Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coming home

So we leave Kenya tonight.  I cannot believe this summer is already over.  It has literally flown by.  But we are so thankful for the opportunity to have spent the summer in Kenya with Life in Abundance.  We have all learned so much about ourselves, about ministry/missions, and about God.  As our journey home comes closer and more of a reality (it’s literally hours away), the harder it is for me to leave.  However, I know that this summer has been a time for preparation and now I have to go home and implement what I have learned into the community that God has entrusted me with in Louisville.

One thing that I think we all have learned or been reminded of this summer is that the gospel has to permeate every single area of our lives.  The gospel has to be central and then everything flows from it.  I know that the gospel is supposed to touch every single area and moment of my life, but putting that into practice is difficult at times.  We have been blessed by getting to know so many people here in Kenya and we have been able to see how they live their lives.  Christ is glorified in everything they do.  For them ministry is their life.  Ministry is something you do regardless of whether you are getting paid to do it or not.  The love and truth of Christ is evident in every single activity they carry out and every interaction they have with other people.  For them ministry is something they were doing before they came to work at Life in Abundance.  So now the challenge for us is to be in prayer and be in step with the Spirit as he guides us to live out the gospel with our whole lives

So as our journey comes to an end, I’ve cried countless times and I know that more tears will be coming when we actually say good-bye.  I’ve been thinking about why I am so emotional about leaving.  I know for sure that one of the reasons is that I’m going to miss my family here in Kenya.  I have had the pleasure of getting to meet new people here in Kenya and building relationships with them.  Also, I have had the opportunity to build on relationships that started 2 years ago when I was here.   However, I also realized that Kenya holds a special place in my heart because so much of my spiritual growth is rooted in Kenya.  I’ve grown so much spiritually and grown so much in my identity over the past 2 years and once I took the time to reflect it all stems from my first trip to Kenya in 2010 and my second trip in 2011. 

Before my trip in Kenya in 2010, I didn’t get emotionally invested in things.  I was able to just close myself and my heart off.  I didn’t realize that I was robbing myself of some great relationships and friendships.  In Kenya, their culture puts a strong emphasis on relationships.  Relationships come before a lot of things, especially time, and while in Kenya God showed me the importance of investing in people, spiritually and emotionally.  After that trip he put opportunities in my life where I had no choice but to invest in people’s lives.  As he taught me the importance of investing my heart into where he has placed me, he also opened up my heart so that I could fully love and fully invest into the people he had placed in my life.  It’s hard to open your heart and become emotionally invested especially when you know that your time in that place will soon come to an end.  It’s vulnerable and it’s hard to transition, but it’s worth it.  Even though I am going to shed so many tears tonight, I have been rewarded and blessed by the relationships that I have built while being here.  

Growing relationally is just one of many roots I have in Kenya, but that one means the most to me right now. While we are all excited to see our friends and family, it will be hard to say good-bye to the people that have been our family over these past 3 months.  We are so thankful for this opportunity to spend the summer in Kenya.  We all are aware that this opportunity is unmatched and should not be taken for granted.  We have all grown so much as individuals and as a team.  We thank you all for your prayers and support as we took this journey.  We thank God for walking alongside us, for molding us, and for his infinite grace as we tried to figure out how to depend on him and how to follow him.

Mungu Akubariki,