Losing Sight of Land

8:25 AM

Last November, I booked a flight to Uganda. At the time, June seemed like a century away. Now it is June 1st and I am sitting at the airport with a hiking backpack, a mosquito net and the biggest butterflies I think a person can experience. In Dallas Texas is my cousin, Anna. Anna has been my best friend since the moment we got matching PJ’s for Christmas in 1991. Growing up, we always dreamed about the things we would do, the places we would go. And of all the countless games of “House” and make believe adventures, never would I have imagined we would be heading to Africa together. What do you do when your make believe adventures turns into real life ones? I guess, you blog. 

So why Uganda? It seems to be the hardest question to answer and yet the most fulfilling. Because each time that I tell it, I see the footprints of God more and more. Let me tell you a story or two: 

-When I was in Kindergarten, we had a unit on african cultures. And even as a Kindergartner, I found the study of Ugandan culture absolutely intriguing. 

-Six years later a man came to my church youth group. He was a missionary from Uganda that rescued children who had come out of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He told us about a warlord that abducted children in their sleep. I was uncomfortable with it. Before he left, he gave me a picture of a little girl to pray for, to remember.

-Three years after, a group of Invisible Children Roadies came to a conference I was attending. Their story sounded too familiar and I thought back to the picture of that little girl and the discomfort that I had felt. I had not forgotten her and it disheartened me that this conflict was still happening. I was mad that SOMEBODY wasn’t doing something about it.

-Four years later, I decided I was going to do something about it. I became an Invisible Children Roadie & became teammates with that same boy I saw in the documentary years prior. I showed him my favorite youtube videos and in exchange he showed me what it is to persevere and dance all the way through it. At the end of my time on the road, I watched him leave on a plane back home to Uganda, my heart broken unsure of whether or not I would see my Ugandan brother again.

-One year after seeing him off, I find myself at the airport waiting to board a flight to Uganda. The mind of that kindergartner, the discomfort of that 12 year old and the action of that Roadie have all led me here, to this very seat. You know those thoughts that you can never seem to get out of your mind? I think they stay there for a reason. Oprah has a quote that I go back to over and over again and that is this: “EVERY MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE IS PREPARING YOU FOR AN OPPORTUNITY THAT IS TO COME.”

When I stop to think about the ways in which I have been prepared for this very trip, I am overwhelmed. The support I have received, the encouragement from complete strangers and the stories shared on four months on the road. They all accumulate to this.

So what am I going to be doing?
That is a good question, one that I have been asking myself for months, and one that I continue to need prayer for. My itinerary is fragments of an adventure that I know I can not piece together from my comfortable American life. The itinerary as of now is just to GO, to LEARN, to help when I can and listen when I should. I used to think I needed to have everything planned out, but my life has proven that if I accept the call to go, the rest works itself out.

My mom texted me this morning with this prayer and it is one that I will be praying and one I hope you will pray along with me:  

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope and love” -Sir Francis Drake circa 1950

So with the backpack the size of me and a cousin waiting for me in Texas, I am on my way hoping “I lose sight of the land and find the stars”. Thank you for reading and for being. I would be delighted if you would join me along this journey. And finally, can I encourage you: That thought, that dream, that you can’t seem to rid yourself of. Maybe today is the day to buy that plane ticket, or to apply for that job or to take the first step in doing what you have always wanted. Limits are illusions of the mind. I love you all.

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  1. You inspire me, Madeline MacDonald. You always have. You always will.

  2. Wish I were on a flight headed to Dallas right now; my family is only 2 hours from there. Have a safe trip and see you in Gulu soon! I know Boni is super excited to see you again!

  3. Just so you know--I plan on reading your blog every day. Praying you find more opportunities than you could have ever dreamed! Can't wait to see how God uses you. Love you Mads!