Category Archives: Kenya

Insights from Kenya 2017 guest post by Megan Peterson

So Megan would be one of Russ’s girls.

One of a trio of young ladies that insisted on riding with Russ on any and all outings the youth group took when these lovelies were in high school.

And I have witnesses who know that as they ran across the parking lot to our Tahoe at least one would stop, look back at me kind of disappointed-like and say…

“Oh…are you going with us too, Laura?”

Kind of like … the opposite of an invitation.

And we would all laugh as I would hold up my hands and assure them I would not mess with that magic.

NO way.

Now those girls are all grown up and as beautiful as ever and in a world that is so very mixed up about what a lot of things…Miss Megan gets God’s love right…right here <3

Stillness in the Midst of Rush Hour by Megan Peterson

Photo credit to FCC Kenya Team 2017 

Do you ever have a plan A, B and maybe even C.

And often wonder how’d I ever get here, and then feel that you’ve missed everything in between?

This has been myself the last 5 years.

Consistently striving to figure out this adulthood thing, being content with experiences and directions of life.

Still, there is a yearning for peace, sense of self and trusting in His ultimate plan.

God has placed a notion on my heart for the word LOVE.

This word is often associated with an extravagant feeling, yet it can also be integrated within one’s lifestyle.

To love as a Christian, is to give to other’s those things that you would want them to give to you, if you were in their situation and not expect anything in return.

Done, marked that off the list; help people get back their independence by working in the medical field. Yet—there is so much more to this Love.

This past July, a group of 23 people ventured to Kenya, Africa with Decatur First Christian Church for a Medical Mission Trip.

Travelling hours along barren and bumpy terrain in vans to serve people with medical attention.

Certainly, serving others, along with the appreciation of western culture resources changed our lives.

However, there is one thing that impacted and shaped this weary heart.

The expression of Love through communication; both non verbal and verbal.

Example 1:

These three girls.

We gazed at each other with such curiosity: neither of us could verbally understand one another. However, the world language of a girl is to twirl with her skirt, smile and giggle.

This was our conversation.

The understanding of one another and connection to the Love of our God. No words, but being still and present His Divine plan.

Example 2: One of our Maasai Van Drivers and translators, Stonic Kopiah.

A man who dresses very “Western”, has a gentle, but strong spirit, yet he has very traditional tribal upbringing.

He is a man who became a Warrior to fulfill his family’s wishes and legacies. This means he went into the wilderness for 2 years, lived off the land and killed a Lion in order to return to his tribe.

Fast Forward, after various jobs, now drives safari vans, has 1 wife (very rare in traditional Maasai) and two children. His oldest, a girl, 25 years old and single. He made clear that he wants to give his daughter the choice to pick her spouse (Again, very rare in traditional Maasai).

This man has experienced much, was challenged often and now continues to love through many humble actions (supplying women with simple work of doing his families laundry, giving his Daughter a voice with a choice and translating to help the people in his community for the betterment of their health) and expects nothing in return.

Though, his love is clearly outlined above, he touched me with the time spent in conversation during long van rides to/from medical clinic and sitting shot gun next to him at the end of safari.

We talked about life in general, desires, morals, importance of relationships, how to drive the vans on the road and to be open, while listening to others.

Towards the end of safari, the radios sounded and a female lion and cub were spotted.

We arrive, he pulls over with the lions on my side, turns off the van with the windows down.

I quietly and hesitantly signal “the window is down”.

He replied, “Have confidence in yourself, they will not hurt you. I wouldn’t have let you keep the window down if I’ve known that they would harm you.”

Simple, yet very powerful words of Love.

Often, we rush through the day. Forgetting to simply listen, be still and communicate with God and others around us.

Trusting that the interactions of the day are meant to fuel the human souls and fortify His promise that he will provide.

For in his Word, he states, “Let all that you do, be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

 

A big thanks to you, Miss Megan, for opening your heart and sharing how Kenya touched and changed you. Thank you for sharing part of the journey with us today  <3

So what is success going to look like when it’s all said and done?

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I read an article recently that outlined a number of things successful people never do.

It haunted me for days because…

I do most of them.

Which explains a lot, I guess….

except what the author of the article defines as “success”.

Because I also read recently the post of one our missionary friends.

A couple who have served for about 30 years in Kenya and now Tanzania.

I have been blessed to not only pray for them and their ministry, but to have traveled to Africa twice to touch the very people who I prayed for AND who prayed for ME…

This post that I read was short and sweet and precious as they shared the passing of one of their first Maasai friends. The one who had taught them the language and given all of them their Maasai names.

In the short obituary, our friends shared news of her passing after a painful battle with cancer and tender ways that God’s kindness and faithfulness attended the death of His saint.

And then in the  middle of this paragraph is a phrase that sheds a new light on what defines success…

“She was the first Christian in her area…she suffered much for her faith.”

Oh my…

Does my Savior look down on me as I walk through a culture that so desperately needs Him and see that I bear His Name well…and that I am willing to suffer much for Him?

Success is to hear Him say when it is all over….

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Well done, good and faithful servant <3

Relating as we go…

As we go…as the times unfold…as we set our hearts to consider the cost and make the commitment to intentionally share what Christ has done for us, we can default to human nature and forget…we are not converting people to a religion…we are walking and talking the Good News of Jesus Christ so that others will want a relationship with Him through salvation and discipleship to His teachings.

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We, who follow Christ, know what we were before He saved us. We drink deeply now of His living water and we desire what He desires…for all to come to Him. 2010 09 04_0534

We are sharing Christ and what He has done for us, in us, with us and through us.

We are making disciples because we are disciples. 2010 09 04_0624

When I traveled to Kenya, it was under the ministry umbrella of CMF. They work with the local church leaders there to provide support for their work in their own community.

Just like every day life here, we were surrounded by believers and we were surrounded by unbelievers.

Because of the language barrier, cultural differences and the fact that I am the same goof-ball no matter where you plop me down in the world…I didn’t have theological discussions or debates on points of Scripture or anything that remotely looked like I was sharing the gospel and making disciples.

I just visited and met and received and gave..

I was an ambassador for Christ, just as I am every day of my life…

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And I met people…like…2010 09 03_0686Sane (Sah-nay)….who after this selfie told me he knows how to make people too…not like Frankentstein…don’t worry….he meant he could operate the camera…

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Imagine my joy on my next visit when, I found him and reconnected with him at his new home…IMG_3361

Then there was Helen, who came up to me after the church service on my first visit and said, “So….you are a friend of Dori (our CMF leader and yes, long-time friend)”

She was obviously sizing me up….and then with dignity told me…”I am a friend of Dori, too.”2010 09 03_0680

I must have passed the test because, when I returned two years later, she was waiting for me … with a gift

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I can’t explain what made me know I was called to go the first time or the second time to Kenya.

I don’t even know what impact I had, if any, on anyone there.

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I know going changed ME…I know that even though I spent such a short time with them and I may never see them again on this earth, they are my brothers and sisters and I will spend eternity with them.

And I know I was obedient to the call…even if I can’t explain it.

I can’t explain why it burns in my heart for others to know the Truth; to experience the love and forgiveness I have not deserved and yet have received.

I can’t explain why my heart aches for those who reject Him and why it matters so much to me that all come to salvation…except that when I exchanged my dead end life for His eternal one…His desires became mine…and that is what He wants.

And I want to be obedient…even if I can’t explain it and mostly don’t even feel particularly good at it.

Everywhere I walk, I take the living Hope of the World with me.

Christ in me, shared openly and honestly, in my every day life will speak of the Gospel and His teachings. As my heart and mind are filled with His truth, my words will speak the Gospel and His teachings.

For those who know Him, this will be encouragement…for those who don’t, then I pray they see Jesus in me.

With a sense of urgency….and a pursuit of relationship….I share Him….2010 09 04_0582as I go….

 

Counting the cost…

A short term mission trip, especially internationally, provides a variety of applications for learning to share my faith as I ….goIMG_3604One of the hardest parts of the “going” on a mission trip is what is left behind…these guys…IMG_2614IMG_2412and this guy….IMG_3622and all the big kids in between. All the changes and adjustments to their lives because my life has boarded a plane and moved across the globe and down a hemisphere.

As I count the cost of leaving them, I have to understand that part of that cost…costs them.

It is not just me, myself and I. Sure, I have to adjust my schedule, make arrangements, cover responsibilities….but….

Traveling half way around the world to visit God’s people means there will be a sacrifice on the part of those I leave behind.

Because I answer a call to go…IMG_3323they are, by default, called to remain…to wait…to pray…to fight fear and to trust God.

On my last trip to Kenya, we did work in several remote regions that involved traveling back to the center after dark. It was on one of these return trips that I faced the possibility that my life and the outcome of decisions made to follow Christ may sometimes have painful consequences that will have to be processed by the people who love me; without me.

IMG_3438As we share Christ along the path of our every day lives,in this country, we typically do not face fatal consequences. Yet.

For now, it may cost us some comfort…it may cost our family and friends a level of comfort, as well…and that can make us very uncomfortable…

But we can trust God to more than make up for anything we ever could think we have sacrificed to show others what He has done for us.

I think of the words of promise He used to back up the commission that calls us all to “go”.

He says them, right after He commands us to make disciples of all people, baptize them, and teach them them how to obey everything in His Word.

He ends the whole commissioning with words of comfort…most likely because He knows..

it will cost us…

and it will cost those we love…and so, whether they have joined us in the call to share the good news as  we”go” or whether we sometimes “go” without them…He has promised….

and be sure of this…I am with you always…even to the end of the world. Matthew 28:20 TLBIMG_3507The promise is not that it will be easy, comfortable or a sweet ride for all of the people we care about. The call is to “go”…and the promise is … He will join us on the journey <3

 

 

Traveling Light…

IMG_9377I am notorious for overpacking.

First there is just the basic’s for hair and face; which doubles if I am staying more than one night and a shampoo will be required.

Then there is the issue of the appropriate shoes to go with the clothes, and the added insurance of figuring in an extra outfit or two in case of spilled coffee (it happens), change of plans or unexpected weather patterns.

Then there are accessories, comforts, snacks…well…let’s just say I may be in some small way responsible for the new baggage charges.

The first time we went to Kenya, I waaaaaaaay overpacked…and I found out that all I needed were a couple of skirts…a clean t shirt for each day…2010 09 05_0420a sweater or two…

2010 09 08_0261and a hat to keep the sun off…IMG_3578oh…and flip flops…IMG_3630When I have gone on a mission trip, life is pared down to the essentials…dress decently and appropriately and get moving each day. Not much time to fuss on checking yourself in the mirror…on account of…no mirrors…

Sometimes it is easy to forget that I am on mission back here at home.

Distractions of abundance can pull me away from being concerned about reaching people for Christ. Trying to figure out what I am going to wear; checking out what others are wearing and maintaining and replenishing all this can completely sidetrack me from what I am supposed to be wardrobing myself in each and every day…

Things like…

Put on the full armor of God..for our struggle is not against flesh and blood...the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God            Ephesians 6:10-17

Put on the new nature…tenderhearted mercy, kindness, patience, gentleness and humility, and above all…..love                                                                  Colossians 3:10,12 and 14

And most importantly….Christ Himself….

But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.         Romans 13:14

So let’s get dressed and get going…we have a lot to do <3