Hey friends! As you may have heard, I’m heading back to Uganda with Michelle Long. I can’t wait! It’s been three years since I was there and I’ve been biding my time, itching to go back as soon as possible. Why now? Here’s a run down of how it got into my blood and what I’ve done to keep up the work.
Just a little history for you:
Summer 1998 – missions trip to France with Teen Missions International. Here I fell in love with overseas travel, with working for a greater good (i.e. being motivated by my spiritual principals and trying to live out what Jesus said: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give water to the thirsty (as well as a bunch of other things!)
Summer 1999 – I couldn’t wait and had to go again! I went to Zimbabwe with Teen Missions again. Loved it!
Summer 2000 – graduated from high school and wanted to go again. My parents said since I wanted to be a music teacher, any trip would have to do with music. So I took a year off before college and went to Papua New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators for six months. I worked with Bruce McFarland (my former high school band director) and learned so much about working abroad and missions work.
2001-2005 – I went to college and got my bachelor’s degree in music education from Hope College.
2006 – 2013 – I taught as a music teacher in Rochester, NY primarily at The Charles Finney School teaching music.
February 2011 – The Charles Finney School partnered with the Ugandan Water Project to fund a rainwater collection system (in Kasiribiti) and send some students over, with ME as one of the chaperones!
August 2011 – It was such an amazing time in Uganda that I had to go back. I was getting my master’s in music education at the time and decided to do my research project in Uganda that summer. I went with UWP Team 10 and Mel Muscarella and was completely hooked for working in Uganda.
August 2012 – I graduated with my master’s in music ed from the Eastman School of Music.
Summer 2013 – I moved from Rochester, NY to Baltimore, MD to start working at the McDonogh School as a middle school band director. McDonogh also just partnered with the UWP to fund a rainwater tank that is going to Rakai. How awesome!
Summer 2014 – The plan is to go BACK to Ugandan AGAIN (it’s been too long!) and continue working with the Ugandan Water Project.
Through all of my work with various organizations and in various places around the world, I love the UWP and I love Uganda. While I am really excited about the work that my friends do elsewhere, this is a great fit for me. I have made some friends in Uganda that I can’t wait to partner with again to go to Uganda and empower folks to live out the life God has for them! My life’s mission statement (I know, I know, that sounds a little cheesy, just go with it) is to encourage, empower, and inspire. I want to do that in everything I do. In Uganda, this starts with water. Water gives life. Out of my spiritual values I am motivated to go and start there. Everyone deserves a life and so it’s time to start with the basics. Are you with me?