I miss Africa.
I miss the people. They welcomed with such genuine hospitality.
I miss the children. They were so innocent and full of joy and love for all.
I miss the culture. Those moments of being so humbled at the way they love me and show me without realizing it what it looks like to have the heart of Jesus. They give out of their need and not out of their want. They know what true sacrifice is, so then they know what true joy in sacrifice is and what true joy is when God provides.
I miss Rita Joyce who dared to dream dreams with you while she boldly proclaimed the Gospel.
I miss Patience who clung to your every word because it is what brought her life.
I miss Rosemary. So gentle, compassionate and hungering for more of you.
I miss Harriet who is so full of life and love for others.
I miss Florence who knows what it means to choose you and to choose trust no matter her circumstance.
I miss Joyce who so compassionately shared the love of Jesus with those at the hospital.
I miss Geoffrey who never missed an opportunity to encourage others.
I miss Patrick. He is a Timothy. He chose you and he never misses an opportunity to bring someone into the presence of the Father.
I miss Dennis who is so full of passion and devotion to you.
I miss Allan who just wanted all of you even if it meant leaving behind his old life.
I miss John who served us with such humility and joyfulness when we came in to his restaurant.
I miss Ida who always was giving of herself and her things. She never passed up an opportunity to bless someone through provision.
I miss Winnie who was so overwhelmed and amazed at the love of the Father and that He is Love.
I miss Churchill who tends to the children of the church so faithfully, gently and lovingly. He lost his earthly father, but now has the opportunity to know you as his true Father, more than most of us ever will. And through everything in his life, his faith never wavers.
I miss Paul who is so full of faith like a child and lets his faith and love for you determine where he goes, not his age.
I miss Gloria who is real, talkative and a good friend. She wants everyone to feel loved and noticed and they do when they are with her.
I miss Stanley who so boldly and faithfully walks in the power of the Spirit and jumps at every opportunity to share your Gospel.
I miss Agnes who so gently and firmly took care of us like a grandmother. She is steady always.
I miss Eunice who is always ready to give a hug, ask, “How is the day” and laugh with you.
I miss Simon Peter who is full of genuine kindness.
I miss Sunday who is faithful and committed.
I miss Simon Peter 2 who is quirky and always joyful.
I miss Lawrence who receives a gift from You with such humility and even at an old age is ready to learn more because he hungers for more of you daily.
I miss Richard who is living out what it means to be a man after your own heart and daily walks in boldness because he knows who he is in Jesus.
I miss Samuel who laughs with such a deep, hearty laugh because he is so joyful. He is humble and wants more of you.
I miss David and Janet who so beautifully father and mother those around them and who willingly give up all to follow you.
I miss Miriam who so gracefully made herself willing to be used by you because she has your heart for the people of Gulu.
I miss Mekala who even as a 12 year old wants to embrace what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. She is one who gives generously and freely because it’s been freely and generously given to her.
I miss Innocent who does everything as if he is doing it for the Lord. Joyfully, faithfully and 110%.
I miss Diana who never wants to miss an opportunity to laugh and dance before her Jesus.
I miss Mary and her friends in P7. They let you in that day. If even for a moment, they were bold enough to let down their walls and let you love them. Your love has been forever stamped on their hearts.
I miss Lawrence and his willingness to step up and lead, yet his humility in learning.
I miss Moses who is so full of passion and joy for you. He understands the simple truth of the Gospel and lives his life from that place.
I miss Stella who chose you one day in the Market and then humbly chooses you every day.
I miss Paul, aka Big Fish, who diligently, steadily shepherds his flock.
I miss Ronald, his willingness to help and to unashamedly proclaim Jesus to others. He had a humility that was rare in their culture.
I miss Habakkuk and Benjamin who left a life of alcohol and self-fulfillment for a life of hope and fulfillment in being loved by the Father. They sharpen each other better than any people I know.
I miss Christine who welcomes every person no matter their age or condition as she sits down to spend time with them, honor them and love them. She mothers better than anyone I have ever seen.
Lord, there is no book that has Rita Joyce’s picture on the front or Christine’s story inside its pages. Richard is not being called to speak at huge conferences. To the world they are anonymous. But to you, they are heroes. They are faithfully and passionately advancing your Kingdom in Gulu-town. And what is beautiful is that they do not do it for the fame or recognition. They do it because they are radically and outrageously loved by you and all they want to do is return that love. Thank you, Lord, for the blessing and honor of letting me meet them. You did not need me to go to Africa and join with them, but you let me and for that I am forever grateful.
Lord, I pray, I can love with the passion, boldness, confidence, grace and reckless abandon that these heroes of the faith do every single day.