Home is where the Heart is...at least that's what they say right?
Yet here I am, home...in Uganda telling stories of "back home".
I am stuck in this awkward place where I am home in our tiny little round house in Bethany Village Camp, a non profit run through African Renewal Ministries, or ARMs.
Simultaneously we have a place we call home in Oregon. A place where I feel at home, confident in who and what we are there.
Its an interesting dichotomy that I am living in right now. But I can honestly say that right now, if I am a believer of the phrase "Home is where the heart is", then tomorrow night I am leaving home and headed back to Oregon.
My heart is here. My stuff will still be here haha so its a good thing that my heart is here.
It's odd, I am traveling back with there empty suitcases. I might bring us down to one carry on...why not. I am home here in Uganda. The kids have made this place so easy to transition into...but more than anything this culture is something that I want to be involved in. This culture is something that I want and desire to impact in whatever way I am capable of.
The new church will probably receive their roof while we are back in Oregon. And Brenda had been talking to Pastor Paul about letting the church space become a community space throughout the week. And with that I am hoping to start a weekly (or more frequently who knows) support group for women of domestic violence.
I grew up in a home where violence was never even brought up. Love was shown even through correction and discipline. Yet I still found myself at a point in life that I felt like I only deserved what I was being given. That the verbal abuse was expected because I wasn't at the top of my game...that the physical abuse was because I was lacking in some way or I had aggravated him, usually I figured I deserved it.
It wasn't until the night that he split the back of my head open that I realized that this was NOT love, this was NOT ok, and this was NOT what I wanted for my life. I am lucky to have gotten out when I did.
There was a poll recently done in Uganda where 85% of women polled believed that it was APPROPRIATE for a husband to physically "discipline/scold/correct" their wife. While only 72% of men believed that it was ok. Why do more women believe it is ok to abuse their wives than men? This is a culturally engrained common practice. And I hope to do work with the women of the village in the community center by running an abuse support group.
I have no idea what this looks like yet, but Nile Special, the Budweiser of Uganda, is running huge campaigns right now to stop domestic abuse and I am hoping to get involved in that in some way...possibly by bringing that program to our village...
But what broke my heart as I told Pastor Paul about my story and call that I feel he said "I can promise you will have a very full client list, that is normal, here, it's not ok but it is normal.
As a survivor I am choosing the Joy of the Lord as my strength. Something that I am hoping too show to the women of the village and throughout Uganda as well.
Pastor Paul had started the conversation asking my why I had such a big beautiful smile all the time. That prompted me to say "the Joy of the Lord" and than I began to share my story with him. I told him of my experience with abuse and how easily that mentality became the norm for me. He suddenly began to understand my desire to help these women.
To show them that there is love after abuse. There is hope after abuse! That love is tender, love is kind, love is patient, devoted and honoring of each other...it is not through physical "discipline".
I can't wait to see what comes from all of this. All I know is that I will be taking the next few weeks to pray, seek council, meditate and truly dive into what it is that God has in store for us in Uganda.
Our home is here, and I want my son to grow up in a home that promotes positive touch, gentle love and Godly discipline.
Please pray for the guidance and direction that will be needed to get this support system started. Showing women that they themselves can take care of their children.
The movie that I had a very small extra role in was about just that...a mothers journey to care for her son while experiencing mountains of abuse from all areas of her life. It hit home hard and reminded me why I am here. To start the very long process of breaking the cycle and changing generations mentalities as they grow and marry and raise children.