Trusting His promises for 22 years


I was never like the other kids growing up. In High School my friends wanted to be teachers, ranchers, dentists, counselors, and I wanted to go serve God in Africa- exciting, right? Well at that time (1994), it sounded absurd. No one, including my family, knew how to encourage that passion and perhaps concerned for my future!

But one winter night while at high school church camp I felt the Lord’s tangible presence and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.  Amid my tears and prayers, I was stopped by the audible voice of God.  I didn’t know God could speak that way. There was no doubt it was Him. He told me two things: “I love you”, and the word “Africa”. As wild as that sounded at fifteen, I held onto that promise. It wasn’t until 2002, 8 years later, that it came to pass. Nowadays I can’t hold onto a promise of God more than 5 minutes without the temptation of doubt and fear creeping in.  I remember how I cherished that promise like a secret between best friends, and when I flew across the globe to Uganda, I was not alone.

God taught me early on how to dream big. (Him and later Bob Goff!). With Holy Spirit as my guide, He introduced me to a village community that understood His miraculous ways and needed a storyteller. I saw firsthand accounts of suffering and pain. I wept with mothers who had lost their babies. I held the hands of hundreds of malnourished children. I witnessed droughts, floods, disease and death. But I also witnessed light that pierced the darkness through local believers who were bringing hope to the hopeless. I’ve never met such mighty men and women of faith. Together with their vision and mission, ROWAN was established to love and serve widows and orphans affected by AIDs.  If you have ever been somewhere or met someone where your heart felt like it was leaping out of your chest with joy, you know how I felt. Maybe God knew that about me all along.

In short, it’s been a 22-year journey with ROWAN (Rural Orphans and Widows AIDs Network). Did I know how to start a nonprofit? No. Create a Strategic Plan? Heck no. Fundraise? Never. And yet in each phase, when I wanted to throw in the towel yet again, I was reminded of the promise in 1994. I can’t tell you how often I sink back into that chapel pew and envision that night; the Lord’s loving presence. Suddenly everything around me fades and I find the peace that began the journey. I find my voice in His voice. And there I find hope for the widows. The orphans. For me.

So, some other big events happened in my life since then. While I was traveling across the globe, I met the man of me dreams, got married, moved to a small town in the mountains of Colorado, had a beautiful baby girl in 2016, and became passionately involved in our local community. So if someone asked me, “How are you able to navigate working with ROWAN full time while involved in all these things?” My honest answer would be, “One day at a time!” There have been many months where I easily became overwhelmed and believed the lie that I was a failure. I needed to be fundraising more for ROWAN. I needed to be doing more homeschool activities for my daughter. I need to be making healthier meals. I need to work 3 other jobs for side income. I could be “doing” more…

But when I get quiet, truly quiet in my mind, I remember His promise.

Not just the Africa part, but the “I love you” part. He didn’t say He loved what I can do for Him. He didn’t say He loved what I could achieve for Him. He just loves me, as I am.

And there are hundreds of promises of God to you personally in scripture. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. He will never leave you. He will always be there with you. He will never fail you. Never.

 I got a call in March of 2022 that an international mining company was entering our villages in Uganda to displace and destroy ROWAN plus up to 2 million lives. 2 million.  I became numb to the world around me. I remember getting in my car, driving in circles, and crying out, “WHY LORD? This feels too hard. I don’t know what to do.” I didn’t hear anything audible, but I was reminded yet again of His promise. He not only loved me, but He loved the people in Uganda more than I ever could, and He never fails them. I took a deep breath, and muttered, “Ok Jesus. I am all in. Show us what to do.”  And as darkness tried to create despair yet again, Jesus was right there. He spoke to me 30 years ago so He would be glorified and do miraculous works through His children today.

Friends, leaning on His promises is not just a far-off concept for me; they carry me through my days and quiet the lies that masquerade in my mind. His promises to you are binding; a forever abiding covenant that can never be broken. Our relationship begins with His promises, and all He asks of us is to trust His promises are true. May 2024 begin and end in His promises. 

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