'I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.' John 14:18 NIV http://www.facebook.com/Repurchase
After traveling by plane for about 17 hours,sleeping over night in Nairobi, another 45 minute plane ride into Kisumu ....and A LOT of bumpy roads I finally got to meet the and see the beautiful faces of the girls of GRACE! At first these girls were VERY shy and quite...I could barely hear them as they introduced themselves to me and told me their grade level and schools. Thank God for Nora (the director of the GRACE program)who repeated what they said so that I could hear. The girls started at 4th grade and went to 8th. After being asked the question," what are the obstetrical's you have faced this week" it was easy to see these girls face very different "obstetrical's" than those of most American children. Their obstetrical's and worries were things such as a mother being sick and unable to work to provide for her family, not being able to go to school or get a report card because their school fees has not been paid (which made the tears flow from their eyes), to not being able to go to school due to having their menstrual cycle but no pads. It was easy to see these girls had A LOT on their minds and hearts.We ended or meeting with devotional and prayer as well as a request for them to come back the next day ready to sing and dance together!The next day due to rain we were all late to start...but the rain didn't keep us from having an amazing morning. Casondra started by taking pictures ofthe girls,with Nora and I prompting them to smile and pose it didn't take long for them to "come out of their shell" and their personalities to show. We then had them gather together and sing and dance. They shinned as they sang and even pulled us up with them to dance. These were not the same shy girls from the day before. After the first two meeting with these amazing and beautiful girls I can't wait to see and meet with them again so that I can watch as they continue to blossom!
So as I prepare for this trip to Kenya I am realizing that my cross cultural experiences are very limited. Most of the experiences I have had are due to my best friend Casondra Radford. Because of her I have been able to meet people from India who have been extremely kind and hospitable, not to mention they made some amazing rice :). A family from Ethiopia who I love, and also loves to feed you some amazing Ethiopian food of which we ate using injera instead of forks. And of course the wonderful experience of Kenyan fellowship, a time were a group of Kenyans and others get together for worship, fellowship and once again amazing food! I guess I can say that with each culture I have been introduced to I have noticed a general theme of amazing hospitality and of course my favorite thing good food :) .
So I have been asked the question, 'what are your expectations for this trip to Kenya' ? At first I would have said that I have none. However in the last month or two I have had a lot come my way. I found out that I have a hernia that will require surgery. I have been struggling with the hurts of the past coming back up in current relationships. I have also been faced with people who don't agree with this trip at all and have tried to make me question why I am going. So with every thing that has come my way and has hit me full force my response has changed. I would now say that I expect AMAZING things to take place! I know that this is Gods will for me. And seeing as how I have been fought so hard so that I will not go I know that God must have something wonderful not just for me but for the girls of Kenya! As much as I hate the storms that have come my way I know that I will be stronger and grow from them. I know God has great things for myself, my team, and the people of Kenya...and I can't wait to see it unfold!
Although I have always loved kids I would have never guessed God would see fit to surround me with so many.I thought I may eventually have a child of my own and I would be involved in his or her life. I didn't think I would have two of my own and not just be involved in there life's but the life's of many other children around us.
After having my first child my love for children changed. I had always loved children but I now had a different kind of love, a mothers love. I never knew I was capable of loving someone so much until I became a mother. With being a mom and loving my own kids, I have realized that my heart and love for all children had grown.
I have found God giving me the opportunity to learn and grow with the kids in my community in the last three years. He has given me the chance to babysit six different children who have touched my heart deeply. He has given me the opportunity to work with kids at my church through the Awana program. Last week my van was full,6 kids piled in to go to Awana, were they would hear about God and learn scriptures!
I wasn't sure at first why God kept placing me around all these children. I now know it wasn't just for them but for me. He has shown me love through these kids. As much as I have desired to be a blessing to them they have been a blessing to me in turn. And I believe that He has done this to prepare my heart for the orphans of Kenya.
He has allowed me to love and teach the children in my home and in my community so that I can go love and teach the children of Africa!
I have had a passion for dance since the age of eight. Dance has been a lot of things for me. It has been a way to tell a story and to express my feelings. It has been an outlet when I needed it. And most importantly it is a way for me to worship my Heavenly Father . I also started to have a heart and passion for missions at the age of sixteen. I have always had a heart and love for people, and I desire to have relationships with them so that I can show them Gods love. This trip is taking both of the desires of my heart and combining them into one mission. I know that this is something God has called me to do! It is no accident that He placed Casondra Radford in my life over 20 years ago. He knew that her calling and mine would work together for His glory. God placed these desires and passions in my life for a reason, and I believe that this organization and trip are just the reason. I am so excited to see what all God has in store, for myself, my family, this organization, and the people of Kenya!