I’m anticipating that in two weeks I’m going to be a different person. . . and I’m not sure what it’s all going to look like. In a few days I’m heading to Africa with some close friends in the world of youth ministry. We’re going with Compassion International to Kenya and Rwanda. Our mission is to learn as much as we can about Compassion’s work with children in these horribly impoverished countries so that we might come back and serve more effectively and passionately as ambassadors for Compassion’s valuable life-saving work.
My preparation has been physical and spiritual. The physical side of things has included several rounds of needles filled with all kinds of immunizations for all kinds of deadly and debilitating diseases. Each and every time I think about the shots there are two things that cross my mind: 1) I’m being protected from things that these people face, live with, and die with each and every day, and 2)The hundreds of dollars Lisa and I have spent on our shots in preparation for our short visit totals more money that most of the people we will meet on our trip live on over the course of several years.
The spiritual side of the preparation can be summarized in the prayer that I find myself praying over and over again: “Lord, do something in my life. . . and let it be whatever you will.” Quite honestly, knowing I have yet to hear the answer leaves me both excited and nervous.
I’ve also been reading quite a bit in preparation for the trip. . . background stuff on the two countries we’re going to visit. Kenya is filled with poverty. I will be seeing things I’ve never seen before. Rwanda was filled with violence. In 1994, 800,000 to 1 million people were killed – most of them macheted to death – over the course of the 100 day genocide. What I’ve read has made my head spin.
I’ve also read Gary Haugen’s great book, Just Courage. In the book, Haugen tells the story of his friend Sean Litton, a lawyer who decided to put Christ’s call – to find one’s life by losing it – to the test. Litton walked away from his safe, high-paying and secure job to go to work for Haugen’s International Justice Mission, addressing sexual trafficking and child sexual assault in the Philippines. Sean took his wife and two kids along. His life was changed.
But Sean almost didn’t go. He says there were four things holding him back. There was his comfort that came with his nice house and all the stuff he had accumulated. There was his security and freedom from danger. There was the control he had over the circumstances of his life. And finally, there was the success he was experiencing in his career. But he let go of comfort, security, control, and success. . . and he took the unsafe option by giving up his life and going to the Phillippines.
What happened? Sean Litton found his life. In exchange for what he gave up he got back adventure, faith, miracles, and a deep knowledge of Jesus. His faith grew and solidified in ways he could have never imagined.
I am challenged. And, I’ll let you know how it’s going. We covet your prayers.
I’m praying for you and your life changing trip. My heart has been forever impacted by our trip to Ethiopia. Kate and I yearn and pray for the horn of Africa and often feel ourselves drawn to it. I will be looking at Google maps and somehow wonder over the other side of the world to look at the satalite images of huts along dusty roads. God will change you forever I’m sure! I’ll be praying for you to hear Him clearly so that you know how to follow this life changing trip! There are parts of me that are jelious of the opportunity! I can’t wait to hear all about it!
Five years ago, God called me to do the same thing with World Vision, visiting Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda. I was a lot like Sean and struggled with going, I liked my comfort zone. After weeks of praying and struggling with making a decision (can’t You send somebody else?)My love for God, May 7th’s devotion in My Utmost For His Highest,Luke 14:26-35 & a few other things had me tearfully & joyfully saying yes! It changed my life!! I learned and grew in ways that I could not have imagined! God is still to this day blessing my obedience to Him in incredible ways! I will be praying and look forward to reading all about it! God bless!!
P.S. Bring the tissues/hankies, you will be shedding tears of joy and sorrow.
I’m praying for you, brother.
I had a friend go to africa for 9 months and had such a hard time coming back here to where we have everything at the end of your fingers, unfortunitally she couldn’t deal with it couldn’t go back to africa because of financial reasons and satan got her to turn her head and go in another direction. I will pray for you and your trip, God is already there making your path.
you are a brave man to do this. May God bless your trip and your experience.
Hey Walt. if you meet Fredrick Oduori in Nairobi, say hi to him for me. 2 years ago when I was living in Nairobi for a year for school, Fredrick took me to meet my sponsor child in Western Kenya. Maybe he doesn’t work with Compassion any more. Likely he won’t remember me. Ask him about the time he brought two Canadians to meet his child, and the family cooked enough food for 10 people, and we hardly ate anything. Fun times. Do a lot of listening and observing… and don’t give your money away! Don’t wear shorts. You’ll stand out more than you already do, and you’ll be targeted. You’ll learn a lot. You’ll be blessed. Praying for your safety and that you’ll be changed from the inside out. — Trevor B.
This caught my eye having been to Kenya three years ago with a group from my church. We stayed just outside of Nairobi at a college. We were able to visit “Kibera” with a pastor who serves there in the slum. There is truly nothing like it. I thought I had seen poverty in parts of Mexico, but nothing like this. You truly will be changed, broken, and never view things the same. Outside of the city, Kenya is beautiful. As one pastor told us as we drove for hours out to his village, “this is Africa”. Enjoy the people they are wonderful, gracious hosts. God bless and safe travels.