I came back transformed

First published 10th May 2014

God is repeatedly asking me to do something, yet I cannot hear what it is. Or perhaps I am not willing to hear what He is saying.

Clare Jefferis reflects on her trip to Uganda in October 2013.

My trip to Uganda last year was transformational. There, Ive said it. Im still unsure of what transformation means, but if it means I came back a different person to the one who went, then Im transformed.

If it means my visit made me question my identity whilst I was there, continued after my return home and made me feel as if I was losing control of my personality, then I was transformed. Shall I start at the beginning?

I convinced myself that I shouldnt go on the Uganda trip; I didnt listen to the voice which was telling me to go. Its easy to blot it out; after all I am a control freak. However God has a way of making Himself heard, in this case it was through Alison and Philip Rowe, whom I know relatively well, Di Barnard, whom I knew only slightly, and my husband, Tim. These people told me that I should go and, in retrospect, I can say I felt His strong direction through their encouragement.

Uganda changed me in a way that cannot be undone and I am unable to return to my previous comfortable spiritual self. This was, and still is profoundly unsettling. I dont know what the future holds and that is scary. Im still unsure of what happened while I was there, but there was a definite and positive internal change and although I dont want to return to the way I was before, it would be easier. God is repeatedly asking me to do something, yet I cannot hear what it is. Or perhaps I am not willing to hear what He is saying.

But, as I seek spiritual guidance, I am increasingly aware that I have a responsibility to speak to others that I now have a burden (a marvelous old fashioned, yet apt word) for the people of Uganda. I have joined the Bristol West Deanery Uganda Link committee to see what I can do practically. I hold the Ugandans I met and heard about in my heart and in my prayers.

I talk about my experience rather a lot. I feel called, yet with no clear destination, this is unnerving. I understand the voice, and I am obedient, but stepping out in faith takes a courage I am still unsure that I possess.

About the author

Clare works for the Meningitis Research Foundation and recently organised a fund raising ball in London that raised a magificent total in excess of 55,000 for vital research. She also wrote a very moving poem about her experiences in Uganda.

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