Before Leaving

Just a quick update before I leave.  I have so much that I want to say, but I know that it will just have to wait to be transcribed out of my notebook at a later date.  There is more information about what we will be doing, and in less than 48 hours, I will know what we are doing, and where.  For those who want to keep up with all of the info, this is a good place to be, but the team has their own website.

Team Website: Two Hands Ministry

That will be updated every chance that is possible, so most of the info will be there.  I send my love, and know that you are in my prayers as I leave.

Some average musings.

chris.

Advertisements

Hesed International

I left the itinerary a little open a few posts ago, and want to fill you in the best that I know.  The first place that we are going is to New Hope Uganda in Kasanna.  This will be a great place where the education majors will be able to see a ton of schooling.  Everything from elementary to college level studies.  I am super excited to get there and start working in the Hospital as well.  From Kasanna, we will travel across the country to the small town of Balawoli and work with Hesed mission.  This organization is focused more on the discipleship and evangelism side of missions.  As far as I can tell, they do not have a school or hospital on their site, but I do think that there is one in the town.  Again, I really don’t know what I should be preparing myself for, but I know that it is where I’m supposed to be.  The website for Hesed mission is :http://www.hesedinternational.org/ministry.html

Three boys from Hesed

From Hesed Ministries, we will travel to Jinja.  I am not sure what we will be doing there, but I know that there will be some amazing photos coming out of that city.  The city is right on the shores of lake victoria, and I know that it will be absolutely breathtaking.  I believe that the headquarters for the International Justice Mission are located in Jinja, and I’m sure that we will be working with JBU post grad students there.  For those of you who do not know, the International Justice Mission (IJM) deals with human trafficking and other injustices around the world.  There is a chapter of the organization at JBU, and I’m sure at just about every other college.  This is the section of our trip that is still being organized, and I know that we will know more once we are in Uganda, but the little that we do know is becoming super exciting.

This is the email of IJM, definitely a pretty cool thing that they are doing: http://www.ijm.org/

Jinja, the source of the NIle River

Here’s a pretty cool fact about Jinja.  It lies right on Lake Victoria, and is the location that supplies all of the water for the nile river.  It will be so incredibly beautiful, and I can’t believe that we actually get to travel here.  Feel free to ask questions and write comments, I love them and its super encouraging to hear how you all are praying and thinking about me.

Just some average musings.

chris.

One Week Left

With one week left, I have so many things to do.  Just today I’ve been to two banks, mailed three letters for support, had who knows how many calls to friends and family letting them know about the change of country, and how they can view the blog.  To say that I’ve been relaxing at all this summer is so far from reality; so far that it makes me laugh that I have ever relaxed in the summer.  It has been such a wild ride so far, and I know that it will only stretch me further as we continue on this journey.  I still have to make sure that the money that I mailed shows up in my account.  I have to see if the matching from my dad’s company will give the money that they offered.  I have to pick up three different drugs to control my digestive tract as well as a probiotic to help regulate the bacteria in my intestines.  (caveat for probiotics: everything that I’ve heard about them is great!!  They keep you from getting sick on so many levels just by making sure that you have the good bacteria in your body to process all the infectious stuff that can come in).  I have to order $1500 worth of eurail passes and make sure that they are sent to the proper address so that we can get them in time for Europe.  I have to book four different hostels in Germany and Switzerland, as well as get a price ammount for what that trip should cost.  I have prayer cards that need to go into the mail (if you would like one, just write a comment, or email me your address before friday @ ccarmichael07@gmail.com).  There is also about a dozen other things that I haven’t even thought of that need to be done and arranged before we leave.

I am learning a lot about world travel and international missions through this:  it is super hard.  Hard work to raise money, hard work to prepare where you are going and what you are doing.  I must give a huge hand to Steve Beers (our team leader) for this trip.  He has planned nearly the entire thing in the last two weeks after we switched countries.  Something that usually takes a couple of months, he has been able to do in a couple of weeks.

It is hard to feel encouraged that I’ll actually be helping.  There is a lot of money and talent that is going into this project, and I can only pray and expect that amazing things will happen.  I know through all of this that even harder circumstances will come after we are “wheels up” on the plane.  Exhaustion coupled with a world that I’ve never experienced will lead to a lot of overwhelming emotions and doubtless fears.  However, there is still a small certain voice that is urging me on.  A voice that says I will be a crucial part of something amazing (a birth, or a healing, or a teachable moment that will affect lives forever).  This is the voice that I will choose to listen to even though I am pummeled by the loudness of frustration, schedules, fear, anxiety, and mostly doubt.  I certainly did not sign up for an easy experience that is planned out completely for me.  I am jumping into a country that will shape me and change me as I live my life there.  It helps to know that I have friends and family stretching across this globe that are praying for me and the team.  I need that…it is one of the largest motivators for me.  With the great trials come great rewards, and I know that my energy spent on this side of the globe can only be reflected on the other side of the world.

Just some average musings,

chris.

I just got word that some readers have questions that need clarification of things that I’ve been writing.  At the bottom of the post, there is a place for comments; write all of your questions and encouraging thoughts there.  Ask, and I’ll try my best to answer to the best of my knowledge.

Some Definition

Well, after changing countries the difficult task becomes where are we to serve in Uganda?  Through a few acquaintances, our team leader was able to connect us first with an organization in Kasana, Uganda.  The organization, New Hope Uganda is responsible for a huge education facility as well as a small clinic and an orphanage.  From what I understand, there are three schools as well as a vocational school on the compound.  I know that the clinic will look nothing like the one in Ethiopia, but hopefully Iwill be doing more than just nursing if that is where I will work.  There is also a clinic that is just a few kilometers away from where we will be staying that hopefully we will get to work with as well.  If not, and I am placed in one of the schools, great! Just another excuse for me to take tons and tons of pictures of beautiful people!

New Hope Uganda has a website: http://www.newhopeuganda.org/index.htm, which is pretty slick.  This is a video of what they are about, and a little bit of what opportunities we will have.

New Hope Uganda Video

Finally, the directors have a blog (hey, good idea…blog about your experiences in Africa). Which is here: http://calebalair.blogspot.com/

Artists Rendering of New Hope Uganda

Artists Rendering of New Hope Uganda

One last thing about this ministry, they have just started a coffee growing business, and have shipped a small quantity of coffee to the states.  Ethiopia was the birthplace of coffee, but I feel like the clear message with this ministry is that “you are going from a place with coffee, to yet another place where you will be used in a mighty way”.  I feel like this simple thing is just another confirmation that Uganda is the place that we are supposed to be going to now.  I just read an email from someone I love dearly after they had read my posts, and he talked about every small action having a purpose.  This coffee is just reminding me that I don’t have it under control, but I can rest assured that all things are in control.

From New Hope Uganda, we are planning on traveling to Hesed International which is located in Balawoli.  This is more of a traditional “missions organization” in that their main goal is sharing the Gospel.  Instead of building schools, or running a hospital, they focus on intentionally mentoring and discipling Ugandanpeople to become leaders in the church.  Their website is here: http://www.hesedinternational.org/.  As the trip progresses, I think the details are still pretty fuzzy.  I received an email with an estimated outline of where we’ll be and on what dates, so you can know to pray for us.  I’ll let you know as more info pours in.  Here’s the copy of dates:

June 6 – leave JBU

June 7 arrive in Uganda – stay night in hotel by airport

June 8 transport to NHU

June 8-1 minister at NHU at main mission location

June 17  transport to Hesed International ministry’s mission of Balawoli

June 17- 21 Hesed mission in Balawoli

June 21 transfer to Jinja

June 21- 22 Transition leaders

June 22 – July 1 Ministry in Jinja.

July 1-2 visit Kampala and head home!

these are just a few of my average musings.

chris.

Life in Flux

Two weeks ago, I was relatively secure in my plans for this summer.  I was so stressed about the MCAT that I had no energy to devote to this trip.  Conflict was rising in Ethiopia, and in faith I just brushed it aside hoping that tensions would cease as we came into the country.  It was a great ego trip of sorts: I knew that the world would revolve around us going to Ethiopia because that was what we were supposed to do.  And like happens so often, a wrench was thrown into the gears that were up to this time moving so well.  We had visas, passports, plans to get into and out of Ethiopia, and although I still had not found enough funds to get myself there, I still was resting in the fact that we had a place to go that was going to be gorgeous.

I received an email about two weeks ago outlining the extent of violence in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia).  The US government was worried about US citizens traveling into and through the city during the time of presidential elections.  To make matters worse, the time at which the elections were held was May 28 – July 4.  Just the time frame that we were going to be there.  GREAT!  In a panic and frenzy, the team met together and discussed the issue.  From what we could gather speaking with those in Ethiopia,  there wasn’t that large of an issue with travel as long as we did not stay in the big city.  Okay, good, I can deal with that.  We won’t see the big city, but we’ll still get to practice medicine on the side of a mountain!

This was the mindset that I entered into summer with.  Well, as much as you could call it by the months, not by the ammount of work that  I had to get done.  I have been studying my butt off in preparation for the MCAT, and after the relief that the test brought me just a few days ago, I have had little time to relax and shift my focus from study to preparation.  Not only do I know little of where we are going, or what we are doing…we are going to a country that I no longer know anything about.  To say that I am not disappointed would be a huge lie.  I was so ready to go to Ethiopia, to see the children living at Project Mercy, and to touch the people in the hospital.  I just have to realize that there are larger plans for this trip that I can’t even fathom right now.  Plans of people that I will connect with on a deep level, and children’s smiles that I will capture through the lens of my camera.  I am so torn between being very comfortable here in the states with out a large multi thousand dollar hole in my bank account (due to lack of funds that have come in, and all the other things that are needed to make this trip work), and going to a place where I have no timeline and no clue where I’ll be.  The adventure of travel is calling to me, pulling my soul into a place of longing to just see other worlds.  Africa is calling, and I need to know that I will respond with the limited medical knowledge that I have and with all of the zeal that I throw into my loves.

More to come, because these are just average musings.

chris.

From two months ago…

This is it…I’m going to Ethiopia, and I want you to join me in this adventure. I really don’t know what’s in store for me. I know that right now it’s 22:58 here in the states and the people that I will be treating and caring for, mentoring and loving on, living with and learning from are waking up in their homes and preparing for yet another day in Ethiopia.

That’s really exciting for me to think about. I have never met them and I will not meet them until I arrive in the camp, but already their story is my own. I have begun to accept them as my brothers and sisters, as a part of my own life and family. I think about them and pray for their families, their friends, their lives. Lives that I want to touch, lives that I want to impact, lives that I might even be a part of saving.

There is only one thing that I can promise through all of this. I can promise that I am not the one that receives glory for what I do. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and this is simply my story of blessing. I want you to join with me, I want this story to impact you in a way that neither of us know. I want you to be changed as I already have been. Let my story become your own. What an amazing time this is that we (not just me, but those of you that have gathered around me) travel to Africa to see lives changed. This is really a blog about you and how your support of me is changing lives.

I have no clue what this summer brings, but I am running full speed into it ready to accept each moment for the gift that it is. I want to saturate myself in the story, make it my own, help to re-write it, and give it back in a better shape than before. I am going to Ethiopia with the plan of working in a hospital, but I know that my plan is frighteningly futile when compared to what story is already being orchestrated.

May the wind fill my sails and lead me to places that I have always dreamed about.