“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ― Leo Tolstoy
My missions journey began with a deep passion for Africa, with a love for a continent that I could not explain or deny. I began traveling there in 2001, did a several month stint in 2006, and then finally moved to Uganda as a missionary in 2008 where I began a non profit called Zion Project that worked to help heal those in war zones and women coming out of sex trafficking. All of this time, I was seeking to extend God’s justice in the earth, to show that love can really change the world.
What I learned through the many difficulties and ups and downs of living in a foreign nation in community with those I was seeking to understand, was that I believe missions is more about God changing our hearts, about putting His heart in our heart, so He can hopefully use us as an extension of Himself. But change is always a painful journey and while I left a young, 24 year old on a mission to save the world, I came back a 32 year old, realizing that saving the world begins with saving myself.
I still love missions. I believe it’s God’s heart for us to reach out to the poor and the oppressed, and fight issues of injustice such as sex trafficking and to extend peace to war torn nations, but what I realized is that we have a lot to learn too. Missions is not as much about all the great things I can do, as much as it is about growing through relationships and growing through listening to Father’s voice. It’s less about the applause and approval of man and more about finding a way to die to yourself.
We cannot give to the world what we haven’t received ourselves. Now that I’m back in the States, my heartbeat is to help others going out as missionaries to catch this vision of seeking our own healing first so we might do more good than harm and so that we might truly understand what ministry is. I spend my time counseling and coaching missionaries on the field so they can be healed up, whole, and thriving in their God-given callings. I probably have more in common with Jamie the Very Worst Missionary then I do with most missions programs. I still feel more at home in a circle of beautiful African women under a mango tree than I do in a church pew, but for now this is where God has me and I’m learning to be present here. Meanwhile in Uganda my team of nationals continue to counsel and bring hope to war-torn nations while I support them from here. You can stay up to date through our facebook page.