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Global Outreach International

Why Celebrate Missionaries Coming Home?

10.20.19
by Becky Buell
Serving for a season, but impacting eternity.

Change is a real part of our lives, ever-present. Over the last 3 years, more than 900 missionaries from 11 mission agencies returned home from the field. We wish to HONOR and CELEBRATE our GO missionaries’ time in the field.  The Higginbotham family returned from Uganda recently and share part of their story here.

CALLED FOR A SEASON

In 2017, GR and Heather Higginbotham packed their house, quit their jobs, and moved to Uganda. Together with their daughters, Michaela and Kendall, they set out in faith to move to the other side of the world to adopt a child from Good Shepherd’s Fold (GSF). 

Their journey started in 2015 when GR took a short-term mission trip to serve at GSF. While there, he felt called to adopt a child. By June of 2016, they had been in the adoption process for a year when the law changed for Uganda which now required families to foster for a year in country in order to adopt. The Higginbothams were still awaiting a match.

With this news, they took an even greater step of faith as they decided to live in Uganda as missionaries through Global Outreach. During this time, they received the news that they had received a match: her name was Sadie. By June 2017, they headed to Uganda. By the end of their first week in Uganda, Sadie was living with them. 

The girls started school while Heather and GR served in different ways. Heather began work with a ministry called Amazima as the school librarian. GR is a physical therapist, and did physical therapy at GSF with kids that have special needs and also worked out in the villages.

It was a lot of transition for all of them: a new country and a new family member for the Higginbothams, a new family for Sadie, new work contexts for Heather and GR, new schools for Michaela and Kendall. It was a lot. All the changes weighed on the girls and also on their marriage. They worked through these changes and transitions with lots of communication, creating time and freedom to grieve the losses as part of this journey.

COMING BACK

While the first year was really hard for Michaela and Kendall, by their second year, they had switched schools and really settled in. By the time two years had passed, none of them wanted to come back to the United States. But it was time. 

The intent from the beginning was to return to the U.S. after two years, once the adoption process was complete. They had gone to adopt and to serve. But God had done even more than they expected.  In the time they were there, Heather was able to create the library and leave it in the capable hands of a Ugandan woman to develop even further. GR’s work in the villages resulted in relief and resources for individuals that will continue to impact those communities into the future.

But there was even more than that. Their day guard came to know Christ while they were living there and began attending church with them. The Higginbothams were able to “adopt” single missionaries into their family who were serving in Uganda, spending holidays together and supporting each other in life. These were blessings they had not expected. 

By June of 2019, the adoption process was completed, and the Higginbothams returned to the United States, now as a family of five. To help in their transition back, the Higginbothams attended an excellent week-long program called Abide at TRAIN International (traininternational.org) in Missouri. This provided space and an atmosphere of understanding that proved beneficial for the whole family, giving them a common vocabulary to talk about things as they adjust back to life in the U.S.

As they now look ahead, it is also our privilege to look back with them on this season that has ended to both honor and celebrate all that the Lord has done. What God put on their hearts back in 2015, now has a face and a name: Sadie is now forever part of their family. 

We, at Global Outreach, bless this family and want to say thank you to them for sharing their journey with us.  We join you in celebrating all that God has done!