Jennifer Lawson and her husband Doug are currently serving with Water Missions in Uganda. Jennifer is a mother to two young boys and was kind enough to be a guest writer for us this week as we celebrate mothers around the world for Mother’s Day.
Not long ago, our family became a part of the wonderful team at Water Missions International. Our hearts were full and ready for the adventure of a lifetime: one water engineer, one registered nurse and full time mom, and two wild and crazy boys. As I reflect back on all God laid out in preparation, I am reminded again of how richly blessed I am to be the wife and mother of this amazing unit.
Motherhood in America was challenging enough, but then God called me to take it even further by mothering in a third world country. Three years ago, when we started this journey, God was working in our lives in so many ways, most of them unknown to us. We serve a God who sees the big picture. My mission as a mom had not really changed much since moving to Uganda; God called me to raise two energetic boys and teach them to love Him first. If anything, my mission has actually grown as God has added more people in my life who look to me as “mom”. As I write this blog, I have four girls living in our compound, about 20 ladies in my Bible study class, and three workers that call me Mommy or Auntie.
Before we left for Uganda, I remember our pastor doing a Bible study and he asked us to memorize a verse of scripture: Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” My first-born Wyatt memorized this verse along with me and recited it to the church the following week. I don’t tell you this because it was a proud Mommy moment, although it was, but to explain that I could not comprehend at the time how much that verse would mean to me throughout this journey. God has truly done immeasurably more in the last two years than I could have imagined. He has taught, and is still teaching me to love as only He can love. When I say that while living in a developing country most people think I mean learning to love all the new people God has put before us. While that is very true, most of my learning is in how to adequately love my husband and kids the way God wants me to during this season.
Day to day life for this mama on mission can be great, and sometimes it can keep me on my knees. There have been incredible challenges and changes but right alongside those come countless blessings. I have had to adapt to living on a compound. Our yard is surrounded by tall walls or fencing and has a big gate that is maintained by guards 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These guys and their families are great and have quickly become a part of our family, but it has been something to get used too. Shopping is always an adventure here. I go to a central market for all of my vegetables and to the supermarket in search of other items on the list. There is no easy cooking and for the most part things here simply take time. I have learned to make lots from scratch and we have all tried tons of new and interesting things: fried grasshoppers anyone?
I had the privilege of starting a ladies Bible study in the village of Mutai. Their day to day circumstances are very different than what I am use to and they have very different strongholds, but God has grown me while trying to speak truth to them during this time. I also teach ballet to roughly 23 girls each week. I was never a ballet teacher in the states, but I did take ballet for quite some time while growing up. In the eyes of these sweet little girls who just want to twirl, learn the basics, and have fun, I am more than qualified! God has given me this time to love on these girls, which is nice considering I am the only girl at my own house! I love the fact that God has not just stretched me as a mom to my own kids but stretched me to love as a mom to so many others as well.
No matter where God puts us as moms, we have the privilege of striving to be not just a mom on a mission for our own families, but also a mom with a mission for God’s family, however that may look. Being a wife and a mom in a different country has been the most trying year and a half thus far, but it has also been the most rewarding. I would not trade being a mom for anything in this world (your side or mine), as it is one of the highest callings from God for my life. Being a mom in Uganda has stretched and grown me immeasurable more, and for that I am so grateful! There is Hope no matter where we are today as moms, He is Jesus and He is able! To God be the Glory Forever for this blessing He has put before me.
– Jennifer Lawson