|Courtney and Morgan at Mbewau|
|Loving on the children of Kenya.|
Six years ago I saw a video that would change my life forever. My friends David and Kim Hayes had just returned home from their first mission trip to Kenya and they were excited to share their experiences with me. From the moment I saw pictures, heard the voices of the precious children singing, and saw the work that the Lord was doing through Chris and Lisa Moore and Real 4 Christ Ministries in Kenya, I knew God was calling me to go. It would take two years for me to work out the logistics and finances, but in June of 2011, I was on the plane headed to Mombasa, Kenya, and my life has not been the same ever since.
As soon as I began spending time in Kenya, I fell in love with the Kenyan people and children, with the country, the language, and the culture. I fell in love with my community of friends and teammates and with Chris and Lisa Moore and the work God was doing in and through them and REAL 4 Christ Ministries. But most of all, I now know I was falling more and more in love with the Lord. He met me in a new way, showed me His deep love for me and others more tangibly than I had ever felt, and He radically changed me in the villages of Mombasa and Shimba Hills, Kenya. And it was there where He began to form in me a heart for missions and for ministry.
As soon as I came home from Kenya that first year, I knew God was calling me to work in ministry somehow and someway, but I did not know what that would look like or where to even begin. It's a good thing God knows what He is doing and He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans ). Because He began to do just that in my own life, however it would not look that way for awhile. I was laid off from my job in radio promotions in September of 2011. I was unemployed for three months and began to apply for all kinds of jobs in ministry, attempting to follow God's call on my life that I felt in Kenya just a few months prior. However, nothing seemed to be working out and as I began to get discouraged, I took a temporary job at Dallas Baptist University (my alma mater) in their Marketing office.
While I was at DBU I was introduced to a Christian ministry in West Dallas called Brother Bill's Helping Hand, an organization that served the low income area of West Dallas by seeking to meet the physical needs for food and medical care, while simultaneously seeking to meet the greater spiritual need for Christ. I began volunteering on a regular basis and Dr. Cook, the university president, asked me to coordinate recruiting volunteers from DBU and serving alongside them at BBHH each month. As I volunteered each month, the Lord continued to stir my affection for Him as I saw the work He was doing in and through BBHH, the neighbors of West Dallas, and in the volunteers serving the community. I began to once again feel the love of the Lord so authentically and see the Spirit working so visibly, just as I had my first year in Kenya, and I knew that Brother Bill's Helping Hand was where God was calling me. Not long after I felt this clear tug on my heart and nudge from the Spirit, I learned of a job opening at BBHH. I applied for the job, interviewed, and got hired on as the new Volunteer Coordinator. It was such a tangible way of seeing God clearly orchestrating my steps all the way from the villages in Kenya into the job at Brother Bill's Helping Hand and I have been so blessed to work there and get to share God’s love with the neighbors and volunteers every day since.
I still have such a special place in my heart for Kenya, for the Moores, and for REAL 4 Christ Ministries. I have been so blessed to go to Kenya three times and I hope I get to go back many more. Frederick Buechner once said "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." For me that is Kenya, for me that is Brother Bill's Helping Hand. It is anywhere my affection is stirred for the Lord as I share His unconditional love and salvation with those who are longing to be filled, not just with bread alone, but with the satisfying word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). I am so thankful for my friends in Kenya, for my friends in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and for my friends all over the world who are ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation, allowing God to make His appeal through them, and who have encouraged me to do the same (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)! And I join Paul in thanking my God every time I remember them. "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!" (Philippians 1:3-6)
|Working at Brother Bills|
|Working at Brother Bills|
If God has "messed you up" on a mission trip to Kenya and you would like to share your story please contact David Hayes @ firstname.lastname@example.org