Monday, September 26, 2011

1 year later...

I wrote this devotion for my 1 year anniversary of moving to Kenya this month. I thought I'd share:)
One year ago, I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I stepped onto a plane & left behind every person, place, & thing I had ever known. I was headed for a new life in Kenya.
I had spent the months prior trying to see everyone & say ‘good-bye’, knowing that I might not see some of my family & friends for another 3 years. But, God had been working on my heart & preparing me for this adventure for almost 8 years.
He had given me dreams & desires of starting up a community health development program in rural Maasailand. I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. So, here I am…1 year later!
For devos this morning, I’d like to share some of the scriptures that led me here & have encouraged me:
• ‘The Great Commission’ in Matthew 28: 16-20 helped get my eyes focused on mission work & ministry. It’s very motivating scripture for me, but I like John 20:21 a bit better:
"Then Jesus said again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, I now send you.’”
Jesus told his Disciples this after he beat death on the cross. God sent Jesus. Jesus sent his Disciples, & now us…to spread the Good News everywhere.

• There were many times in preparing to come serve in medical ministry here that I felt unqualified. All of my previous experience is with sick & premature babies in the hospital! And now that I’m here & am beginning this work this month, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the task at hand. But, the first part of John 15: 16 is a really good reminder for me:
“You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go & produce fruit, fruit that will last…”
We’re all here working together with AfricaHope because God chose us. And he chose our work. I’m grateful for the great collegues:)
• And then there’s Isaiah 58: 10-11
“…if you feed those who are hungry & take care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness, & you will be bright like sunshine at noon. The Lord will always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands & give strength to your bones. You will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs dry.”
God guides us in the work he gives us…caring for people physically, emotionally, & spiritually. And He uses us to bring the light of hope to the people he places in our lives.

As I look back on this past year, things have been kind of crazy! I moved around a lot –
a conference in South Africa,
worked with a missionary doctor in Ethiopia,
went to 2 Swahili language schools in Tanzania,
lived with the Kileteny family for a couple weeks,
& then Sammy’s family in Naroosura.

I’m happy to finally be settled in Narok, getting to know each of you better, & making more friends. Some things have been an easy adjustment, others have been difficult. The only constant in the midst of the daily differences of new places, languages, cultures, & life, has been God.
• Let’s read Joshua 1:9
“Remember that I commanded you to be strong & brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”
And also Psalms 37: 3-5
“Trust the Lord & do good. Live in the land & feed on truth. Enjoy serving the Lord, & he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord; trust him, & he will take care of you."
No matter where he sends us - alone or with others, near or far – he’s always there, & always taking care of us.

A question I get asked a lot here is ‘What are the differences between Kenya & the States?’. I usually try to focus on the similarities since we’re all people living on the same Earth. But today, I want to think about some of the differences. Compared to my life 1 year ago,
I have new friends, a new place to live,
new driving skills, a new name (my Maasai name - Nashipae),
new animals to see, a new language,
new cooking skills,
a new country to explore, a tan (even though all of you may think I’m still really pale:) ), & a new culture in which to view how God loves all his children.
God’s pretty amazing. Thank you all for any way you’ve helped me in this past year. It is a joy to serve alongside each of you.