- Melinda K. Bowens
Kenya Called. We Answered. Here's What She Said.
Kenya Called. We Answered. Here’s What She Said.
Let me be the first to tell you that I didn't understand how people could go visit a foreign country on these things called "mission trips" for a few days, weeks or even months and return home claiming their lives had changed. I didn't comprehend how 10 days of your life in a different place could change 30 years of the life you were already living. Now, I completely understood how a week and half away in a different culture could change your perspective, but your whole life though?! That just seemed a little excessive. Then, I had my own first mission trip experience in 2014.
Fast forward six trips later (you can giggle, I did), here is a small window into my latest life-changing trip (because no amount of writing, pictures or video would do it justice).
“Kenya Is Calling” Mission, January 1-January 11, 2017
First, let me start by thanking each and every person who gave their time, money and prayers to ensure that this mission was even possible. Your sacrifice is humbling and appreciated beyond words, hugs and/or tears. As you continue to read and watch the video (located at the very end of the post), please know that your generosity contributed to EVERY. SINGLE. ASPECT (this is where I would insert the clapping emoji hands)! Because you chose to freely give, here are some of the impacts that were able to be made:
More than 10 elderly-led households of the Mathare slums will have food for the next two months
A group of Maasai men and women who operate a children’s home and school were able to have their land accurately surveyed to begin drilling for a clean water well
Contributions were made to the Mathare slum feeding program that feeds between 100-300 street kids and adults each day; six days a week
More than 35 children were provided with adequate personal and school supplies for the new academic term
At the Joy Divine Children’s Home, the youth were ministered to, prayed for and taught a trade of jewelry making
More than 300 men, women and children were able to hear the message of Christ and (prayerfully) experienced the love of his disciples.
And my personal favorite, a child asked to be saved as his New Year’s resolution (if I was the Grinch, this is where my heart would grow three times)
My mind races and my heart explodes thinking of each and every person in such a loving country. I also find it hard to believe that we gave nearly as much to them as they gave to us. Reflecting on the experience, God used us (and everyone involved), but He was also simultaneously teaching us spiritually.
Two Lessons I Gratefully Learned…
If you already know me, you know that I struggle with the idea of doing something perfect or not doing it at all. If you don’t know me, hey there! My name is Melinda, nice to meet you! And I struggle with the idea of doing something perfect or not doing it at all.
This tug-of-war has been no different when it comes to my relationship with Christ. I either want to hit the mark each day so I feel qualified to share my faith with others or go on a Netflix binge in my rabbit hole when I don’t get it all right, all the time. In my defense, the rabbit hole has snacks and juice; but that’s a different blog post for a different day.
But my interaction with one woman in the slums placed this battle in a new light.
As the team was sharing and ministering to the group, this mother of three begins to tell me her story of how she came to be homeless and the battle that she’s endured since then. But she also shared how her faith in God allowed her to persevere. As she prepares to tell me her favorite memory verse from the Bible, she reaches in her shirt to sniff a severely-worn bottle of glue (which a drug of choice in the area) and proceeds right back into her testimony.
Her struggle is real, but so is her faith. And if we’re human (and we all are), our struggle can be real and our faith can be real as well. Our shortcomings don’t cancel our faith.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. NLT
The other half to my quest for perfection would be my equally unrealistic quest to be perceived as perfect. Now, I know that didn’t make sense when I typed it, but humor me here and let’s keep reading. The larger issue here would be my fear of what happens or what do I do when I am inevitably discovered to be a flawed and broken individual (like everyone, but that’s not the point). The fear is what do I do, because clearly the world will shake when such a revelation is made (that was pure sarcasm and dramatics).
Quietly, this entire mentality is selfish and not focused on God at all.
Each and every ministry partner in Kenya tirelessly worked, planned, raised funds, etc… to ensure that God’s will be done for the people of today and for generations to come. Not once slowing their pace because they feared someone else’s perception of them. That’s not to say that it does not exist, but it is to say that personal fear didn’t override God’s purpose. And that was the takeaway I brought home. Is there any fear worth being selfish enough for me to abandon God’s purpose for my life (ultimately abandoning what He would have me do for others)? And the answer to the question is, no.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. NLT
So, here is my step out of the boat into the deep. This blog will be updated weekly and I would love for you to subscribe, share and invite others on the journey as well!
#Kenya #Africa #Faith #MissionTrip #Missions #Christ #God #Giving #JoyDivine #CornerstoneOutreach