What it means for me and what it means for you.
I want you to imagine the anticipation you felt as a child on the first day of school. You know, when nap times and recess were parts of the curriculum. Before calculus and state testing got involved. The joy of going back to a familiar place with familiar friends, familiar sights, and a place full of new things and old.
I think that’s how I think of Kenya. I am incredibly ecstatic to go but not because I’ve never been. It’s because I’ve been three times that my heart wells up with joy at the thought of going back.
Kenya is not foreign to me. Swahili does not sound like jibberish anymore and Kenyan chai is not a weird drink but something I crave. Being the only white person is not strange but actually quite an adventure to me. Rolling hills and cows on the side of the road are sights I long for. Kenya is not “Africa – the unexplored territory” to me. Kenya is my home. At least one of them.
So what does going back this year mean?
I think the biggest word God has placed on my heart is – relationships. Short term teams often forget the reason of their trip. They think it’s to see intense poverty, take pictures of kids they don’t know (biggest pet peeve), and buy $1000 worth of African jewelry. When in reality missions is about the gospel. Telling people about the love of Jesus and showing them that abundant love. By serving them. Period. Building a relationship will last much longer than a piece of candy will.
Kenya has pierced me to my core. Not because the poverty or the sickness that exists there but because of the JOY and the LOVE that abounds in all situations. Kenyans have incredible stories to tell and it’s time we listen.
So this year, while working in slum schools and orphanages, I’m going to listen more and talk less. I’m going to hear why people love Jesus and maybe Jesus will teach me how to love people better.
To be honest, I don’t think any of us need to cross the Atlantic to do this.
Leaving on a jet plane tomorrow, folks!
Thanks for your prayers!