I just spent the morning with my friend Ken. He’s leaving tomorrow for Uganda, where he’ll spend the next five weeks or so with two teams of amazing people, who will be there to help Loving One by One do what they do so well. He’s leaving without me.
Over the next five weeks, 50 or so people in two separate teams will help with medical and other needs in some of the world’s poorest areas. They’ll ride around on a bus driven by Henry, the World’s Greatest (i.e., craziest) Driver, and they’ll get up every morning and spend each day changing people’s lives. This time, they’ll do all that without me.
Some days, these amazing people will find children who can’t walk because of damage to their legs or spine, probably due to malnutrition. They’ll be able to meet these kids, talk with them, and possibly help some of them. They’ll meet people who are dying in the hospital from HIV or malaria, or severe burn injuries, and they’ll get to be some of the last friendly people many of these people will talk to before die. They may also find one or two children who have lost their parents and need a place to live, and they’ll be part of giving those children a new family.
I’m not making any of this up – all those things happened last July while I was in Uganda, and all those things are somewhat typical when a LOBO team comes into the area to help.
But this time, they’re leaving without me. I can’t do the trip this year, and I’m kind of bummed about that. The schedule of the Uganda trip this year doesn’t work for me.
So I’m thinking and planning and praying for next year. Like many people who have traveled with Loving One by One to Uganda, I can’t imagine not going again, soon. So next year is the goal. Being at Ken’s house these past several days, seeing all the bags packed and watching another trip come together in the final stages, made me both excited and frustrated. Excited for what’s about to happen in Uganda, and frustrated because it’s going to happen without me this time.
Some of you, when you read this this, will think this is exciting and you’ll be happy about a new team going to Uganda, but that’s it. And that’s fine. But others will read this and think, “That’s how I feel. Another team is leaving, and I’m not on it, and I feel like they’re leaving without me, too.”
So do me a favor. If you’re in that second category and you feel like I do, that you’re being left behind this time, contact me and let’s think about the possibility of going together next year. Don’t let them leave without us again.
Charley, I too am experiencing the “left behind” syndrome — torn among job responsibilities here, financial limitations —the needs of my aging parents–and the problems of my damaged spine. And yet- I would love to be in the whirl of travel, prep, children’s laughter, with tears of joy, a breaking heart of compassion, to know that we are as close to walking with Jesus as we can be.