This month I had the amazing oppourtunity to furfill one of my life long dreams. To travel to Africa on a mission trip. It was an 8 hour flight to amsterdam with about an hour layover then another 8 our flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Finally being in Kenya, the excitement was starting to build. This whole year I was imagining what Africa would be like and how this trip would go and this week was finally here! We got our luggage, went through customs, and went on an hour long flight to Mombasa (Which is a 6 hr drive, so a one hour flight wasnt all that bad, haha). When we were on our flight, a few girls even had the oppourtunity to share their story with the people next to them and I visited with an islamic women that sat next to me. Its amazing seeing how Jesus works even through a one hour flight. After we arrived in Mombasa, we went to our hotel and it felt good to finally get a full night sleep after being on an airplane for 19 hours and getting only a couple hours of sleep on each flight.
The next day we woke up and at breakfast we got to meet the nationals we would be working with. Pastor Joe is a pastor in nairobi and his mission is to tell people about jesus throughout Kenya. He is who next works with in kenya. He was with the other nextworlwide group in another part of kenya, but we worked with his two sons Daniel and John. They are both so funny and on fire for christ. After breakfast we drove to Diani and got settled in at the place we stayed at in kenya for the week and then went to visit each of the churches we would be working with this week. The first one we met with the pastor and he introduced us to his family and some of the members of the church. We got the chance to introduce ourselves and we all prayed together. We went to the second church, which is where I worked. The last site there was no one there because it was the church that they were wanting to start. We called it the "daughter church". After that we went to the super market, or the "nakamat". We got all the stuff needed for our sack lunches for the week.
The next day was our first ministry day. We would have catalyst in the morning at a church, which is a leadership training. Afterwards, we went to our sites and the first day i worked with pastor phillip as my translator and one of the moms who came with us, Rita. It took a long time to walk to each hut, so we only got to visit a few families. The first house was a mom, dad, and 7 children. We talked to them about what they thought about God and they told us that they believed in God because he created the world. They didnt know the whole story of Jesus, but they save through creation that there had to be something that created this world. We told them the story of Jesus, and shared our personal story. We used the keys to the kingdom, which are pictures that explain the story of the gospel. Both the dad and mom commited their lives to Jesus, and we prayed for them and their children. The next house we went to was a catholic family. We visited with them and shared our story. They really appreciated us coming. We gave them a sheet that explained the keys to the kingdom. One of the little girls came out and brought a bible and with her mom she looked through all the bible verses that were on the sheet that we gave them and she read them to her mother because her mother doesnt know how to read. I showed her psalms 139 and she read it out loud to me in swahilli. It was so cool seeing how God isnt limited to just english. That God understands every single language that is spoken in the world. Even if i didnt understand what she was saying, God did. We prayed for the family, and after we left we went back to pastor phillips house, which was also where his church was. The government gave him 5 acres, 3 he has to use for sugarcane and 2 he can used for whatever he would like. He felt God calling him to build a church on his land. Our idea of a "church building" in America is very different than Africa. They dont need a big fancy building to have a church. Pastor phillips church is a four tall wood stakes, and a thatch roof with some benches. The whole church is about 10x10 feet. Each day we would invite the people we visited with to come to pastor phillips house and we would have decipleship.
The next day was sunday so we all had church at our sites. The pastor brought out some hymm books and we did some hymms in swahilli. Then one of the translators at our site robert spoke while the other translator jimmy translated to english for us. We did a kenyan worship song called akuna mungu kama wewe which translates to there is no god like you. It was awesome seeing the Kenyans worship. They clapped their hands, danced, and we're singing at the top of their lungs. They were so happy in that moment and were truly worshiping god. After worship, Scott (one of our mission leaders) and the pastor spoke. Pastor Phillips wife made an amazing lunch of chicken in broth and a Kenyan dish called Ugali which is maze in squares that we would dip in the broth. We were so thankful that even though they had so little they were willing to give so much and make a meal for all of us. After lunch, we went to pastor kephers house to meet the other groups (pastor kepher is the main pastor nextworldwide works with in kenya). When we got their we met his wife and family. On the wall, we saw a gift he recieved from graduating from seminary. Hanna and Annie told me that last year the group put together some money so that he could attend seminary and they were so happy to see that he had graduated! Even though we had already eaten, pastor kephers wife had more food for us when when we got there! Beef & Potato soup, cabbage, and shipati (another delicous kenyan dish which is similar to tortilla bread). Even though we were full, we all ate cause the food was so good! The people in kenya are so hospitible and are so welcoming, it was amazing! That evening we got the opportunity to spend some down time at the beach. The Indian ocean was so beautiful and it was only about a minute walk from our cottages! It was fun to have an evening of downtime to relax :)
The next day was our second day of evangilism. It went really well! We visited two houses. The first house the husband and wife were believers and so we talked to them about fellowship and the church. They had some prayer request about bad dreams, wild cats coming to their home, and for the children and grandchildren. Their daughter and her husband had died so they took care of their grandchildren. The second house we met a muslim women and she had children with her. We talked to her about her faith and shared the keys to the kingdom with her. We prayed for blessings in her life and when we finished we saw another women come. The muslim women told us that she was the 2nd wife, and the women that came was the 3rd wife. (So its like sisterwives!) We were suprised that its more common to have sister wives in kenya. The 3rd wife told us that she was christian so we talked to her a little and we prayed for her because she was worried about her pregnancy. There were no salvations that day but we got the lady thinking about Jesus and there may be new members of pastor phillips church! After this we went by pastor kephers house again and the neighborhood children sang for us and preformed a short skit :) They were so precious! We also prayed over a family that Clint (Another of our leaders) had met 3 years ago that lives in that neighborhood. That night we went to an italian restraunt (Yes, they have italian food in kenya!). We got pizza and it was actually pretty good, but it was different than american pizza haha :)
This was our last ministry day in Kenya. It had been so great to serve with pastor phillip and helping him plant his church. We went to 3 houses. The first house were believers. Scott talked with the dad and he came to the meeting that afternoon! The 2nd house was a muslim couple. Scott knew the women because she was at her relatives house the day before but he didnt know the man. The women had to go gather water so we talked mostly with the man. We talked about the keys and when we asked what he thought we got in a long discussion about the trinity. Being islamic, the trinity didnt make since to him. He thought that being christian we believed in 3 Gods instead of one, and we explained that it was one god, but there are three forms of God. We realized that trying to explain the trinity to someone that didnt grow up knowing about it is a big challenge.We talked with him for a long time and even though he didnt accept jesus I believe that we planted a seed and got him thinking about his faith. Then we visited a 3rd house and the man was also islamic. It was another house scott had visited haha! Scott talked to him the day before so we gave him the sheet that showed the verses and explained the keys to the kingdom. When we arrived back at pastor phillips church we had to say our goodbyes. I gave a journal to pastor phillip, his wife, and the other translators at our site. It was so hard to say goodbye to them and the precious children we got to play with every day. Hanna and I deffientaly enjoyed taking pictures of the children when we had sometime :) Even though we were leaving, it was great to know we helped pastor phillip start his church. That evening we were invited to a lady that clint knew named winny. She was incharge of all our vans we used that week and she wanted to cook dinner for all of us. She had a big outdoor area outside her house and she had tables set up and when we got there she introduced herself and her family. They had shipati, coconut rice, pinto beans, spineach, and what they called mixed meat which taste very similar to spagetti sauce. We all were pretty much in food heaven because of how yummy it all was! We even asked them for the recipes :) They taught us how they make coconut rice, which was facinating! They showed us how to get the shavings from the coconut and the tool the use to get the coconut juice from the shavings.
The next day we got up early (5:30) for our journey to tvaso east national park. I was so excited that we would get to go on a safari! We stopped halfway and did some shopping then we arrived around lunch time at the park. We had the first part of the safari before lunch because we had to drive through the park to arrive at the lodge we stayed at. The food we were served was delicous! After lunch we got settled in our rooms which were like giant tints, but very nice giant tents! haha :) After lunch we got the second drive through the park and that night we had a debrief where we all shared about this week in Kenya. It was amazing hearing everyones stories and how God work in their lives. After the meeting we had a worship night and daniel had his guitar and led worship for us. It was a great way to end the night and our last night in Kenya. The next morning we had our last drive through the park. It was so amazing seeing the animals and a memory I will never forget! We saw a giraffe, elephants, zebras, ostrich's, a cheetah, and lots of birds, deers, and gazelles. We headed to nairobi, and when we arrived we had dinner at a famous restraunt called carnivore. I had some very interesting food there, including ostrich and ox balls. But i was a trouper and tried everything! haha :) Ostrich was actually quite good!
After Dinner, we headed to the airport on another 18 hour journey. It finally hit me that I was coming back to America. I started to think about all that God showed me in Kenya. I saw how even though people in Kenya have so little, they are so grateful for that they had and are willing to give anything they do have because they realize that what they do have is a gift from God. He showed me that I should work harder to live missionally here in the states. I went on an amazing mission trip and learned so much, but now that im home what do i do know? I realized how i havent really worked hard to get plugged into church. I made a goal to find a home group that i can get plugged in work hard to find other ways to get more involed in the church. Also to dig deeper in the word and be more persistant in setting aside time every day to read my bible more.
Im so thankful for the oppourtunity God gave me, and thankful to everyone to everyone that supported me financially and through prayer.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
This year has been a year I will never forget. It all started last summer. I had the opportunity to internship with a mission organization called Next Worldwide. It was a summer I will never forget. Jesus worked in so many ways and taught me so many things about myself and brought a passion for missions in my life. Right before I left for Seattle on my second trip, my dad told me about his interview with a company in Amarillo. During the trip, that interview was in the back of my mind. Thinking about moving and leaving the place I called home for 18 years boggled my mind. Not even a week after I got home my dad told me the news that he got the job and we had 3 weeks to move. In so many ways I was happy for him. He finally had a job and it was an amazing oppourtunity for him and I would be closer to my mom after a year of having to travel on weekends to see her. So we packed and I had about 3 days to say goodbye to my friends. It went by so fast and just seemed like a big blur. Now its been about 6 months since i moved to Amarillo. The Lord has changed my life in so many ways. I lost 50 pounds, made new friendships, and started going to two amazing churches. In ways I miss Dallas more and more everyday but I also realize God put me here for a reason and I actually like it here. The beautiful sunrises/sunsets, people are so laid back, and I get to see life in a totally different way. I learned how much I value the friendships I have back in Dallas and how much my true friends care about me even when I'm 6 hrs away. And even though the weather is cold and windy everyday during the winter (and yes, we drive in the snow and have school! hah) and I miss my old life, I wouldn't trade this past 6 months for anything. Now I am just ready for the next part of my journey. Visiting dallas on my birthday, graduation, and Kenya this summer <3