I really did not know what to expect at all. I knew that any expectations I had would be shaken once I got to Uganda and would most likely leave me broken and disappointed. So I decided to, as much as I was capable of, have no expectations of my semester abroad beside expecting for God to work in those four months. It was incredibly difficult most days but I truly believe it left me more free to experience my semester for all God intended it to be.
As I stood in a circle of friends my last night in the city, I was sad and emotional, but also so aware the Lord was showing me direct evidence of the fruits of my labor. That he was whispering, "Well done. This is how it's supposed to be. This is how life is meant to be lived. It's going to hurt sometimes, because when you invest, it does. But the fact that it hurts so much means you did it right."
One of the biggest changes for me has been shifting the focus from just teaching the stories of the Bible to teaching kids about the real hero of each of those stories, God. Even though we see Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul as the central figures in their stories, God is the person central to everything including our story. Kids need to see God in all His greatness, complexity and wonder.
Beauty for me is when people trust each other, when people smile at each other, and when people help each other. Beauty is honesty. Beauty is truth. Beauty is the sensation of being present in the world, fully encompassing the past and the present to understand exactly where you are.
I genuinely believe that God is the answer for every problem but not everyone is going to come to the church for help. I think that it could be God’s mercy that biblical concepts can be used to help people, and in secular counseling centers perhaps without quoting chapter and verse.
I believe excessive guilt is toxic to a healthy, balanced life. Somewhere along the way we learned that if we just make ourselves feel bad enough about our bodies, our choices, our looks, etc. we'll finally have the motivation to make a change. We've learned to use guilt as a motivator. But this rarely works and if it does, it's a miserable path to take.
Hallie is the 23-year-old founder of Dot Products, a Mississippi-based school supply company that funds education around the world. She's an entrepreneur filled with passion and dreams to help people and end the cycles of poverty in the developing world. Every Dot product that is purchased send one child to school for 1/2 a day. Today, Dot sends children in three countries to school, providing school supplies, tuition, uniforms, and fees to ensure success.
When I share those things it might be big deal to me and I’m inviting others into that. They may or may not get it, but that’s okay. I’m putting myself out there which takes a lot of guts, but I’m glad when I do it and I want others to be willing to put themselves out there too.
Worship can be a lot of things. I just talked about worship being transformation, but sometimes worship is an offering. Sometimes worship is a “get to,” and other times it’s an “I don’t want to, but I’m going to.” So to sum it up, I would say worship means being honest with God. All these things add up to being honest with God, even when I’m falling apart, yet choosing to worship despite how I feel because He deserves it.
I really don’t believe I would have been able to get through college without them because we constantly prayed for each other, held each other accountable, challenged each other and were always having fun! We reminded each other not to take ourselves too seriously and to really enjoy college. I learned through a lot of them that life isn’t always about doing well in school or in anything that you are doing but that you are enjoying the present.