Monday, July 22, 2013

Africa: An Overview

inspiration: it's 4:45 AM and i can't sleep....

i returned a little over 24 hours ago from the most amazing experience of my life.
i'm still definitely on Kenya time and missing the simplicity of life, but i'm going to take advantage of the "insomnia" and technology to try and process through some of the amazing things that happened....

What We Did:

  • Thursday/Friday: traveled from Charleston to Atlanta to Amsterdam to Nairobi (all air)
  • Saturday: traveled from Nairobi to Lodwar (air) and then from Lodwar to Namariat (by cattle truck); arrived late in Namariat and had dinner
  • Sunday: A group of us went to the new village (Nakapekon) for church while the other team stayed in Namariat for church - i went to Nakapekon and experienced worship with the Kenyans under the tree
  • Monday: orientation for summer outreach and spent time with the kids
  • Tuesday: construction on the new church in Nakapekon (clearing out and leveling sand for the floor)
  • Wednesday: construction on the new church, making piles of sand/rocks for cement, loading and transporting cement for the new floor. i also chased a kenyan kid (Peter) and caught him.
  • Thursday: day of prayer and fasting
  • Friday: a group went to do evangelism in Namariat/Nakapekon while a group stayed in Namariat for VBS - i did evangelism. the group i was in helped lead 4 women to Christ that day. it was amazing. we, as a group, also had a lot of team bonding together.
  • Saturday: VBS with the kids and watched them open gifts from their sponsors
  • Sunday: Church in Nakapekon. The church building was worked on by many of the Kenyans and was like 90% completed.
  • Monday: More evangelism around Namariat
  • Tuesday: Our last day in the bush. We did debriefing with the Bread of Life missionaries and spent a lot of the day together as a team.
  • Wednesday: Left super early in the morning for Nairobi...Cattle truck from Namariat to Lodwar (sketchiest place I've been), lunch, Lodwar to Nairobi (air). Ate at Nairobi Java House (delicious!!)
  • Thursday: Left early for the Maasai Mara for Safari. On Safari, we say giraffes, elephants, lions and cheetahs (so close that i could've thrown a rock and hit it in the face), ostriches, zebras, and wildebeests on our way to the river where we say African crocodiles and hippos. Stayed in tented camps.
  • Friday: More safari. Saw cheetahs (walking like 2 feet in front of our matatu, btw!). Drive back to Nairobi
  • Saturday: Left super early for home. Returned home at 2AM on Sunday.
What I Experienced:

during the 11ish days or so that we were in the bush, i experienced a closeness with God that i haven't had in a very long time. if i'm honest, i started the trip in a spiritual desert. and remained in that desert for about 3 days into the bush. i wanted to have this amazing-life-changing God moment in the bush, but it just wasn't happening the way in which i had hoped or expected.

i had a hard time feeling like i was supposed to be there.
but i knew that God had called me there for a purpose.

on the 5th day of being in the bush (Thursday), we had a day of prayer and fasting.
that's when i heard God speak the loudest to me.
about my life.
about my lifestyle.
about the way i was living and reflecting God.

i remember sitting in the sandy laga, surrounded by thorn bushes, trees, and goats that i had to change. that i had to make hard decisions.

it hurt.
i knew it would hurt even more when i got back to America.
change always does.
but i felt an overwhelming sense of peace about how i was supposed to change.

the other thing that i experienced that i gained in Africa was seeing true obedience to God at work.
the Bread of Life missionaries are doing incredible things there and if i had to describe that organization in one word, it would be passionate.

they are passionate about their relationship with God, first and foremost.
they are passionate about reaching the lost, no matter the cost.
they are passionate about building relationships with people.
they are passionate about discipleship.

first priority to them was spending time with God.
not constructing a church.
not serving food.
not playing with kids.
it was prayer, spending time with the Lord through worship, and reading Scripture.
yes, our mission is to do other work, but our first priority was God.

and i loved that about this trip.
i was forced to be intentional about the most important relationship i could ever have.
and i hope to continue, here in the US, to make it the most important relationship.

God did amazing things in and through our team while we were gone.
i'm looking forward to processing things more and i'm excited to see how i can continue to be used through Bread of Life for His kingdom.

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