After 37 hours of travel, we had finally reached the base! Since it was so late at night, they already had large tents set up for us and had prepared chai and jelly sandwiches. I’m getting ahead of myself…As soon as we landed, my heart began to beat faster. We collected our bags and went through security and we had a van waiting to take us to Kijabe. I met my first Kenyan man! He had bright eyes and a firm handshake. He was our driver and he and his buddy worked hard to get all out bags loaded in the small trailer behind the van. Once our packs were securely strapped down, we piled into the van and began the bumpy drive to Kijabe. All of the windows were open (most of them wouldn’t close even if we tried) so the first thing I noticed was the smell. I can’t even describe it. It’s simply: Africa. I lick my lips and TASTE Africa.
As you look around, you’d see the “classic African Foliage” and begin to see the poverty(even so late at night when hardly anyone is out) Anyways, it’s late and we’re exhausted. Tour of Kijabe tomorrow!
I did not expect it to be so…green and beautiful! Birds everywhere. It’s stunning :) I’ve been reading Job lately :)
Each day here so far seems to have lasted 3 days! Lord we really need you here.
This is REAL life. All the colors here are like colors I’ve never seen before. It’s like a taste of heaven here in this gorgeous village! I’m excited to move to the tribes for a few weeks and really do some ministry. We’ve just been touring today. It’s fun and all but I’m ready to do what God sent me here to do.
I’m feeling sticky and sweaty and stinky.
Spending time in the Word with God is the only thing keeping me sane. I will rejoice in His steadfast love today. Today we head to the Masai tribe :) We will be there for two weeks. I love Africa so far. God is good.
Today was crazy! We made our way to Masai and a trip that should have only taken 2 hours took close to 5. :) This Is Africa.
I ate a bug today. YUM.
The kids are PRECIOUS. They are so smart and fascinated by us. They want to touch our hair and hold our hands and teach us dances. They speak Masai so communication is difficult. But this little one, Lillian wouldn’t let me leave her sight.
The men of the church sang praise songs in Masai for us in Masai and it was gorgeous!
It’s so much more beautiful here than I imagined.
Waking up to the African sunrise over the mountains: priceless.
Brushing my teeth under more stars than I’ve seen in a lifetime: breathtaking.
Sleeping in tents in the middle of a field in the bush: awesome.
The kids here are so sweet! Learning English and love us. They want to be held and played with constantly.
We did door to door evangelism and it was okay. Seeing babies with flies covering their faces: heartbreaking.
Sunburns from literally having no shade all day: painful.
Broken moments when you want to go home but the Lord reminds you of your calling: encouraging.
Dirt stains the shape of sandals.
Mud huts with tarp roofs
Soccer games at noon (heatflash)
Songs sung by Masai tribe:stunning.
Snuggling with Holly at night for warmth: thankful
Cooking meals over an open fire/flame stove
Wake up to sound of donkeys and roosters and dogs.
There are probably dozens of violations of the American Health Code when it comes to how we prepare our food (no refrigeration) But I LOVE it. There is something so simple and real and easy about it.
I love the young kids hands. Their skin is so rough for children but their hands are still sort of soft, having not yet experienced the hard life that is ahead for them with back breaking manual labor.
The other day, I was reading through the journal I kept while I was in Kenya and I was inspired by the things God taught me. I found myself relearning lessons and I decided to share the contents of my journal with the world in the hope that it might be an encouragement or an inspiration to someone else. I will warn you ahead of time, my writing is not eloquent and it won’t make sense in places. I won’t be making any edits so it’s just raw and real. Read if you like! :)
January 10 2012
Flying out of Boise headed to Chicago! Saying goodbye was hard. We all cried. But I left feeling encouraged. I know this is right and good. Still, I couldn’t help but smile when the song from the Rescuers came to mind: “Be brave little one”. :)
But overall, nothing beats the rush of excitement I feel. I’M GOING TO AFRICA! IT’S REALLY HAPPENING!
Flying to Atlanta! I’ve been waiting for the “freak out” moment and it hasn’t happened yet. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to. I’m very excited to finally meet my team and leaders. :)
Dear Lord, I pray that you would be glorified in this day and every day to come in these next four months and the rest of my life. I pray for immediate unity on our team. I pray for passion and intensity and excitement to overwhelm us all. Humble us and remind us who we are. Please watch over my family while I’m gone. Help me set them free to You. Please don’t allow me to worry about them or let them worry about me. I pray that you would take them from my heart and my hands. :)
Flew out of the USA today! God is so good. While we were about to take off, I couldn’t help but think “what in the world am I DOING?!” But there is a huge peace as well. I know this is right.
The people on my team push me to want to be more like Christ. I am so excited about this new family.
I feel like this is the time I need to remember why I’m here. For Him and His kingdom and glory. I am here to serve selflessly and faithfully.
Lord teach me. Grow me. Guide me. Your Kingdom. Your glory. Your children. Send hope. Hope. Hope. Help me to serve even now. Let your beauty show. Let your light shine. Even now! Break every chain!
We have now been flying for 5 hours. It feels like 2 days. This is taking forever and we’re not even half way there! Holly and I can’t sleep so we’ve been soooo bored and getting frustrated about not being able to sleep! But I’ve had some nice time to journal and spend time in the word so I can’t really complain. I’m just praying I don’t have a meltdown!
Praying for unity within our team and I can already tell that it’s going to be so hard to go home!
Praying for the Kenyans we will come across, that you would prepare their hearts for us and our hearts for them.
January 20th….I think
So after an hour-long bus ride, a seven hour wait at the airport, an 8 hour flight to Amsterdam followed by a 2 hour layover leading to another 8 hour flight to Nairobi and another hour long bus ride…we have arrived!!
“I love chicken. I love Jesus. I don’t agree with them, but I love gay people.” -Holly Brooke Knowles
I have to say I am extremely discouraged and heartbroken by Americas reaction to Chick Fil A’s opinion on gay marriage. The simple expression of ones opinion has blown into something much larger than it ever needed to be. Chick Fil A was never looking to attack any one when they admirably stood by their biblical beliefs. I’m not looking to pick sides here or argue, rather, I would like to point one thing out.
According to the UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day due to poverty.
Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name.
Less than 1% of what the world spent on weapons each year was enough to put every child in school in the year 2000 and yet that didn’t happen.
An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS
1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to clean water.
There are 2.2 billion children in the world. 1 billion living in poverty (every second child)
There is an estimated 7,000 unreached people groups in the world today.
And you want to argue with a fast food restaurant about gay rights?
There are bigger, more important things to fight for.
And all of you Christians out there who fighting back and being truly cruel: remember that we are called to LOVE. 1 John 4:19, Matthew 22:36-40
I was listening to the country music station on my drive to work today and one of my favorite songs came on: Wanted by Hunter Hayes. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt song in which the male singer expresses his desire to make the love of his life “feel wanted”. While singing along, I couldn’t help but wish I had a man in my life who felt that way about me. I began to think about a personal area of my life that hasn’t gone as I have hoped and I couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated.
Then, I heard a still, small voice whisper in my ear “I want to make you feel wanted”. All of a sudden, I was holding my head a little bit higher. I was smiling a little bit brighter. Because I understood all over again what it means to be accepted. To be wanted. And not only that, but to be wanted and accepted by GOD. I have the acceptance of the One who cannot be matched. He is pure perfection. And He wants me. He chose me.
I have my confidence back because I am wanted. And you are too. God chose you too.
She feels it all around her.
She puts it heavily on herself.
She allows it to cage her in.
She is a performer.
No more than a circus monkey.
She fights for success.
Success that will bring perfection.
Perfection that will satisfy the pressure.
She’s done it.
Achieved her momentary goal.
She feel a little closer to perfect.
Until she fails.
She isn’t perfect after all.
How could she fall so hard?
How could she show her scars?
Caught in His arms.
Just maybe…perfect isn’t what she needed after all.
Just maybe…she simply needed a safe place to fall.
Unimportant. Insufficient. Unattractive. Not needed. Average. Inferior. Unwanted.
The way we see ourselves dictates the way we live our lives. How we see ourselves is determined by what we allow into our thoughts and hearts. Sometimes, I see myself like this.
Sometimes, I worry too much about this:
A lot of times, I want to disappear….
Because I feel like I’m….
There is only one thing that helps.
2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of strength and love and self-control.
God created me in His image for a relationship with Him. He gives me JOY and HOPE and PEACE and MEANING and VALUE.
So I can be strong.
I can be free.
I can be…me.
Recently I read a blog post by a girl who knows what it means to write the right thing even if it’s the hard thing. She expressed how it feels to push the feelings deep down inside and write about more pleasant things instead of what really needs to be talked about. Well, she’s given me the guts I needed to write about an issue that has really been bothering me and should bother anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus.
I have very strong morals and convictions when it comes to men and relationships. Through the years, and even more-so recently, I have experienced a lot of condemnation and mockery of my stand for purity. Especially among my Christian friends. Of course, no one suggests I give up my virginity because that’s “totally against the bible” but do I “REALLY not wish I had my first kiss already?” and “dating is fun! I really think you should give it a shot. It’s not like you’re making a commitment to marriage! It’s just dating.”
There are many things I could say about the statements made above by my “Christian Friends” but the bottom line is this: as a Christian community, we should be celebrating and encouraging purity in obvious ways. Not encouraging others to compromise their convictions but calling them to a higher level of purity in their single lives. As women of the Lord, we should be honoring men, not emotionally abusing them in our fickle way of dating man after man. I’m not going to write a rule book about how you date or not date or whatever because that’s ridiculous in my opinion. Every person is different and every relationship will be different but the bottom line is we have to show honor to the person we are dating and above all else, show honor to the Lord.
Our world makes it very difficult for us to honor the Lord in relationships. Think of that new show on TLC called Virgin Diaries. They are literally making a mockery of this couple who has chosen to abstain from sex until marriage (granted, the couple is a little strange but the principle still stands). We laugh at the Duggars (19 kids and counting) for the way they dress and how they chose old fashioned “courting” instead of modern-day “dating”. We question their decision not to use birth control and we laugh at the way they chose to follow God and live their lives.
Purity today is something that is scoffed at instead of something that is desired. Women and men who chose purity are often seen as weak, lame losers who “just can’t get a guy/girl”. Culture challenges our convictions every day through the media, movies, TV, radio, and so many other ways! So why, as Christians, are we laughing at those who hold purity in such a high regard instead of joining with them and helping them grow stronger. Our convictions don’t all have to match the person next to us but we should never frown on/laugh at/mock someone for the convictions that they do have or tell them they are wrong and need to change. God works in each person differently and we should be supporting one another in our walk with Jesus, not telling one another we’re following Him the wrong way.
If I don’t post about my trip to Kenya now, it may never happen. So here goes…
Three months ago, I began an adventure. I had wanted to go to Africa for years and my opportunity had finally arrived. I got on a plane with sixteen other people I had met only days before and 20 hours later, we arrived in Kenya. First impression of Kenya: “This doesn’t seem like anything too special.” We were in Nairobi and the streets were busy, loud, and dirty. My first ride a matatu (African van/bus) was the most terrifying experience of my life. There are no traffic laws in Kenya (at least none that are actually followed) and each vehicle is trying to get to their desired location as fast as possible. Upon arrival to our base in Kijabe, I still wasn’t stoked to be in Kenya. It was the middle of the night and I couldn’t see the stunning view that surrounds Kijabe. So to me, the place seemed boring and tired. The next morning, however, I was nearly knocked off my feet as I admired the view of the Great Rift Valley right below us. The sunrise was stunning and the colors of all the vegetation were colors in tones that I had never seen before. It slowly began to shift my first impressions of Kenya.
Two days later, I found myself sleeping in a tent in the middle of the bush of Kenya, freezing cold. Who knew Africa was actually COLD at night?? Next thing I knew, I was snuggling with one decidedly dramatic redhead, named Holly, who soon became my best friend. For the next two years (and by that I mean two weeks), we lived in the bush. Eating goats feet (or maybe that was just me), brushing our teeth outside, going without clean hair/clothes, walking 12 miles a day, drinking mysterious tea in dark huts, spending awkward times giving “feedback” to the team, peeing in a rickety shack outside, meeting the most interesting people, and having the time of my life.
The month that followed was similar to the first couple weeks. We moved around to three different tribes within a month or so. My faith was tested. My patience was tested. My character was tested. I was astonished at the things I was able to see, do, and experience. I spoke passionately about Jesus as my Lord and savior and watched people come to know Him as well. I prayed faithfully to God to bring healing to those around me and watched Him answer those prayers. I saw some of the most horrifying things of my life. I saw some of the most beautiful things of my life.
The third month was all about hospital ministry. I spent my days holding babies with enlarged heads due to malnutrition, singing to children and their parents, loving on abandoned babies, praying with heartbroken parents and patients, coloring with sick children, and spending time with new friends. It was in this month that I became close with one woman in particular and my heart literally broke when she wasn’t able to get the help she needed for her baby and I never saw her again. After my experience with this woman, I felt that my ministry in Kenya was done. At first I tried to talk myself out of that, saying I was being ridiculous. But then, I got sick, and one week later, I flew home to Boise.
Leaving my team a month early broke my heart. Saying goodbye to my team, who had become my family, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I left best friends that day. I left the most beautiful place I have ever lived. Saying goodbye to that country was extremely tough. As my flight home lifted off the ground, I was crying like a baby, wishing I was healthy and able to stay. In the midst of all the heartbreak though, I did sense peace. I know that God has a plan and that my job was done in Kenya for that time. I know it was the right thing for me to come home.
Still, I miss my team so much it hurts. I wake up each morning, wishing I could see their faces and give them the daily wake-up call. I go to bed each night thinking of them and praying for them. Whenever I look at the clock, I count nine hours ahead and figure out what my team is doing at that time. I’m constantly on Facebook, hoping to catch one of my teammates as they use their weekly internet time. I miss spending every minute of every day with them. I miss laughing together over the stupidest jokes and crying together over anything and everything that is on our hearts. I miss praying together and eating together and walking everywhere together. Star gazing and star tipping. Road trips and long walks. Waterfalls and monkeys and slaughtered goats. Giraffe kisses and chalk drawings. Power buns and modeling sessions. The ability to be so silly one second and completely serious the next.
I trust that God sent me home for a reason. Now is a time for me to rest. Rest physically so that I can completely recover from my illness and rest in the Lord as well. I’m taking this time to just BE. I want to focus on being with God and drawing close to Him without having to focus on what comes next or what I will DO. I have plenty of time to DO in my life but if I don’t take time to make sure I’m BEING with the Lord, than the things I DO won’t come out to be worth much.
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