Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A New Chapter

Transitioning to a first world country from a third world country after 2 years isn't as easy as it looks. Steven puts it well when he says "never have we had less". We came back with no congregation, no home, no car, no jobs, no furniture and very little possessions. When you haven't had a job that gives you a real paycheck in 2 years it's pretty challenging to get those things. It's been a rocky and slow start. Just today I'm completely unpacking my suitcases for the first time in 3 months, because we have moved over 10 times between different people's homes. To say it's been a bit overwhelming, is to understate it. Where we thought we'd be by now is far away.

I'll take just a few sentences to be competently realistic about this. Maybe it can help some who plan to serve where the need is great in a foreign country or are... To be frank, you will face tests upon coming back. We actually feel coming back is harder than it was to go to Uganda. Well meaning people will say some really unkind or discouraging things that can be hurtful or frustrating. And some people will act like they just don't care what you've done. Not that we need validation or special recognition. We feel as though we did what we ought to have done with our circumstances. But there is a wish for some empathy; because of the monumental changes, huge sacrifices, and enormous challenges that were faced...stuff you feel shaves years off your life. Bouncing back in not automatic, positivity isn't instant, and sometimes there's really no 'everything just falling into place'... Satan will try to taint the cherished memories you have from your experience and you'll be faced with the question: Was it really all worth it??? To turn the light back on; YES! It's worth it! There is a lesson learned in every challenge. Jehovah is training. Even if you have no idea right now what the lessons are, or how this training will benefit you. Just remember:

  • Romans 5:3 "let us rejoice while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance” 
  • James 1:4 “But let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything." 
  • 1 Peter 4:12, 13 “Beloved ones, do not be surprised about the fiery trials that you are experiencing, as though something strange were happening to you. On the contrary, go on rejoicing over the extent to which you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, so that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory.

Sorry if that lacked tact. I feel to be blunt is a necessary thing. Usually I'm all rainbows and butterflies, but that's not realistic sometimes. That's why this ^ is in the Bible. As one brother put it harshly, but so oddly refreshing... "No one asked you to go to Uganda... SO STOP COMPLAINING!" So this is where I stop. Sorry that was more than a few sentences.

We're moving on, and hope for many more adventures with Jehovah if he allows us. But Uganda is still a piece of our heart and always will be. We've been able to keep in contact with many people and have even been able to conduct studies over the phone with two people who live hours from the Kingdom Hall there. Upon leaving we got so many lovely encouraging letters! I look at these to keep me going and remind myself why...



Here are some of the sweet things they said... 

"I wish for you to stay not go. We wish Jehovah's blessing on you. You will be in our prayers. Thank you for teaching us about Jehovah. May we progress and reach our goal of baptism. Everywhere we go, we must serve Jehovah..." David (9 years old) 


"I am thankful for the wonderful times we spent together in Uganda. Thank you a lot for the help you gave given to my family. We love you Niki and Steven. We thank Jehovah for the wonderful people like you." Veronica and her children 


"I am very happy to have you as my Bible teacher and Jehovah. I will always love you wherever you are. I will miss you so much my best teacher and my best friend. I will be strong and may we meet again in the beautiful place named paradise..." Mary Akon


"Friendship doubles our joys, and halves our sorrows. Thank you for showing us that kind of friendship. Over our many years that Derek and I have spent here, people have come and gone. Many only enter the peripheral vision of our hearts, but, you have entered the focal point of our hearts. We will never forget you." Jennifer & Derek Burrell

"Thank you for sacrificeing your pleasures to share in the ministry in Uganda. Jehovah will never forget your good works, and he will bless you for what you have done." Rebecca 

Expressions like these make all the problems we faced in Uganda and all the problems we face coming back more than worth it. A scripture I shared with all of my students before leaving was Colossians 2:5-7 "Though I am absent in body, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, just as you have accepted Christ Jesus the Lord, go on walking in union with him, being rooted and built up in him and being stabilized in the faith, just as you were taught..." May they do that, and may we do the same. 


5 comments:

  1. Nikki,

    Those letters are beautiful! How happy they must make you feel. Never ever regret that beautiful experience you were able to enjoy. That would not be fair to you or to them.

    I can't completely know what you are feeling but I can tell you that I am very proud of both of you. I know this has made a huge impact on your lives that will never be forgotten. This system stinks and getting back on track from this type of situation is not easy. At one time Jerry and I BOTH lost our jobs and it was tough. Trust me! But eventually, in time, it all worked out.

    Once thing I can tell you is that working at the facility has availed me to meeting C.O.'s that are no longer able to serve because of advanced age; ones that left everything to attend SKE; ones that didn't know if they would be able to support themselves while at SKE and so many other situations. What I have seen with all of them is that it all worked out. Even ones that were in full time service at SKE and now had to purchase their own cars with little to no funds. Everyone of them was able to do it! I was amazed at how things worked out. It is a time of truly trusting in Jehovah to make it work. And this is what I know for sure: If we keep Jehovah first, he will take care of us. He is not causing miracles and it may not be in the time we think it should be, but he will make it work out.

    As for ones that say the wrong things. They are imperfect and don't realize what they say hurts. Happens all the time! Just happened to me last week! Lol. But they don't have the inner joy that you both have for what you did in Uganda. No one can take that from you. So...ignore them. Have joy remembering those ones you learned to love in Uganda. AND keep serving Jehovah. He will take care of you. That I know for sure.

    Love you girl!
    Jannette

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Jeanette. I know that no one means to say anything negative to hurt or discourage us. People just say things sometimes without really thinking about it, and some people just don't understand...it's one of those things that it's hard to know about unless you've lived through it. But anyways we kind of feel like Job, no matter what trials we face we know that we have to keep our integrity. There's no other place to go in this world where we'll will be better off, that's for sure! And we know that Jehovah works out things in his own time. So thank you for your prayers and your kind words. We will keep enduring and know that Jehovah sees it all and in the meantime it's good training for our next Theocratic adventure with Jehovah. Thank you again. Love you too!

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  2. Lisa Nkgare - BotswanaMarch 28, 2017 at 1:14 PM

    Niki
    Though I have not lived your way of life as you made sacrifices​ while in Uganda, I can understand the changes that were needed mentally and emotionally when coming to live in a third world country. And I can understand though I have not tried returning to the States and trying to adapt to life in the real world as some would like to state to freely. These adjustments come at a higher price when once you have lived a more simple lifestyle then what you are now surounded by. Adjusting to finding jobs a home adequate transportation and yes even a new Cong becomes more stressful when our friends or family who are more rapped in their own daily struggles forget what you are trying to readjust to.
    I really appreciate your openness and reality check by allowing us a glimpse into the challenges you have both been dealing with.
    I am sure that those who are considering going abroad from any other country will value your candid expressions​ as you wrote this new chapter of your life.
    Please always realize as Jannete mentioned Satan is loving the stress that is being felt do to your returning home under the perhaps less than desired circumstances that you are both in the middle of, please don't allow him to steal even a moment of your joy you had while in Uganda or the joy you receive each time you think about those you left behind in Uganda.

    May Jehovah protect you and help you continue to adjust until life is as settled as possible in this old system.

    Hugs
    Lisa Nkgare -- Botswana--

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    1. Thank you Lisa. We too underestimated the difficulties that we would face upon coming back. We thought things would work out a lot faster and be a lot easier. There's where it's one of those things that you just don't really get unless you have to go through it yourself. But we appreciate the support that we get from friends and family. And we know Jehovah allows things to happen to even the best of his people. So we are no different! We have to endure difficulties just like all those faithful ones of the past. If it was easy then something would be wrong! And we know that by our integrity we can prove saying a liar every day. And that is definitely a worthwhile pursuit. Thank you for your encouragement and your prayer. We appreciate you taking the time to write us even though we've never met in person. May Jehovah bless you both there in Botswana.

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  3. I thought I might leave a few words to encourage you guys!I've been reading all your posts and really you will and are already (I'm sure) blessed for all those sacrifices!
    Coming back is definitely not easy! We feel for you. We've been back from our need greating adventures for 1 year 1/2 and it's still painful to hear some comments and to really feel at home where we are now but Jehovah has been helping us every step of the way. The struggle is not over but we'll get there. You will too! We've experienced the living at multiple places, the luggage scattered at different people's places and so on... hard! but we try to remember 1Peter 5:10
    Take care and may our Grand Creator continue to be with you.

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