Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kenya here we come...

If you follow closely you will remember my husband and son went to Kenya earlier this year with Care For Aids ( and I posted about it here and here.
Well here we go again! We are taking Reese to Kenya September 19! She is so excited and has been asking to go to Africa for 2 years now. We as parents feel like the best way to cultivate compassion and generosity in our children's heart for the least, the vulnerable, the orphan, and the impoverished is to expose them to that world. I don't want my kids growing up thinking everyone lives at the level we do, that food is always in excess, and that their biggest problems are what to wear or that I made them apologize to their sibling or clean up after themselves.  I want them to know that children their age lose their innocence when they have to become parents to their younger siblings as they lose their parents to AIDS, war or poverty. That kids their age are watching their parents bodies shrivel up to a disease that will tear apart their family and that we can actually do something about it. 
Our hearts and lives have been connected to Care for Aids and we are so grateful for the partnership that lies ahead.  John and I have been praying for 5 years for a place we could plant roots as a family to not only give but to get our hands in the game as a family, visit, make connections, build relationships and invest. We want to do more than check writing as our giving, we want to do life living. To really get in there with the 'least of these'. Because they have more to teach me about life than any book I could read or group I could join. I feel most at home in the red dirt of Africa. It does well for my heart to be among those that are  joyous in suffering, those that are content while having little, and those who are hopeful and depend on God for their very existence. I pray that we can teach our kids how to love without bounds. That we are not the "privileged" because of how much we have, but that God has seen great potential in us to get involved in the story he is writing. Potential I don't want to shirk because we are busy and the trip is expensive and our kids are too young. We cannot close our eyes. God has shown us so much injustice, poverty, and pain. We must act. I don't want my kids to just sit on the sidelines of God's story either. I want their heart to follow their treasure. I want their treasure to be what God treasures. And he treasures the lost, the fatherless, the poor, the broken, the hungry, the naked. I am too often and don't want to be a stumbling block for my kids. It is so easy for me to get caught up in "stuff", making memories with fun date nights, cute clothes, making sure our playroom is stocked with toys, etc.  These are not the ultimate things. But if I am not cautious they pass beyond where they should in our hearts and I pass that on to my kids. But I feel like when I step onto African soil a reset button is hit in my heart. A reminder of what God has brought my heart through. A re-ignition of the passion he has put deep inside me. And a fading away of the temporary and petty worries I let cloud my mind. And a shifting of perspective again fixing my eyes more clearly on Jesus and resetting my heart on the right treasure.
I want my kids to have a context for how 90%+ of how the world lives. I want it to be an ongoing discussion in our home. Not just a guilt comment at dinner about hungry children, but a memory, an experience, a connection they've made. Some people think it is not safe to take little kids out of the country to a place with rape, parasites, disease and such poverty. But where some see risk I see benefit. I hope that Reese sees that in our family we choose obedience and compassion over our safety. I hope this penetrates the hearts of my kids so deep that they are repulsed by living a "safe" life. I love the quote in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe:
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? 
Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. 
But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I hope this trip changes Reese, I hope her heart is broken, here eyes are opened, barriers are removed, God is more real to her, she shines her light, her love is extravagant. I pray she sees Jesus differently. Because he is a lot easier to find here for me. After all, he has told us where he is. He is at the bottom, near to the brokenhearted, Father of the Fatherless, and arm in arm with the least of these. This is not a hierarchy that puts me at the top. It is a brotherhood where I should be standing side by side, touching hands and sharing resources, giving of myself.
Jen Hatmaker said in a conference I recently attended (loosely quoted from my notes:) the following:
"As we see the world as our 'neighbors' unrest should grow in our hearts. When we look upon the injustices of the world and see our lack of involvement with the least, our hearts should be torn. Jesus was very dramatic with his language toward the rich. Camel fitting through a needle? Deaf? Blind? For so long I was over-churched, bible studies, being at the church every time the doors were open. I was still "dry", starving and malnourished spiritually. I read the verses about the hungry, the orphan the poor. I excused myself because I cared for the 'spiritual orphan', the hungry 'souls', the poor 'in spirit'. But I realized with over 300 verses about it, God is being very literal. We are the answer to so many of the problems around the world if we let God have his way with us. Pride and shame are both incorrect responses to your wealth. You didn't get to pick where you were born. Do not freeze in guilt. You've been selected for this time. Much is required from you. Don't be paralyzed by the scope of your responsibility. He is sovereign and he sees something in you. When we live in exclusion to the rest of the world's suffering as we wallow in our own excess we do so at the misrepresentation of Christ. Just act. Throw in your lot with the marginalized. It may be a mess, there may be disappointment. But you will find the most exciting faith you've never experienced, the deepest joy you've always missed. God is still in the miracle business, we just rarely go where he told us He would be. At the bottom of the pile. With the least of these"

 (*Reese is going to take part in raising money for the ministry there. She will be selling Paper Bead necklaces made by Ugandan women. Please email me on the "drop me a line" button on the right if you are interested in purchasing one or donating to the ministry going on there! Pictures taken by Mark Miller on Wheeler's trip to Kenya)

Please be in prayer for Reese's heart especially as we prepare for this journey!

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  1. So exciting! Can't wait to hear about the trip, and I can't wait to take our kids to Africa. We have the same hope and prayer to show our kids the world, and it is exciting to watch you guys a few steps ahead of us living it out!

  2. Hi Kylie! I just have a quick question about your blog! My name is Heather and my email is

  3. Thank you so much for sharing Kylie! I love reading your blog- I feel like every time I am convicted and pushed closer to the cross. God's grace flows through your life and your family. I can't wait to hear about Kenya!