Chasing My Lion With Joy | 1010 Park Place
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Chasing My Lion With Joy

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It’s here. The week of “chasing my lion” has arrived, and I am about to embark on a journey with so many unknowns. I’m headed to Uganda to lead women’s conferences in Pader and Soroti, remote communities where the majority of the women can’t even read or write. Their towns and their people were ravaged by Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army for 20 years, and many of their friends and family were killed. Those who remained were traumatized. Many were infected with HIV/AIDS. The war ended around 2008, but the effects remain. Poverty, AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and starvation are constant problems. 

​The women are the backbone of their communities. They earn the income for the family, work the fields and raise the children. A large number of children were orphaned during the war so many of the women are not only raising their own children but also orphaned ones. Lack of education, combined with school fees for all schools, makes breaking the cycle of poverty very difficult.

I’m going with my friend Holly, who’s been visiting one of the communities three times, yearly, since 2013. Her first mission trip turned into a passion for helping the women lift themselves up out of poverty. Over the past few years, she’s taught them to make beads out of paper, which they turn into lovely jewelry and purses, which Holly brings home to sell. What started out with a small group of 20 women has grown to over 100. Women walk for miles for her craft days when she’s there.

As we prepare for the conferences, I’ve already learned so much about these women. Just like us, they have negative beliefs that hold them back. They experience fear, doubt, shame and unforgiveness. They want to live with purpose and to glorify God in all they do. As they have gotten to know one another in their communities, they’ve learned to be supportive and generous. They don’t know much about the western world, which in many respects is a blessing. No social media, no pressure to achieve, no clutter to fill up their minds and homes.

I’ve also learned they operate on “Uganda time,” not rushing through their days but being truly present with those they’re with. They don’t cut conversations short to rush off to an appointment, and being late by an hour or two is the norm. Perhaps they value relationships more since they’ve lost so many. They are making the most of their days, because they know each one is precious.

As a speaker I’ve always been taught to prepare, rehearse and deliver a memorable presentation. This time, I am holding my plans loosely. I’ve been asked to guide the women through thought-provoking exercises to deal with their self-sabotage, discover their God-given callings and view the future through new eyes. This time, I am prepared to be spontaneous, flexible and patient. We may not cover all my carefully scripted agenda, but I want to leave with them knowing they have immense value and purpose just as they are. No matter what their past stories, each of them was put on this earth for something very special. Even in poverty, they can flourish.

My life’s purpose is “to inspire joy by awakening worth.” As I do my best to inspire each woman I meet over the two weeks I’m in Uganda, I have a feeling my joy will overflow as they teach me more than I teach them. I look forward to sharing my journey with you when I return!


7 Comments

  • Reply 1010ParkPlace June 21, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Susan, Your post moves me more than you can imagine, and I pray God keeps you safe and directs you as you travel and inspire these deserving women. They don’t know it, yet, but God has sent them an angel. Your heart is full of love for Him, and them, even though you haven’t met them. You will make a difference in how they see themselves, of that I am certain. Just by being you and reaching out to them, you will be an example of another Godly woman, a role model. Yes, don’t rush. Don’t worry if you don’t get to your lessons the way you’d envisioned. You will be exactly what they need at that moment in time. I’m excited for them and for you. What a life changing experience for all of you. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Karen Austin June 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Susan: It’s wonderful to read about this work that you and others are doing in support of these strong, loving women across the Atlantic.

  • Reply Diane June 21, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I stand in awe of you, Susan. You are a light to the rest of us. Bless you for what you are doing!

  • Reply Donna O'Klock June 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I cry as I write this, I am so touched. I am happy for you to be achieving your dream of doing this trip.
    And I am even happier for the women you will bring together, teach, inspire, love, and learn from.
    What a miracle it is for you all to live your lives half-a-world apart… and to bravely meet now for each other’s upliftment!
    Save travels, dear friend.

  • Reply Antionette Blake June 21, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    God bless you as you embark on this new journey in your life, I applaud you.

  • Reply Esther Zimmer June 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Susan, what you’re doing is amazing. I have so much admiration for you and how you live your life and I’m sure you will inspire – and be inspired by – the women of Uganda. I cannot wait to read about your journey! Safe travels, Esther xxw

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