More Than All We Ask or Imagine - My Journey
How it started
My own journey started at the ‘rim of the funnel’ when I was 16 years old trying to figure out what I wanted to study at university. I chose Environmental Engineering because I wanted a profession where I could serve God and help people.
Knowing that so many children die unnecessarily from contaminated water, I thought helping provide clean water around the world could be that avenue. When I graduated, I felt like I didn’t have the knowledge or experience to go overseas right away and took an engineering job in the United States.
It took another 8+ years and yet, the desire to live and serve overseas never faded. During that time, God taught me valuable lessons and skills I would need in Uganda.
How I joined EMI
I remember the day I made a call to EMI inquiring about a staff position. I was told that the way to start was to go on a project trip and asked if I’d looked at the trip listings. I said yes, but the one that I was looking at left in only a couple weeks.
Suddenly, ‘the marble dropped down’ and before I knew it, a couple weeks later, I was on my way to Mozambique and had more monetary support than I needed for the trip. More than I had asked or imagined.
This led to a trip to Uganda to visit the newly formed office and eventually to joining the staff in Uganda in 2005.
More Than All We Ask or Imagine - The Highs
Many encouraging moments come to mind:
There was a small Bible college that gained sufficient water for their needs allowing for solid Bible teaching for pastors in remote locations.
Orphanages and schools have now been built, providing homes and education for children and teaching them about Jesus.
Vocational facilities have been built to help people gain skills, income, and dignity.
Clinics now provide services to those who would otherwise not have any access to health care.
In many cases, I am no longer in touch with these ministries, but I trust that they are being used to His glory and to further His Kingdom.
More Than All we Ask or Imagine - The Lows
But there were times of discouragement too.
I believe that all events in the lives of Christians are for our good and for God’s glory. But I readily admit that there are many times that I do not understand how that is being accomplished.
There were several periods during my time in the Uganda office where there were only two professional staff and a few support staff. There were no professional Ugandan staff.
We had a project in Northern Uganda during the end of the terror of the LRA to design an orphanage for children affected by the war.
We later learned of deception and corruption within that organization and the facility was never built. Was the whole thing a waste? Maybe not.
I trust that somehow it was for the good of all involved and somehow can be turned to God’s glory.
...And Everything In Between
Over a dozen years after leaving Uganda, this April, I had the honor of meeting the current EMI leadership cohort and their facilitators.
I couldn’t believe the number of people who introduced themselves with “I was in the Uganda office for 5 (or more) years…” and currently there are 40+ staff!
Now, after 20 years of projects I cannot fathom the number of lives impacted for Christ. Wow!
More than we could ask or imagine, indeed!
Janet (Strike) Ausel