I can’t describe the heartache, the craving, the intense yearning for a dusty continent I’ve only visited once. I cannot put into words the way my soul cries out for the laughter of the Kenyan people. The way my spirit found joy in the midst of that dry land, and the utter absence of any resemblance of that joy in America. I cannot describe to you the way their hands felt clammy and rough, unsure whether trusting a [white] stranger was indeed wise. I cannot describe their wide smiles in a way that gives their inner lights justice. I cannot describe the utter hopelessness of some of their earthly circumstances without feeling ashamed for even trying to put this poverty into words. I cannot describe their faith in God without being awe-struck by His magnitude and glory.
Five months ago I was in Kenya, surrounded by complete strangers, and experiencing the fullness of God. I would never have predicted the way my heart seems attached to this particular place. When I landed in America, quite honestly, I was relieved at the prospect of a warm shower and a decent gluten free meal. It wasn’t until the days, weeks, and months which passed brought no inking of the resembling what I experienced in Africa that I longed for these two dust-filled weeks to continue infinitely. However, as much as I want to be back in Kenya right now, God has willed me to be here in America for an indefinite now.
This season is so very hard. I would be lying if I said that transferring colleges, moving home, friendship changes, job difficulties and other issues weren’t pressing. But I am so thankful for the opportunity to escape. I look through my pictures from Kenya, and I am immediately encouraged by the smiling faces, kind eyes, and laughter that I see. Though the Kenyan women are weary, they are strong. Though the Kenyan children are faced with immense hardships, they develop cheerful spirits.
God allows us to have radical experiences that change our lives, yet they only matter if we pay them attention. Perhaps a journey that He allowed you to go on months ago was truly ordained to guide your present. I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness in bringing me to Kenya, fully aware of the challenges that I would inevitably face upon my return. Following His prodding led me to experience complete peace and complete joy, making memories that would serve as hopeful and uplifting reminders in the months to follow. I do not know how I would have made it through this season without the hopefulness of Kenya. Without the joy-filled memories that remind me to long for the Kingdom. Oftentimes our strangest, and most bold decisions not only affect our present, but are Divinely orchestrated to aid our futures.
I’m encouraging each one of you to reflect today. Take five minutes and ask Jesus to show you a piece of your journey that was so perfectly equipping you to handle your present. Allow yourself to go back to your own Kenya, wherever that may be, and see with open eyes the sufficiency of Jesus. His ability to meet all your needs, even when they haven’t yet been identified. Then remember that He is still preparing you now for whatever may lay ahead in your journey. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will mold your heart to be more like His.