By Breland Dempsey
The dust clung to my skin as we rode to our hotel. The familiar scent of diesel mixed with cooked food stayed with me as our driver weaved through traffic. I looked out the window, observing the scenery before me, taking it all in while fighting jet lag.
I was in a very intense conversation with God. I wasn’t ready for this. How could I be used by God? I didn’t feel prepared. God, however, was asking me to jump in with both feet.
“Look out at these people that I love. What do you see? Make eye contact with them. What do their eyes tell you?” I heard God say.
I stared into the eyes of Ugandans as we drove past. I wanted to see these people the way God did, to feel for them the way he did.
“They wonder if there is more to life,” I replied. “They want more for their lives. They’re searching for a purpose and for love.”
“Exactly. They’re just like you. They have the same questions you have asked me and I want to use you through the compassion you have to give them those answers, which can only be found in me.”
I took to heart what God said and asked him to show me how. God began to break my heart for what breaks his and to give me his eyes and his words. As the days went on, I saw God take my lack of teaching experience and use me to teach about his power to a group of teenagers on Saturday.
He used my love for children and allowed me to look them in the eyes and tell them how precious they are to their Father God. He took my weaknesses and used them for his glory. He took the things that I considered weaknesses and showed me how they are strengths. He took my testimony and turned it into something powerful.
God has taken me from not knowing who I am and my talents and showing me through breaking my heart and weeping as we drive by the African people.
Compassion, I always thought, was a sign of weakness, but it’s actually a gift. God’s compassion is what enables me to do ministry, not my determination or even my desire. Over the last five days, everywhere I would step I saw God’s presence at work. He loves these people and it’s only when I asked for his heart was I able to be used by him. God’s compassion changes lives.