Sunday, September 29, 2013

When trip meets tragedy

So I wrote an earlier post about taking my children overseas out of the "safe" and comfortable bubble of church, community, America. So it is slightly ironic that the day after we arrive in Nairobi, gunmen take over the mall we were slated to go to afew days later. The mall where 6 months ago, my husband and 5 year old son sat and had frozen yogurt and bought Kenyan souvenirs. Then stories poured out of this tragedy about gunmen releasing Muslims and targeting American and Kenyan Christians, shooting them if they didn't profess faith in Allah. 
Now it is real. Here I am with my 7 year old daughter 3 miles away from terror, persecution. Sitting on the bed after showering for the day and watching smoke rise from a mall where children, parents, Americans, Kenyans are losing their lives. The conversation became more real. I had the choice to bypass the situation with Reese and proceed on with our orphanage visits and ministry work. But why? God put this opportunity in our path to discuss suffering, sin and persecution. It's one thing to sit in chapel hill and tell her about people around the world that can be killed for their faith. It's another thing on that bed in Nairobi watching smoke rise and talk about the people that were still in there hiding, hungry, scared and faced with a choice to give their lives for Jesus if asked. 
As a mother, I tried to work this out in my heart. If I were 3 miles closer, in that mall that day, holding Reese's hand and then asked at gunpoint if I denounced Jesus or we both died. The ultimate choice. What struggle. My flesh says say a white lie and get my daughter to safety. My heart says this is what I was made for, called to, the adventure I was created for. I decided in my heart again then. My answer is Jesus. Even at the cost of my family, my life, her life. 
I decided not to shield her from the situation. We talked about it together that night, prayed for those people, prayed we would live in boldness and not fear. I found her journal the next day asking God to forgive the men who had made such bad choices, to take good care of the people that were hurt. 
I guess walking into Nairobi on day one and this being our experience would make many doubt why we took a trip like this. It only confirmed it for me. This is why I want to expose our kids to Gods bigger heartbeat, the plight of many around the world, life outside of little North Carolina. 
Africa always has a way of settings the reset button in my heart. It asks me where I am with Jesus. How am I following him where he actually went on the earth. Who does he love and how do I reflect that in my life. What does life look like when I get home. How does this change things? How will my giving shift. How can I be bolder with others here and home? Swirling questions buffered in his grace as I walk this journey in the red dirt here. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this. And I love that she wrote "forgive the men that made bad choices." What a heart she has! As an adult woman, mother, Christian- I don't know I could have written those words. I love this post. Glad y'all are home safe!