the call of the kenyan wild
Fueled by emotions ranging from scared to excited to nervous to unsure and back to scared, I've written much about the future on this blog. I suppose it's inevitable; that's the natural course of life in teenaged persons who are 100% confused by life 95% of the time. Still, natural or not, the future is daunting.
But you know what's the really cool thing about God? He knows exactly what you need, even if you don't. That's not a very original or profound statement, I know, but it's been so evident in my life lately. Here, maybe this story will explain...
For the past two years, my life has been similar to that of any other high-schooler: scrambling to take ACTs and researching colleges and trying desperately to scrape up something I'd be passionate enough to study for an extended amount of time. I prayed daily that God would show me the right path and that he would make abundantly clear which I should choose. Still, the days ticked by and nothing ever seemed quite "right". I continued putting off decisions, feeling more anxious by the day, yet unable to make any commitments.
About a year ago, a bishop from Tanzania came to visit for the weekend. A friend of my dad's, he was in the States to fundraise; he entertained us all with stories about Tanzanian life and culture and repeatedly encouraged my family to visit his. Naturally, I was intrigued, but didn't think much of it. After all, I was going to college soon! Right? Right.
Come September of 2013, matters on the college front remained at a standstill. I was dual-enrolled in community college, taking some general education classes, and had another ACT test under my belt...but still I was too overwhelmed to think about applying to universities. I prayed continuously.
One day around that time, Africa popped back up in my head. I kept pushing it down: Africa? That's ridiculous, and so cliche. I'm not cut out to be a missionary, no way. What about school? Besides, it's expensive to go there! And where would I stay?
Now, it just so happens that we have some friends that live in Nairobi, Kenya. We met Rev. Trump during our time in St. Louis a few years back, and he has since moved to Nairobi with his family full-time to be the LCMS Lutheran missions facilitator for Eastern Kenya (whew, that's a mouthful). My parents knew of my wowidon'tknowwhattodowithmylife struggle, and the next thing I knew, my dad had gotten in touch with the Trumps and then all of a sudden they were talking about me taking a gap year and staying there for six months?!
The more Kenya became a reality, the more peace I felt. With every doubt and fear that cropped up, God gently pushed them down. It was as if he was saying, "Shhh, be still. I am who I am. I will take care of it."
And take care of it he has. Two weeks ago I was accepted as a missionary with the LCMS and in June I'll be moving to Nairobi for six months.
Nairobi! I hardly know what do with myself! I'm going to be living with the Trumps (and caring for their young boys, Josiah, Elijah, and Isaiah), doing work in the LCMS office in Nairobi, helping with communications, and going on some short-term mission trips to nearby villages.
So now I have four months to pass until the big day, four months that hold fundraising and finishing up high school and learning everything I possibly can about Kenyan culture and helping those in poverty. It's absolutely fascinating. I recently finished reading Toxic Charity (so eye-opening and applicable even in your own backyard) and now I'm studying a book called African Friends and Money Matters, which is incredibly helpful for anyone thinking about going to Africa, even if only for a few days. I'm fascinated by all the different cultures and customs that exist in the world and I'm so thrilled to experience life in another country and share God's love. Yet, I would be lying if I said it wasn't going to be hard. I KNOW my time in Kenya is going to hurt. There will be homesickness and worry and tiredness and tears...but still, I'm excited and thrilled and a little bit nervous and blessed and just wow God is so good, isn't he??!
Oof. It's going to be a good year.
Kenya, here I come.