This weekend, I began my reign as Aurelia, queen of Playmobile land. I made treaties with traders from Arabia, ousted Japanese samurai and man-eating dragons from my kingdom, and arranged the fortuitous meeting of my handsome brother Kendall and my favorite lady-in-waiting, Lydia. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
No, I haven’t had an emotional breakdown or regressed 15 years in maturity. 🙂 On Saturday morning, I traveled out to Bombo, a small village about 45 minutes north of Kampala and spent the weekend with a missionary family who are friends of friends from the States. It was my first time to meet this family. I’m not sure if it was our shared experiences of home schooling, the uncanny likeness I shared with their tall, blond-haired blue-eyed kids, or the ease with which I slipped into their simple lifestyle that involved no running water but tons of family time and honest imagination and fun, but after about two hours, I was ready to call the place home.
An incredibly generous and hospitable family, the Carrolls spent ten years in Uganda before returning to the States in 2007, and have only recently returned to Uganda in order to partner with local churches and the zillions of compassion ministries in Uganda to more effectively reveal the heart of God for the poor and broken through these ministries That may sound redundant, but you would be surprised at the number of ministries in the world (it’s not just a Ugandan problem!) that have managed to effectively meet physical needs while totally forgetting the centrality of God’s love in the whole process.
Although I absolutely love my work at IJM and am completely convinced that the work of seeking justice is exactly where I am called to be at the present, I won’t deny that it was really refreshing to be back in the home of a typical “missionary” family, a family with whom I could relate and identify with in a million ways. At Taylor, I tried hard to establish an identity apart from my background as an MK, and I think I was successful to a certain extent. But living back in a developing country that reminds me so much of Papua New Guinea, I’ve found myself self-identifying more and more with my MK roots. You can take a kid out of the mission field and turn them into an adult, but I’m not sure if the heart of the MK will ever leave that adult.
It was so refreshing to be out of Kampala and breathe the clean air, to be with young kids again, reading “The Things People Do” with a four-year old, enthusiastically comparing favorite Narnia scenes with a ten-year old, and of course, beginning my inaugural reign as Queen Aurelia of Playmobile land (I do not know how I managed to live 22 years of life without ever being introduced to Playmobile!). It was even refreshing to use their pit latrine, use water from their rainwater cistern, wash dishes in two big basins, and remind myself that even after four years spent mostly in America, this sort of lifestyle isn’t foreign to me.
They graciously extended me an open invitation to treat their place as my home away from home… and as soon as I can figure out the complicated system of taking taxi buses out their way, I’m sure I’ll be back. I have a Playmobile kingdom to rule over!
P.S. In case you’re worried that I’m just cavorting around the Ugandan countryside: a blogpost about the casework of IJM Uganda is coming shortly. Many of you have asked great questions about what IJM does in Uganda, and as soon as I get permission from HQ to post more specific information about our casework here, I’ll be sharing some exciting news with you about the victim relief we just secured for two clients and their families last week!