When Chrissy's missionary older brother returns home for a month, it was supposed to be the start of a great summer, one that included a trip to New York City with her graduating class. But when tragedy strikes and her trip to NYC is traded for Uganda for six weeks- she finds her self in a situation she really didn't want to be in. Even though she'd rather be in NYC, maybe this is where God wants her.
Chapter 1 of, "For I Know the Plans."
“Chrissy, watch out!” Carter shouted as he threw himself across me to guard my body. My head started to spin, as I tried to gain control of the car. It was useless, we spun in circles and all of the sudden everything went black and a sharp pain ran through my head. The next thing I heard was sirens and unfamiliar voices shouting words I couldn’t understand.
Where am I? Where’s Carter? What’s going on?
“Chrissy, can you hear me?” Someone asked.
I just nodded, as I slowly opened my eyes; my head pounded.
“Does anything hurt?” the same voice questioned.
“Just my head,” was all I could say without feeling dizzy again.
“You were unconscious for a few minutes, but you will be able to think clearly in just a little while.” By this point I had figured out I was riding in an ambulance, Carter wasn’t with me anymore.
“Where’s my brother? Is he okay?” I asked frantically. Things started to make sense. It was all coming back to me. The shattering of my car, Carter leaning over to guard my body, excruciating pain running through my forehead as it hit the steering wheel and I lost control of the car.
“He’s hurt, but he will be okay. We think he broke his leg, maybe his foot, but we aren’t sure. We are on our way to the hospital.” At this point I could think again, and tears were streaming down my face. Why did this have to happen?
The whole way to the hospital all I could think about was how excited I had been just two weeks ago for Carter’s return from Uganda. This was supposed to be a time of refreshment. It was meant to be a summer filled with long days at the pool with my best friends and a trip to New York. And now, I had no idea what was going to happen next.
- - - - - - - - -
I looked out the car window, counting each exit we passed on the highway. I could feel my heart beating inside my chest. I thought through all that had happened within the last two years. My twenty-four year old brother Carter had left to go to Uganda through an international missions organization. Carly had finished her sophomore year at Gardner-Webb and had started her junior year. I thought about all the days before Carter left for Uganda, I could picture myself watching him board the plane the day he left. I saw all the days he would take me to get ice cream when I had had a bad day. I thought through the emails he sent me about the guest house, about the orphanage, about Rob and Amber, the couple from church he stayed with. He was finally coming home for a month. After two years, he would be home again! It had been a long two years.
As we got off the exit, my heart beat faster.
“Dad, unlock the doors, hurry!” I shouted once we pulled into the airport parking lot.
“Calm down! I’ve got to park first. Someone excited to see their big brother, huh?” He unlocked the doors and I hurried out of the car into the airport, searching through a sea of faces for Carter.
I finally saw him and tears welled in my eyes. He was walking down the terminal off of his plane. I bolted across the room and into his arms; his strong, welcoming, comforting arms as a few of my tears stained his shirt. I stood speechless, breathing in his familiar scent, and things felt a bit more normal for a few seconds before my parents came to join our hug.
The airport was filled with the sounds of families greeting their brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters welcoming their parents. “We’ve missed you so much. How was your flight, and your trip?” my mom yelled above the noise as we stood in a circle and talked.
“My flight was long, but Uganda was incredible, I felt at home so quickly. I have so many stories to tell you guys. But I’m going to need something to eat, airplane food can’t hold you over for long.”
“What do you want?” I asked as we walked out of the airport, and with his arm around my shoulder, we hopped into the car.
“Cookout!” He said decidedly.
“Sounds good,” Dad agreed as he drove us towards town.
“When I go back in a month, we are going to begin working with an organization called Sole Hope. They go into villages and schools and remove jiggers from children’s feet. Jiggers are a sand flea that burrow into the people’s feet and can only be removed with a sharp object like a safety pin or a razor blade. The jiggers are extremely painful for the kids and if they can get shoes, the problem can be easily solved. We’re going to use the orphanage as a place to host jigger clinics for several weeks where people can come for help since it’s such a central location in the city. It’s going to be a lot of work and something new for all of us, but in the end it will be worth it! It’s been something we’ve been planning for a really long time,” Carter said as we rode home after getting dinner. I couldn’t help but be enthralled with everything he said, it seemed so much more interesting than my life had ever been.
“How long will this last?” I asked.
“Well, it will only be in the mornings from about eight to one and it’s going to last about a month. If it goes really well this time, we might do it again later and even go with them to some other villages. We are all really excited about it.”
“How awesome. You guys will change so many lives with all that you are doing there,” Mom commented.
“That’s just what we’re praying for.”
Once we got home, Carter and I headed up to his room to unpack some of his stuff.
“So has it been weird with me and Carly both gone?” Carter asked me as I went back and forth putting things away.
“You have no idea. It just gets so lonely,” I responded.
“I bet,” Carter stared as mom yelled at him from downstairs, “Carter!” she yelled, “I made your favorite caramel cookie brownies!”
“Okay, be down in a minute!” We put away a few more things and went downstairs, greeted by mom bustling back and forth, washing mounds of laundry covered with the aroma of the Ugandan streets, and finishing up Carter’s brownies along with all of his other favorite goodies.
“Mom, I want to show you and Dad my pictures!” Carter said as she walked by carrying a basket of clothes.
“Okay, be there in a minute.” Mom said as she turned the oven off, and sat down in the living room prepared to fold a load of clothes. We all gathered around in curiosity awaiting the stories Carter had to tell.
“So, this picture is of the guest house that Rob and Amber run. We don’t spend a whole lot of time here each day, only in the mornings and after dinner. This one is the orphanage that we usually work with. Usually before lunch, when it’s not too hot, we work on church planting, and then after lunch we work in the orphanage.”
“How many children do they have there?” I asked after seeing some of the pictures of the orphanage.
“Over a hundred, at least. They have kids from birth to age five, I think.”
“In that small of a space?” I couldn’t picture that many kids in such a small place.
“Yeah, their lives aren’t easy.”
The pictures showed a building that sort of looked like it was falling apart, children wearing ragged clothes, but their faces somehow still smiling at the camera.
“You all are part of the church planting program, right?” I asked, trying to get this picture out of my head.
“Yep. But we usually spend half of our days serving in the orphanage. We have found that by serving in the orphanage, and meeting the physical needs of people around Jinja they become more acceptable of the gospel we want to tell them about.”
By 10:00 we had seen all of his pictures and videos. I headed up to my room, and after changing into my pjs, I settled down on my bed with my phone to call my boyfriend of almost two years, Hunter.
“Hey,” Hunter said.
“Why didn’t you answer my calls earlier?” He asked me curiously. I could tell by his voice he was exhausted.
“Remember, Carter came home from Uganda today?”
“Oh yeah! How is he?” He seemed to perk up a bit.
“Great, but really tired. He just showed mom, dad, and I all of his pictures and videos. It took almost two hours!”
“Good grief, how many pictures did he have?”
“Probably 1,000. Enough about me. How are you?”
“All right, it’s just been a long, hard week.”
“I’m sorry. What happened? Have your parents been fighting again?”
“Of course, but now my dad is saying he wants to leave.”
“I’m so sorry, Hunter. I hope things work out.”
“That’s why I’m...” I paused and put my hand over the speaker, as Carter was peeked his head in the door,
“Can we talk?” Carter asked.
“Sure, just a second,” I said to Carter, and then to Hunter, “Hey, Hunter, can I call you later?”
“Love you!” he said.
“Love you too.” We both hung up and Carter walked in.
“So what did you want to talk about?” I asked as he sat down on the foot of my bed.
“Nothing in particular. Just thought we could catch up.”
“Okay. Well, where to start?”
“How about school?” We started talking, first school, then friends, then things going on at home, and occasionally he would throw in some much-needed advice. Then he brought up something I could just tell would be awkward. Church. We go to church. I’m a Christian, but ever since Carter left for Africa I just hadn’t been as serious about reading my Bible, or praying, or surrounding myself with godly influences. He was the one who always encouraged me to do those things.
“How is church?”
“Fine, I guess.”
“Just fine? You used to love it.”
“I know, I guess things are different now.”
“How different? Are you still dating that guy? Oh, what was his name?”
“Hunter, and yes. I don’t know it’s just been different with you gone, I guess I haven’t been as focused.”
“Is he helping with that?”
“Hunter? Helping with what?”
“Is he helping you stay focused, or is he distracting you from growing?”
“You do know it’s 12:30.” I said and crawled under my hot pink bed spread and sheets, wondering if they matched the heat I felt in my face. To distract him, and hoping to change the subject, I threw one of my many frilly throw pillows across the room at him.
“Yes. And don’t change the subject.” He said throwing the pillow back at me and he walked out, “We will talk later, ok?”
“Ok.” I said as he walked out of my room, and peeking his head back in, he said, “I’ve missed you, Chrissy.”
“Missed you more, I’m so glad you’re home.” He walked back in, kissed me on the forehead and walked out saying, “I am too, love you!”
“Love you, too.” I replied and fell asleep quickly after a long, but very good day.
Want to read more? Visit this page to see what I'm doing to publish: http://www.youcaring.com/other/for-i-know-the-plans/99856