Millions Die and No One Cries

A few months ago, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, died. As soon as his death became published millions mourned his death, because, after, all he did help build the first iphone and Mac computer. Why wouldn’t part of you be sad? I’m not trying to discount his death, but at the end of the day he is one person, a person who indeed changed our phone and computer experience forever, but still just one. Millions will remember him and his work. But the same day Steve Jobs died millions of other people died around the globe from diseases and lack of food and water. Millions who weren’t mourned by many.  It isn’t just that one day where millions died, it’s everyday. Many of which live and die in Africa. 

This past summer God brought me to Uganda, Africa along with sixteen other team members. While we were there we met hundreds of kids, many of which left their marks on our hearts forever.  Many of these kids did not own a pair of shoes, had little to eat, and faced diseases like malaria everyday.  We saw the daily suffering that they had to face.  A suffering that is so easily fixed in America.  But all the same, these kids had utter joy, joy so overwhelming you can’t help yourself but to join in with their laughter and joy.  After a few hours of spending time with these kids, you couldn’t help but leave feeling happier than when you first arrived. But part of me always wondered what kind of home these kids were going back to.

Like I said earlier, we meet hundreds of kids. But for me just a few truly impacted my life, two of which I never found out their names, but both of them made a lasting impression. I wasn’t the only one who made bonds with some of the kids. One day, after arriving back to the Jesus House, Kayla (one of the members from another team who was staying at the house along with my team) and I were sitting outside playing with a little boy. We soon found out that this little boy’s name was Peter.  He was from the village. Peter found his way into Kayla’s heart. She has since started sponsoring him. Peter was so shy he wouldn’t talk to many people besides Kayla. I haven’t thought about that day much since being back in the States, that is until this morning. This morning before work I was checking my Facebook and found a post about Peter who had died just a day earlier.  His life was taken by malaria along with having an enlarged spleen. Peter, a sweet little boy full of love and joy, lost his life from something so treatable here in America. But yet it kills millions each year around the world. Yesterday millions died, and today millions will die yet most Americans didn’t mourn for the loss of so many. Many of which are children.

About an hour after I read that post I pulled up at Sonic to work my six-hour shift, with Peter, his family, and all the kids from Uganda not far from my mind. Six hours I dealt with customers with many stupid complaints such as, “My cheese wasn’t melted on my burger.”  Or, “My fries aren’t hot enough”.  Irritated isn’t even the word.  Today in America the mindset is me, myself, and I. We only care about ourselves, or we only care about ourselves and the people that we love.  But we don’t think about the millions who face death everyday. Death that could be prevented by medication that is in arm’s reach for those in America when we need it, but an ocean away for others. 

As I sit here writing this post, “Finally Home” by MercyMe came on my Pandora Radio. The only thing I could think about was that Peter is home now.  And even though millions might not mourn his death some will. For him and for many of the millions who died yesterday Jesus was with them and they are finally home.


Oh The Places You’ll Go

If anyone would have asked me a few months ago what I wanted to do with my life, I would have simply answered with, “I want to go back to Nicaragua long term.” When I told people that they  always looked at me as if I was crazy because that’s not the answer they were looking for. But before Uganda that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I thought my life would go something like this:  go to college, graduate, and then move to Nicaragua long term. I think what many people don’t know is, that for years I’ve dreamed of traveling anywhere and everywhere.

In 2011 God called me to step out in faith and go to a country that I never even thought about going to and took me a minute or two to find on the map, this would be Nicaragua. It took all of two minutes after meeting the first Nicaraguan child for me to fall in love. Leaving, I knew I was leaving a part of my heart with the kids of Nicaragua. I knew I had to go back. So, when God laid Nicaragua on my heart a few months ago I knew I had to go back. Though I’m still working the details out about it, I know God has asked me to go back.

One night a few weeks ago I was sitting in my bed writing in my journal when all of a sudden God interrupted my thoughts and said two simple words, “Never Settle”. Nothing else except those two words. I sat there not knowing what just happened. All I knew was that I had just heard God’s voice, so loud and clear there was no way I could pretend it wasn’t God Who had just spoken to me. As I thought and prayed about why God would just randomly speak those two words to me, I realized why.

Coming back to the states after Uganda God wasn’t just calling me back to Mississippi, He’s bringing me back for a new season of my life, a season of growing before heading on a crazy new adventure. I thought the adventure would be going to college. Though I do still think that at some point God is asking me to go to college. God has something so much more than just that! God showed me that yes, Nicaragua will always have a major part in my life, but it won’t end there. Nicaragua is just the beginning. Yes, I could do a lot to glorify God in Nicaragua if that’s the only place I go in the future. But if I do, then I would be settling. God’s plan for me life includes more than what my little mind can ever imagine.  Anytime I try to imagine what God’s plan for my life might look like, I hear Him whispering, “Oh the places you’ll go, Candace”. Every time God whispers that in my ear I feel the peace that only God can give. That night God also showed me that all those dreams I had about traveling the world weren’t my dreams that I thought I had to give up to God a few years ago. Those were in fact God’s dreams for my life.

I sit here tonight knowing that in eight months I’ll be graduating high school, and that God is asking me to go back to Nicaragua for a short period in my life next year.  I have no clue what God has out there for me after that. But I know what ever it is, it will be beautiful, because wherever God sends me He’ll be going with me.

African Beauty

I had the chance this summer to spend 17 days and nights in Uganda, Africa. Going, I knew I wouldn’t leave the same, but I didn’t know how what I saw would affect me. Before our plane landed in Uganda, Africa I asked myself if I would be able to handle what I saw in the comings days and weeks. Even stepping off the plane I didn’t know.  But just like last year in Nicaragua, though with a new team and in a different country, our mission was still the same: bringing joy and love to the precious kids. Many of the kids that we got to know had so little. Many didn’t even own a pair of shoes resulting in jiggers in their feet. Many of the kids at the different schools we went to would walk a couple of miles daily bare footed just so they could go to school. Everyday the kids would eat what they call porridge, but taste nothing like what we have in America. You see their porridge looks like water-downed grits and has absolutely no flavoring. With no nutritional value, the purpose of eating it is to just have a full belly.  These kids would down porridge every single day, just being grateful that today they would have a full belly.

Everyday I had the chance to get to know these amazing kids! Our day was always filled with dancing, singing, and lots of laughter. Spending 17 days this way was a bigger blessing than I could ever even begin to voice. Though I love Uganda, and all the beautiful kids and leaving Uganda was hard, it was necessary to God’s plan for my life.

While in Uganda God continually laid Nicaragua on my heart, almost every single day I would be talking to one of the kids and a Spanish word would slip out, and the kid would then look at me as if I were crazy.  It seemed every time I turned around God would remind me once again about Nicaragua and the love He placed in my heart for it the year before. One night during worship God told me to go back to Nicaragua. Though I don’t know what this plan God has is going to look like, I do know that Nicaragua is in His plan for my future.

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