Friday, July 1, 2016

Culture Shock, Purpose, and other ramblings...

It's been especially hard for me to come back home after this time in Kenya. My 6th or 7th time stepping foot on the African continent, yet something I can't shake.

It's not the culture shock of my first trip. No guilt of sleeping in a plush bed or having an Ice dispenser, it's rooted deeper this time. Going from spending my days walking in a Muslim slum, where people are hopeless and hurting but finding hope through the local church and Care for AIDS program, sitting in the home of a drunkard in his first month of the program, holding the hand of a mother who has buried 6 children to HIV, praying over a woman who sleeps with her head on her AIDS medicine so her husband won't burn it in denial of his own positive status.
These are the stories I heard, the people I cried with and prayed for. Now I am back home to a whirlwind of packing for camp, carpools, play dates, washing dishes, making sandwiches. It hits my heart in a  different way this time. I have to push for meaning and purpose a little harder. I have to remind myself God has called me here, not there (yet at least;) My role here as a mother and wife, friend and daughter and sister. But also God has given us a business that we can leverage for a greater cause. A business that can be a fundraiser for a greater calling than just a restaurant building. God has set purpose deep in my heart, so much so that it is unsettling to not live in it.  It is painful and mundane when avoided. So I press in.
Not because these Kenyan people need a savior in me or my money. No, these people are strong and have dignity and are learning to care for themselves. But it is my purpose to support the work that is being done to restore these people. God intended for families to stay together. God intended for parents to be able to provide school and food for their children. But the world is broken, the system is messed up, disease and poverty is a hard reality. So God has called me, I would dare to say us, to step in to the mess. Roll up our sleeves and lend a hand. Be a brother and a sister to these people, not a savior. Jesus is the only one that can be that for them. The only reason I share so much on here, or raise awareness or funds is because of this-- this deep rooted purpose and joy I have found while locked hands with an AIDS stricken mother, or a man trying to drink away the pain of stigma and poverty, while in the dirt floor home of a woman who has been raped more times than she can count but still has the strength to stand and sell soap she has learned to make in the CFA program. So that puts it all in perspective for me.   We were driving to the grocery store the other day and Wheeler asked, "Mom, I only have 14$ in my jars. Would that be enough to help one of those people whose homes we were in in Kenya?" Yes buddy. God will take that 14$ and multiply it into life change, a mommy who won't orphan her kids anymore, a family that can now make ends meet, a church that can now be the beacon of light it should be in a hard place.
If you would like to join us on this adventure, you can donate at this link HERE. Consider coming with us to see the transformation that happens with our small hesitant obedience. I think you may just find purpose and joy abounding like I have...