Thoughts on the eve of my visit to Uganda

Hello, friends. Been a while, hasn’t it?

How ya doing? Have you been working out? I thought so…

Well let me catch you up a bit on myself.

The last time we talked I had taken Ashland on a date to Target and documented how we were fighting to reclaim a bit of the intimacy (closeness) between us both that gets lost when you live on separate continents.

Lots has happened since that November day.

But today I write to you as a man bound for Bundibugyo (#BoundForBundi). After seven months of long-distance I am en route to see Ashland in Uganda starting today with a 5:30 p.m. flight out of Atlanta.

I get to see my best friend once again.

And guess what, friends? I couldn’t be more excited. Shocker, right? But it’s true. And I feel the excitement all the way in my bones. Like when your smile couldn’t be wiped from your face on Christmas morning because, let’s be honest, you LOVED that HitClips (N’Sync edition) your parents got you.

It’s joy that’s unshakeable. And it’s the type of joy Jesus calls us to with himself (Romans 15:13).

Much of our time apart has been indicative of life. Moments of sweet serenity peppered with marches through the valley, followed up with a side-dish of normalcy. It ebbs. It flows. It’s just been…life.

There have been good weeks, weeks where we embrace the spheres God has placed us both individually in. There have been bad weeks, weeks where we lose sight of God’s provision. Instead of turning our eyes outward and upward, we’ve turned them inward and picked up the pick-axe of pride to chisle away at one another in battle.

But praise God for His mercy. And praise God for a grace-filled woman that I get to walk alongside in life. A woman who is not afraid to deliver a hard truth to build me up. A woman who seeks my flourishing. A woman who makes me laugh when I get lost in the seriousness of existence.

This is the one I am so grateful to have fallen in love with.

I’ll leave you with this on the eve of my trip. One of my favorite pieces of writing is a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son Thom. The letter is in response to a letter from John’s son, Thom, who was writing to tell of a girl with whom he had taken an interest in. John’s response has steadied my anxious heart on hard days. There’s so much good in the letter. Please, read it! But I’ll single out one line that’s kept me leaning in moments where I get a bit frenzied.

“And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

I think we’d all love a bit deeper if we didn’t grip things so tightly.

I’ll end with this: lean in, friends. Savor both the bitter and the sweet life has in front of you, wherever these words find you. I know I will.

Here’s a few logistics and notes as I wrap up and get ready to hop on a plane.

  • I’ll be flying from Atlanta to Amsterdam, then heading to Rwanda, and then to Uganda. I should arrive around 2:30 p.m. CST on Friday (10:30 p.m. Uganda Time).
  • I’ll have some Wi-Fi access, so I should be able to send out pictures and thoughts on the socials (for instance, my first Boda Boda ride, my slack-jawed infatuation with my first African sunset, the geckos that will inevitably find their way into my bedroom).
  • I really enjoyed hugging the necks of so many of my sweet friends over the past few weeks. I’ve been reminded of the beautiful tribe of friends and family that has risen up around Ashland and I both. For those who are praying and have prayed for both Ashland and I, thank you. I covet those prayers.
  • To those of you who have sacrificed to serve me over these past few months (either financially, emotionally, relationally, etc.) thank you, thank you, thank you. I wouldn’t be here without your love and support! If it was help with a plane ticket or taking me to grab a meal during a tough week or just stopping to pray with me when I seemed distant and overwhelmed, it all mattered and it has meant more to me than you can know.

I love you all more than I can find words to express. Much of this all seems to be a bit foggy in the best way. It’s so exciting that it almost doesn’t feel real. And yet it is. And yet God has been so faithful through it all.

I’m thankful you are my people. See you soon, friends.

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