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I just returned from my FIFTEENTH trip to Kenya. These journeys are not only my passion, they're my job. I host volunteers and usher them on the journey of a lifetime a couple of times a year. I fully realize the complete dreamland that is my life where I get to do this for my actual job, but like any job... it comes with challenges.
I need to admit to you that my last few trips have had their ups and downs. Between challenges in getting my work done while hosting, dealing with interpersonal struggles, and even facing failure, I found myself feeling a bit disillusioned and disappointed. In the months leading up to this trip I prayed and prayed and asked others to pray that this would be a trip that brought restoration, redemption, healing, and revival for everyone involved. And let me tell you, God delivered! And the delivery vehicle was my incredible team.
The five people I brought to Kenya were each visiting Africa for the very first time and they were complete rock stars. They had each worked so hard and dreamed so long of going on this journey. I assumed that with all their anticipation, hopes, expectations, and unspoken assumptions we would run into some speed bumps here or there. Can I just brag a minute and share with you that there was no complaining, no arguing, no selfish demands or attitudes... Every single day was filled with nothing but openness, readiness to serve, hunger for God, laughter, and straight up FUN. They were my dream team.
We spent our days visiting communities where I work. We did everything from landscaping and campus clean up to gathering data on women's co-ops to throwing an epic birthday party with the musical chairs battle of the century!
Here are some of my favorite pics from my own camera roll:
So. much. joy.
God used these five acquaintances, whom I now consider family, to show me the love and acceptance I didn't even know I was longing for. Each one of them offered something so beautiful and so unique to the team. Jeni brought determination and endless joy. Dawn brought heartfelt gratitude and dedication to the cause. Matt brought Spiritual focus and desire for growth. Brett brought steadiness, generosity of every kind, and willingness to learn. Shannon brought deep peace and selfless service. Together they made me a better leader. They showed me what a team can be and I'm so, so grateful for each of them and our newly developed friendships.
When we were heading back to Nairobi to begin the long journey home, we discussed what each of us was taking away from the trip. My team had beautiful remarks about their experience and encouraging words for me as well. As they all reflected, I was asked about my biggest takeaway from this trip personally. In that moment, I received an overwhelming sense of commitment to the community I've been working in over the last seven years. This has always been an unspoken truth for me, but God did something new in my heart. It's not like I had some fresh revelation of my assignment-- that's been clear to me for many years. He just helped me realize and truly grab hold of the truth that no matter what happens with my career, my circumstances at home, my health, or any other variable, I'll always be tied to the people of Kilgoris and working on their behalf. We are family and co-missioners in the work of improving the lives of those who are suffering due to the injustice of poverty.
This is my life's work and it's a great privilege to be called to it. I'm so grateful that God has married my life to the lives of my friends and family on the other side of the world.
Let me know if you want to know more about my work with The Kilgoris Project and Flourish Kenya. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to chat! You can also let me know if you'd like to be added to the secret facebook group so that you can look back over our journey in retrospect.