to mold me and make me into the person that I am. I can truly say that I love Patrick and Sarah and add them to my list of dear ones. I miss them and can’t wait to see them again.
Also, I was privileged enough to get to know the staff at the guesthouse where we stayed. Florence is such a beautiful person inside and out and she worked so hard to make us feel at home, and we did! She has a passion for hospitality, just like me! That binds us as sisters. David and Eddie, our drivers, also hold dear spots in my heart as they shared some heart-wrenching stuff with our team. I don’t see these people as mere happen-stance in my life, but as Divine appointments whose stories continue to shape me and mold me into who God is making me to be. I am so thankful to have met these wonderful brothers and sisters in Uganda and my heart aches to see them again!
I think, and I will challenge you, to step out of your comfort-zone and ask someone their story, you will be delightfully surprised at the bonds that form in your heart. If you want somewhere to start, ask me my story. It would be my honor to share it with you.