What an amazing two weeks! With months of preparation, team building, reading, training, learning, and more preparing, we were still not prepared for all that we would experience in Kenya. Our schedule was full and planned but we learned right away that flexibility was needed at every turn. If it wasn’t a straggling team member who was struggling to adjust to the culture and time change, it was a driver who got caught in traffic, or a broken down car, or well, even team conflict that needed to be worked out. We faced delays and changes but we knew all along that in the end we would reflect and see that we did more, saw more, learned more, met more, sang more, ate more…the list goes on. It was more than we could have dreamed because God had a plan that superseded ours.
The only thing we didn’t do more of was sleep. Out our hotel was right next to a night club and the music played on and throbbed almost every night into the wee hours. Many of us woke up with headaches but with a cup of Kenyan tea, Chai, and some advil, we were ready to roll.
One thing I appreciate about being connected to the Holy Spirit is that what seems to us at face value to be an obstacle or a disappointment is actually a divine appointment when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead in those times. The first time I had this experience was the first day we were there. On the way to the orphanage our van hit a pothole and threw my back out. I was in terrible pain. I prayed that God would right what was wrong in my back but gave him full permission to use the pain for his purposes until he saw fit to use another pothole to straighten me out. Well, that pain lasted for 5 days and facilitated a most necessary meeting. After God had used that pain in my body to keep me in a state of constant prayer and dependence on him, he used another pothole to fix my back and I was pain free and had full movement for the rest of the trip. To God be the glory for the pain and what it produced and for healing me!
The second time the Holy Spirit led me according to his plan and not my own was on the first day of the pastors’ conference and VBS. Both events were a huge success and exceeded our expectations for attendance and response. As a team we had decided the night before to wrap up both events and be ready to jump into our vans at 4pm sharp. At 4 when we were all ready and our driver was nowhere in sight we realized that our expectations needed to change. As we waited for 2 1/2 hours for our ride, some took much needed naps, and some of us engaged elsewhere. It was during that time that I was able to share my testimony with two little girls, both of whom lost a parent to death and then were abandoned by the surviving parent. Their pain brought me to tears and we shared a precious moment together. Then I got out the puppets and I taught them a new song. They both wrote me the most precious letters and have become very dear to me. I would have missed getting to know them and sharing that time with them if our team plans had gone as we had expected. To God be the glory!
The third time I saw God redirect our steps was on the flight home. Our plane from Nairobi to Amsterdam was delayed and so we had to spend the night in Amsterdam. As a result, our team divided into two groups and stayed at two different hotels. Both groups met a young woman who needed help. Both groups, unbeknownst to each other, invited the young woman to join us for dinner. In two separate hotels in a foreign city, God had a divine appointment set for us. The young Iranian woman who joined the group I was with had a Muslim background. As we talked she kept asking questions about why we would be so kind to a stranger. She confided in us things she had never told anyone and she asked us to help her get closer to God. WOW! After sharing and listening and a long night of talking, she prayed and asked Jesus to be her savior and forever friend. She felt the peace that passes all understanding and she said she was not afraid to be alone anymore. To God be the Glory. (Yes, we did get her contact info for follow up.)
So, yes, the Kenya team met all of our objectives by hosting and leading two large multi-day conferences, a VBS, visited an orphanage, a prison, preached at three church services, ministered to the children and staff at Provision School in the slum of Soweto, met with local people to learn about micro business and to better understand microfinance that can help and not hurt, we experienced a safari and saw real African wild life in the wild, we experienced the market and how to barter, we met pastors who testified about the power of relationships with Jeromy and Kim Smith and who instructed us to move slowly in our help to them as we could destroy them if we do too much too fast. Oh my, I could go on but this is long enough. Thank you for your prayers and for all of your support. To God be the glory!