Brady and Alicia Searl are missionaries serving in discipleship ministries in Uganda. They recently made the move to Uganda with their young son, Gabe. In this #GoGrowChange post focusing on the theme “dirt,” Alicia shares the challenges that come with such a move and how God’s provision was with them every step of the way. (All photos were taken by Brady and Alicia.)
“We have been living in Kampala, Uganda, for the past four months. We had been anticipating our move abroad over the past two-and-a-half years, and it sometimes feels surreal to look around and be in the place where God had been preparing us to serve for so long. Our journey has not been easy, but we serve a God whose plan is bigger than ours, and He has been faithful during our journey to the mission field. Being in a place of reliance on God for funding and provision did not come naturally to our family’s American mindset of planning, preparing, and reliance on our means of stability. One of those means of stability was our jobs. Brady was working for a company where he was offered over four promotions during our time of committing to the mission field. Each time we felt God was prompting us to continue to trust Him rather than seek earthly wealth and opportunities. It came to a point where we knew we had to move away from our jobs and home and move back to Kentucky, where we had family and roots, to finish up our support raising. It was very humbling to move back in with my parents and fully rely on God and the generosity of family and friends to survive.
“Our time in Kentucky allowed us to fully focus on preparing for the mission field and was a rich time of connecting with our close friends and family. It’s funny how when we actually take steps that God has prompted us to take, He provides in even richer ways.
“One of the challenges of this season was preparing to pack and saying our goodbyes. Even though our time in Kentucky was less than a year, we made strong connections with old friends, created new friendships, and spent quality time with family. Preparing to pack a family of three for three years is not an easy task. We had sold many of our belongings and now had the task of deciding what to pack in eight 50-pound trunks. I wasn’t sure our marriage was going to last after many debates about what I found important and what Brady found important. I once again had to rely on God to provide for us and not lean on my own understanding of comforts and necessities.
“Our first few months have brought about more changes, and we are learning to lean on God for comfort. We have been adjusting to living in a crowded city and learning to live without some comforts, like air conditioning and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We have been adjusting to sitting through more than three-hour long church services and driving in standstill traffic. God has provided more important things for us, like a supportive team and friendships. We have been learning Luganda and making many mistakes, like putting emphasis on the wrong part of the word Amazi and turning ‘I would like some water’ into ‘I would like some poop.’ On days where we become frustrated in our learning, we will have an experience where someone comments on how well we are doing with learning the language and provides us with some encouragement needed to continue to practice and study.
“Through the challenges and ‘dirt’ of living abroad, we have great joy in knowing that we are now truly living in the space that God laid on our hearts for several years. He continues to mold and shape us into the vessels He created us to be. We are thankful that we serve a God who walks with us through the good and bad and calls us to get ‘dirty’ sometimes.”
WGM can help you get involved in the Searls’ ministry in Uganda. Visit www.wgm.org/searl to give or stay connected, www.wgm.org/uganda for a list of service opportunities in Uganda, and BradyandAliciaSearl to follow them on Facebook.