“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
In 2009, I embarked on a journey that I easily thought would be the greatest adventure of my life, an 11-country, 11-month mission trip experience: The World Race. Traveling around the world within a calendar year not only stamped my passport but forever etched my heart. Sure, I found adventure, but more than that…I found purpose.
Perhaps the question I get asked most often about my experience is how I chose Uganda as the country I’d return to and engage in long-term ministry. I can’t help but to hesitate…to smile…and earnestly respond…
Uganda chose me.
Only God could pluck an Illinois farm girl and plant her heart and feet into the Ugandan soil. How could I not return?
Now looking back over the past 8 years, I can appreciate how sincere but naive we were when co-founders, Mike and Cathy Hafner committed in the faith of Ruth 1:16 to “go wherever I would go” and Field of Hope was born.
What has surprised me the most? I thought it would be easy. Find a problem. Insert a solution. But it wasn’t easy…the good things rarely are. Instead it was messy. It required more commitment, more grit, more resilience than I knew I had. There were cultural misunderstandings, disappointments and learnings. But you know what I also realized…God wasn’t just up to something in Uganda…he was up to something in me. I think it is easy in the West to think we have it all figured out…through our efficiencies…technology and solutions…but Uganda has given me far more than I’ll ever give. God knew what he was doing when he brought us together. He knew I needed Uganda.
Still today, I need Uganda to remind me of the beauty that comes from the broken, the value of faith over comfort and relationships over resources…at the same time reorienting my relationship with resources.
As I think about the success of Field of Hope over the past 8 years and our stewardship of the resources that have been provided, I accredit it to the culture and commitment to integrity and humility that is ingrained in the organization and our leadership. We didn’t know where we were going when we took that first step. And sure, we made a few missteps along the way as we dove into this agricultural development space. But if you remain humble…teachable…committed to doing the right thing…the Lord will show you who you were created to be.
I believe that’s true of a non-profit organization, but it is also true of you…of me…of each of us.
We don’t have to create our identities or the purposes that we were put on this earth for…instead we get the joy of discovering them as we walk with God. I believe the Lord destined Field of Hope to do good works, prepared in advance for us to do…and then He set us on the adventure of humbly discovering what those works were…and transforming each of us through the process.
The journey is not over. In many ways, it has just begun. The Lord has led us to new ventures and more partnerships than we could have ever predicted when we took those first steps 8 years ago…but I pray we will always have that Ruth 1:16 faith to “go wherever He would have us go.”
We are an organization…made up of people…pursuing His purposes in the world…which God prepared in advance for us to do…
Will you join us?