I read an article the other day on one of my Facebook groups of expats in Kampala. It was titled something like “The Fraud of Facebook” and went on to tell of a twenty something girl’s summer experience in Uganda. How fraudulent FB was because all she posted was the good times she was having, but not the loneliness and despair she felt after the pic was taken, when she was alone in her room. How she would post pics of her and other Ugandan women dressed in her African clothes but then would eat dinner alone. How she was used for money, proposed to because she was perceived as a wealthy white girl and a ticket of America. Exploited, attempted to be mugged, cheated on prices. At the very end she concluded that maybe FB wasn’t the fraud, maybe it was her own doing because she didn’t post all the struggles and challenges along with the good. Which is the truth. Many of us are frauds when it comes to social media – only posting the highlights of our life, even exaggerating that, but then there are those who use it to post every woe in their lives or to cause turmoil and pain. I have mixed feelings about social media, I get “friended” every week and hit ignore. My purpose in it is to have contact with my close friends and family that live all over, even when I lived in the states we were all separated. Acquaintances and people I don’t even know would ask why I ignore their friend request. I’ve even unfriended people who I felt were just voyeurs, just wanting to have something to talk about when they don’t even really know me. Social media and facebook friends do not necessarily make a relationship.My Mother-in-Law despises FB, too many things are posted without thought to others. I say that isn’t a FB problem, that is a problem of the heart. We are actually pretty private people. If you live next door, in my town and want to be my friend…call me. Let’s do lunch.
All that being said, I understand why the girl was hesitant to put the challenges and struggles out there. The comments after her story were some positive but many from the Ugandan community were pretty ugly. They started saying not every experience or every person in Uganda was like what she experienced. They aren’t but she was only expressing her experience. They also can’t comprehend what a foreigner – especially ones that are perceived automatically to be rich – goes through when in a totally different culture than their own. We have experienced everything that girl experienced. It is lonely, you do feel isolated at times. It has taken us a year and a half to finally feel we have some Ugandan friends. It is not easy, and it would not be easy for them to visit our country either. They would face many of the same things.
I am at times hesitant to tell of all of our struggles. Some are just not anybody’s business. The struggles I have with my husband are private. We are flawed, we’ve been married a long time and we will have disagreements. He has stated he will leave the toilet seat up if he wants to and I have to deal with falling in the cold water in the middle of the night. He lifts it – I can lower it, who’s right and who’s wrong? It’s his right to not do it. But if I post every argument or every thing that drives me crazy, it may color your view and prevent you from seeing the awesome Godly man and husband and father he is. Or I would get emails and prayers for our marriage, encouragement on staying together! And we would be much better served with prayers in other areas. (Even though God knows where the prayers should go!) That is why when I write I try to balance the positive with the negative – I don’t want others thinking negative about a country that has many positive, wonderful people and experiences.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
I try to post honestly, the craziness and all. I pray that more than anything you can laugh along with us over the little things and rejoice in the things God is doing. I don’t tell about the days I lock my bedroom door, put headphones on and search cheap flights to anywhere! Because it only takes a few minutes before the truth kicks in – 1) you can’t run from yourself and 2) You can’t run from the calling God has on your life. You can try but you will be more miserable than you were in the first place. Or the thoughts that sometimes really go through my mind – the tears I have shed over the baby I hear daily crying out of hunger and neglect. How I’ve yearned to keep him in my home and then the next day wanting to punch the guy in the face because he wants me to finance hair plugs.(Don’t worry – God hasn’t given up on me yet!) Probably not appropriate to let you into all the craziness of my mind! Just being honest. But I do try to tell you of some of the struggles we face and pray that I also tell of the joys that far outnumber the struggles. My biggest struggle is the balance of daily facing the little problems, helping Christian with the projects and schooling and teaching Raelee and still sharing the gospel everyday. I try to do my venting in my journals or in posts that will never leave the draft folder. I vent to my dear friends that understand it is what it is, and one that grew up in a missionary family and can understand some of the struggles of living in a foreign culture. I keep some things out that are happening at the time so our parents don’t worry. My prayer is we don’t get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to witness of the love of God to others. for them to know that the reason we are here, the reasoning behind every decision is that we show why – that God sent us here so that they can know His love and His Glory. That the gospel doesn’t get lost in the ministering to others.
Ministering that matters includes love and compassion, a listening ear, prayers , temporal and spiritual support, and teaching by the Spirit.