By Sunday night all of our Kenya team had arrived back in the USA safe and sound. We are spending this week reconnecting with our lives in a new way after all that we experienced. As we continue to process the trip, here are a few thoughts from some of our team members.
When I think of Kenya, what I learned from one of our Vipingo students who is now in High School, about the flag comes to mind. If you look at the flag, the color black represents the people of the Republic of Kenya; red symbolizes the blood shed during the fight for independence, and green for the country's landscape and natural wealth. What it is so compelling about going to Kenya is how these colors take on an even deeper meaning. The color black represents the color of a people who love no matter what your color! We were equal partners in sharing the love of Christ with fellow believers, we were deeply respected by the students, and being white or black didn’t matter. We all bleed red - which brings me to the color red. Not the red shed by man but the red shed by the perfect Son of Man. Even after leaving Kenya, I am still awestruck by the immense joy emanating from the people we met. This was a joy that was not tied to their circumstances – otherwise, the immense poverty would only bring silence and tears. Rather, this was a joy evidenced in songs, in big bright smiles, and endearing handshakes that is grounded in the truth that this red – this blood shed by grace in order to give us freedom both in the here and in the eternal is real and it means freedom. Then there is the green – like the green pastures Jesus allows us to rest in as we walk with Him. The landscape was spotted with the blues of the ocean, the greens of post-rainy season growth, and the deep hues of brown in the safari – yet, everywhere we went – God granted us the opportunity to sew for Him. Even in those moments when I selfishly wanted to “take a break”, He would humble me by setting someone in my path who needed to know Him. It was more than an honor – it was a life-changing pivot following a decade of Him sowing seeds in my own heart. I was not tired when I returned. Rather, I found a renewed sense of purpose to reach His people both here and in Kenya. We will return – God has been calling us there longer than we realized. My biggest prayer back here at home is that our US family of believers can live their lives with the same joy that we saw in the hearts of the Kenyan believers – that we can truly say God is good no matter what the circumstance!
Grady, our almost teenager, writes:
I really think that one of the coolest things I saw was the joy on the people's faces. No matter where we were, we were always greeted with a Jambo or hi by anyone passing by or in conversation. It was truly amazing to see how the people there had so little but so much joy. We Americans are downers. We look at the “lot” we have and crave for more, but our “little” over there really is a “lot”.
I don’t think there are enough bytes on the internet to store the overwhelming experience that I had in Kenya. Being able to share God alongside my family halfway around the world was an amazing experience and will always live in my heart and mind. The blessing that my son will carry with him the rest of his life is far beyond anything that I could have taught him as his dad, but the Father made daily imprints on his heart that with affect his path the rest of his life. I was exceedingly impressed by ALL off the people I encountered on our trip. The Kenyans were amazing people with a love beyond anything I’ve seen in America, and the other team members that travelled with us are now a part of our family. Only God could bring a group with such varying backgrounds together into such a cohesive team to make such an impact in His name! Kenya definitely grabbed a piece of my heart…
Our last day in Kenya we spent our day sharing the gospel and handing bibles out in the villages. We also gave away a cute craft 'friend' that one of our team members brought. That evening some of the team members and I had dinner with one of our teachers who has become a dear friend and partner in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was sad to leave Kenya, but I am thankful and blessed. I'm thankful for the friends I have made on the team as well and looking forward to returning to see my Kenyan friends next year. God bless all!
Thank you for your love, support and prayers for our team before, during and even now after the trip. I would ask that you continue to pray for the team and for all of our children and partners in Kenya. On August 8, Kenya will hold their national elections. In the past, this has been a very tumultuous time for them. Please pray that there will be a free and honest election and for peace no matter the outcome. Thank you!