Monday, August 26, 2013
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I’ll go ahead and preface this by letting you know that my thoughts are scattered and it’s taken days of thinking exactly what and how to write this. It would be nice to say that after almost 2 weeks of being back in the states that I feel warm and fuzzy and on fire for what the Lord is doing in and through me. Wouldn’t it be cool to exude those warm fuzzies right out of my heart and lavish it upon you where you feel that way too? As inviting as that sounds, I just can’t do it. What I can do though is speak truth. If I were to be honest with you, I would tell you that it took me a week to unpack 2 of our 3 suitcases. If I were to be even more honest with you, I would tell you that I’m finally completing my last load of laundry with items from the trip. And then finally, I’m openly ashamed to tell you that we still have 1 suitcase sitting in the hallway, zipped up and leaning against the wall that still needs to be unpacked. There are no valid excuses for why these things are as they are 12 days later. Anyhow, I do find it rather symbolic. Of what? I guess of the reality that physically, we can come home and unpack the day we get back, or unpack a month later. Doesn’t really matter. However, in the mental, emotional, and spiritual sense, we may be unpacking for the rest of our lives. Unpacking what? Oodles of things I suppose. Memories for one. I am so thankful for the memories made while we were in Africa-memories Josh and I made together, memories our team made with one another, and memories we each made with individual people and groups of people while there. While I enjoy thinking of the memories, my heart also feels torn. I cherish the memories, but long for the people again. The reality is this, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to live here in my cozy little world and still have contact and life with the children and people there. I’m not sure what Josh and I’s future looks like. I guess none of us truly are. Perhaps that’s another thing we will be “unpacking” for the rest of our lives- the purpose and will for our lives according to His plan and not our own. I wish that I could tell you that as soon as we saw everyone in our lives for the first time since we had been back that when EVERYONE asked “How was the trip?” and “Are you glad to be home?” etc. that behind our smiles and façade of comfort and ease of being home, that our hearts and minds agreed with what appeared. Are you following me? It’s not that I’m not full of joy, not that I’m not in love with the Lord, not that I am uncomfortable, not that I am not thrilled to see my loved ones, not any thing negative. It’s hard to explain. I know some of my team members will understand this. In some ways, its just that after being back I feel sort of sad. I don’t think I mean sad in a bad way, just in a way that is still trying to process all that we saw, learned, and took part in. We can tell people all day long about our trip-describe it in the most complete way possible, we can show pictures and videos until the sun goes down…But there is nothing in comparison to packing your bags and living it out, even if it is just for 2 weeks. I almost feel silly writing something like this after having only sacrificed very little and spending just a measly 2 weeks there in comparison to people who have sacrificed everything and moved their lives to places like this. Anyways. If I was to narrow this down to one thought that encompasses all of these scattered thoughts, it would be this- I want to be desperate for God. I want to be in complete utter desperation for Him every single moment of every day for the rest of my life. What a sweet place that would be. I think that’s the biggest thing I want to eventually unpack from all of this, is to come to a point in my life where God is who I love more than anyone or anything in this life. But how am I going to get there? It’s certainly not by getting back into the swing of things very quickly, immediately becoming too busy that I’m not even reading my bible or praying as I should. It’s not by being selfish and making my needs and wants a priority. One thing that I loved about where we were in Kenya was that from my point of view, everyone was just barely getting by and working hard to survive each day. How can you not be desperate for God in that kind of circumstance? Maybe the Kenyans see it differently, but when I line my life up next to their life, I see them as desperate people with urgency for a dependable God to meet their every need. Not me. Not here. I haven’t quite unpacked this either. God has given me incredibly more than I could ever need. I’m not sure why I was born here in America. I consider myself blessed. And I am not even in a place of desperation for this God who has blessed me. And that brings me to my next point… am I really blessed? Am I blessed because I have all these “things?” Am I really a blessed person because I have electricity, clean water, plenty of food, plenty of everything? Or are they blessed because they have a lack of these things and have nothing to depend on except for God? I guess I want to say yes I am blessed with these things and now I need to use my blessings to bless others. I don’t know. I wrestle with this. And just for clarification, I fully believe people in America can be desperate for God- I don’t think living in Africa, or anywhere, automatically achieves that in you. I’m just sharing my thoughts here.
My plan was to write this from the perspective of a sponsor getting to meet our child, but you can see my heart is full of many things. However, I do want to share the child Josh and I sponsor with you. Her name is Rahma Athuman. She is precious is every sense of the word. We are in love. We started sponsoring her almost 2 months before we went on the trip. Meeting her was a time we really looked forward to as the trip approached. We had already been praying for her. When we arrived at the school, we were greeted with beautiful children singing and dancing and of course our hearts melted. Quickly, we eagerly began to look intently at each child to see which was our Rahma. There were no questions about it, we had spotted her perfect smile and from that moment on, truly our hearts would be forever connected to this little girl. It was such a joy to spend time with the kids at the school for 2 school days playing games and such. At the end of the second day, while telling Rahma goodbye, my eyes began to swell with tears just knowing we most likely wouldn’t see her again for a long time. Little did I know, the Lord was going to bless us the very next day with more time with her. When we arrived at the school for the community day, Rahma, her 2 sisters, and her mom were there!!!! My heart threatened to explode with joy. Josh and I were so happy. It was in this extra time that we got videos of her talking, singing, dancing, and playing. Thank You, Jesus. Even around 2 in the afternoon when her mom and one sister were heading back home, her mom said “She wants to stay with yall.” I asked her if she could stay since her older sister (Fatuma) was staying and her mom gave permission for her to do so. For the next 4 hours we just completely soaked up our time with Rahma, Fatuma, and a group of other girls. What a gift all the beautiful girls were to us. We are so thankful. Seriously, if we had it our way, Rahma would be here with us now. We would bring her home in a heartbeat. However, we are so thankful she has her family she lives with and is able to attend school where Chris and Lisa are. Meeting Rahma has made this sponsorship much more personal. When the money comes out of our account and when we pray for her, it feels different than before. If you sponsor a child, go to Africa and meet them. If you don’t sponsor a child, I would encourage you to do so, and then go to Africa and meet them. Josh and I are seeking the Lords guidance in a big area concerning things that will change our lives forever, and our time with the children in Kenya only confirmed even more what the Lord has laid on our hearts.
I hope that somehow you were able to follow me and understand a little of where I am coming from. We are so glad to have gone to Kenya with Real 4 Christ Ministries. It was worth every penny, every fundraiser, every hour on the plane, every tear, every EVERYTHING. I realize that how I live from the time I got back in the states to the next few months won’t really be a true testament of how the Lord changed me through our trip to Kenya. However, years and decades from now I believe will. I don’t want to be on fire for God now and then months and years down the road just talk about our experience and live as if it was nothing, no big deal, just another stamp in the passport type of thing. I want God to unpack some serious things in my life and birth in me a desperation for Him. So if you’ll please excuse me for now, I think I’ll go unpack that suitcase in the hallway.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Jambo from Kenya! I would call that the equivalent of a Howdy from Texas! As I write this, I am sitting in the cool air of the night simply enjoying about 20 or so beautiful elephants quenching their thirst in the watering hole literally right in front of us. I am enjoying the night and reflecting on the trip this far. We are 8 days in and still have about 5 more to go. I am blessed and so grateful for this opportunity to be serving along side Chris and Lisa Moore. They seriously have a great thing going here and Kenyans just may not know how blessed they are to have them here pouring themselves into the lives of everyone around them. My husband (Josh) and I started preparing for this trip well over a year ago and God has abundantly provided and paved the way for us to come. We are so thankful for those who have supported us prayerfully and financially. As we embarked on this trip we have fully expected to be a blessing to those we have come into contact with. And while I have no doubt we have been that, I am so humbled and in awe of just how the people we have encountered have been blessings to us! The joy of many has been very refreshing. The people of Mombasa are very warm and welcoming. We have been blessed by beautiful singing from the heart, selfless welcomes in to very humble homes, children who seemingly have nothing yet have everything, food prepared with hard working hands and willing hearts, and much more. Our team has gotten to be a part of working in the school with beautiful children-teaching, playing games, and providing dental services, building a chicken coup mud hut, providing a medical clinic in a local village, evangelizing in a needed area, and ministering to a Muslim community with an event at Massai Corner and in an open field showing the Jesus film. By the way, none of what I have mentioned above looks anything like what you may imagine. Things are just different. My mind is blown. After a few days of very hard work we got take a trip over to the Indian Ocean and today we went on a very cool safari. Tomorrow we head out to Mbaweau for several more days of hard work and pouring into the people of that school and area. We are so excited and looking forward to what The Lord has in store! Oh, and something else very special about the last few days.. My husband and I sponsor a little girl named Rahma that attends Massai Corner and Josh and I were extremely blessed and grateful to meet her face to face! On top of that we actually got to spend 4 days with her and meet her family. It was very sweet and very special. If you have not spent time with Chris and Lisa and invested in this ministry, I would urge you to do so. Support them, love them, pray for them. God is doing mighty works through them and its a blessing to be even a small part of it. For the words I have typed here, there are thousands more that cannot be put into words. Come to Africa. Be a part of Real 4 Christ. Serve Jesus with reckless abandon. You'll be forever changed.