Tag Archives: kenya

#MissionsMonday My Prayer for Paris

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There is so much that could be said today particularly in light of recent news. I’ve been asked my opinion several times since Friday on the attacks in Paris and why that takes the limelight over other radical Islamic Attacks. People have asked if I’m mad that Paris got more attention than the attack in Garissa Kenya in April this year. I’ve also seen many posts of opinions out there and using Paris Attacks as a platform to say this or that. I have to be honest with you and say I don’t have the right answer. What I can say is that people are hurting right now and lives across the globe are being taken at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists. 147 people died in Garissa Kenya in April at the hands of Al Shabaab which yes is close to the number killed in Paris (although wounded count is higher in Paris). I was grieved then and I changed my Facebook picture to a flag of Kenya with a scripture as I also did in 2013 for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi. I was close to terrorism bombings and killings last summer while in Kenya that never made the news.  In January 2,000+ died in west Africa at the hands of Boko Haram while 12 died in Paris. I wrote about that then to hopefully being attention to what other countries were facing. In Indonesia in recent weeks, 8,000 Christians have been displaced at the hands of jihadists there and threats of imams. ISIS’ attack both in parts of the Middle East this week and Paris have killed numerous lives from many countries and religions, including Muslims. The news reel goes on and on across the globe of devastations even unrelated to terrorism and persecution. We have every opportunity to be informed if we want to be.

Charge To Christians

I saw a few posts by Christians saying statements like “there’s nothing you or I can do about ISIS” or biased posts about the French and many posts about other scenarios like I mentioned above. While I may not have the most eloquent phrases to say to contradict these statements, I must say I disagree with some of it. If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, there IS something that you can do. You can pray. And by that I don’t mean just cute words, but truly carry the heart of God to pray His will over the lost, the hurting, and yes, even the radical jihadists. Because without Christ, even the “best” of people will spend eternity in suffering far worse than anything we could imagine. God is moving across the globe as a result of prayer and actions to obey Him. Lives are being changed and we can partner with Him wherever we are. If you as a believer have biased or prejudices against certain people groups like the French or Muslims, I encourage you to let God heal that area of your heart. His will is that NONE should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. Lastly, we are to “mourn with those who mourn” and France is mourning right now. Yes so is Lebanon and many others, so let’s stand with them too. If you want to pray for more than just Paris, go for it! There’s never an end to praying for the nations, but let’s not decide France’s pain is any less or shouldn’t be recognized. That country needs Jesus like anywhere else and here’s why.

The Real Paris

When I was in Paris for the first time this summer, I was blown away and not just by the beauty of the city. We had a couple of days to explore, but did ministry as well in a place I’d long been burdened for. I must have met people from at least 30 countries. I met people from all over in West Africa, Romania, Russia, Czech Republic, and Bangladesh to name a few. There were language barriers for some who don’t speak French and many were doing things like selling packages nuts in the subway to provide for their families in this strange new place like a man named Luten. My heart broke that all I could do was smile at him and buy a 2nd bag of salted almonds from him. I wanted to encourage, bring life and hope through Jesus, but he spoke such limited French. Paris is home to over 18 million people and is one of the largest urban centers in the world. My heart broke as I was there in a place where I’ve never seen such diversity and backgrounds before. All the French or Parisians we met were so kind and hospitable. Many were beyond gracious with me and my limited french vocabulary and celebrated my attempts to speak their language all the while assuming Stephen was European and I, clearly American haha. I can’t speak for all French people as I can’t for all Americans either, but I can speak God’s heart and it’s that He loves them all. It’s not just a place of fancy architecture, rich sophisticated people and a romantic tourist destination. It’s a city where people from all over have gathered and I stand with France and I grieve with them in their loss. A massive city filled with the nations is now gripped in terror and fear. My prayer for Paris is that they’d be healed and set free from fear and become a city full of the light of Christ and a place of worship for the nations.

Yes Paris hit more media attention, because it’s a “1st world country” and as bad as it sounds to admit, it wasn’t just terrorism somewhere “over there” where specifically the average American can’t relate to. It’s in our backyard so to speak, an ally, and it shook more people here in the USA. Many people have taken vacations there and strolled through Paris’ lovely streets. It was a place they could imagine themselves sitting at that cafe sipping an evening coffee with friends or attending a concert (maybe not death metal…). It’s different than the college in Kenya and very different from the awful Attacks in Lebanon. Is it right that those are often brushed aside and overlooked? No, absolutely not, but as we’ve clearly demonstrated in the USA, we’d rather discuss the color of a dress or coffee cups as our headlines. I say that with ALL the possible love in my heart for my country. But really, that’s what sells and that’s what grabs attention, not talking about (blank) far away country.

The Encouraging News

I’m encouraged in the fact that despite some criticism, the trending hashtag was #prayforParis. It doesn’t bother me one bit that people are praying for Paris. I’m thrilled that many people who maybe haven’t prayed in years or posted anything about prayer on social media jumped right in to unite in prayer. If praying for the nations and the world at large begins by praying for Paris, let it be so! If this attack then begins to open people’s eyes and hearts to search out what’s really taking place in the world then great! I don’t see any harm in everyone uniting around Paris and praying.

While other news might have been brushed aside, maybe eyes will be open and ready to pray for other places and situations. Maybe hearts will unite around other calls to prayer. Maybe hardened hearts will be more open to partnering with God’s heart for prayer. I sure hope so because the world needs more light in this dark hour. Maybe the next time radical Islamic Attacks wipe out innocent people or persecute Christians, the church at large will stop and pray and be vigilant to stand in prayer. Maybe it’ll be such a culture that we’ll all change our Facebook pictures to a globe with the prayer emoji 🙏🌍 instead of arguing about it ;-) I don’t know, but I do know prayer is needed and it is the means by which God shares His heart with us to reach a very hurting world with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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**I’m a work in progress on prayer and partnering with God’s heart for the nations. I have so much to learn, but a practical tip I use and would encourage you to do is to buy a world map. I have a large laminated one I bought for $10 at Mardel. Place it on your wall or print a 8&1/2″ x 11″ paper for your desk or bathroom mirror. Begin to ask God’s heart over certain regions or countries or cities. Listen and joy down prayer points. Look up scriptures on prayer and the nations. Ask God what your part to play is in the Great Commission. God may lay a nation or a city or even a people group on your heart that you’d never expected. Even if an event is overlooked by man, it is never overlooked by God.

Observations of a 6 Month Old Missionary

I want to start this entry by removing the “elephant” in the room (which is only appropriate because I’m in Africa ;) ) and say that the challenges that I’ve faced with my health have definitely created an unusual first few months on the field. Instead of settling in and immersing myself in learning languages and a new culture, I was chasing doctors and trying to get out of pain. That being said, there has been a lot of unplanned events, however God has done great things and taught me a lot. Here’s some humorous pictures to illustrate how I feel followed by what I’ve learned in my first 6th months as a missionary in Africa.

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#1–I confirmed my hatred for bugs…Yes it’s true! I’m a girly girl and while I already couldn’t stand bugs, I’ve confirmed that there is indeed a hatred for them and I’m sure I’ll be asking God one day in Heaven what the purpose of creating them was. The top of my list of questioning is anything that stings, then the newly acquainted bed bugs, closely followed by mosquitoes, safari ants and last by certainly NOT least, cockroaches.

#2—Carpet is now weird to me.
Tonight was the first time in 6 months that my feet touched carpet and it was really REALLY weird! I didn’t even know why I stopped walking and felt weird for a minute or so and then I realized it was because I was on carpet. Everything I’ve walked on has been tile, wood, or rocks.

#3—I have an appreciation for simplicity.
I downsized significantly when we moved to Madagascar. We bought basic things that we would need to live there, but for the most part I had to detach myself from a lot of things and come to terms that it was all just “stuff”. When we came to Kenya for only an intended 8 day trip that then lasted for 10 weeks due to medical reasons, I learned that less is more and I really CAN survive on minimal clothes, no computer, my every day items, etc. We stayed in 10 difference places and being ill in all of that transition was difficult, but certainly not impossible. When we went home to Madagascar at the beginning of July, I was actually overwhelmed with how much I really did have. I sat on the floor in my bedroom more than once and cried because I didn’t know how to decide what to wear. Now that I’m back in Kenya with yet again only one piece of luggage, I’m learning to not hold onto anything I own and it’s freeing in a way. God has continually provided over and over for Stephen and I in our nearly two years of being married and we’ve never lacked in anything from furniture to food. In going through testing, my attachment to material things has changed so much. Just when I think I’m missing out or start to desire things on this Earth, God surprises me with something of more eternal value.

#4–Opportunity is EVERYWHERE!
No matter what difficulty might have been going on personally, people who need Jesus have always surrounded me. This has caused me to continually pour out love. We’ve seen God touch hearts at gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, doctors’ offices and in church services. I just happen to be in Africa, but you don’t have to travel far to bring hope into someone’s life. People need Jesus all around you in everyday situations that you find yourself in.

#5–Being myself is all I need to be.
I stepped into this season feeling uncomfortable in so many ways. I faced leaving all that was near and dear; my hometown, my own background of ministry, my friends and family. I lacked full-time missions experience in comparison to my husband who is a linguistic and is in my opinion a stellar missionary. I compared myself to other missionary women who have raised grown kids, lived overseas for many years, were skilled in sewing, and great cooks. I’m not a Susie Homemaker or from the denomination that I’m currently working for and I felt awkward. To add to this, as a missionary, you’re trying to adapt to a new culture and learn new languages. The art of comparison was a daily challenge and I felt pressured to change who I was. I’m still learning all kinds of new things and I love learning and growing, but I’ve learned most to be content to be who God created me to be. If God wanted to raise me any other way or with any other background and skill set, He would’ve done so. When I operate in insecurity and pressure, I can’t contribute my God-given uniqueness to an environment…and let’s be honest; I will just be really awkward ;) I have my weaknesses, my quirks and shortcomings, but even in this I have to allow God to work on me and through me. If I’m not being true to myself, I’ll fail to represent God rightly to others.

#6—I often miss weird things about home.
The other day I literally daydreamed about donuts…((GAGS))! I can not even tell you the last time that I had one which was 4 or more years ago. There is absolutely no way if I was in the States that I’d get near a donut and be tempted, but literally I desired it the other day. I need help people—keep praying for me! ;) I find that I often miss odd things like that which symbolize home or wish I was home to participate in things that I probably wouldn’t have even done if I was there.

#7–I LOVE PEOPLE….
Seriously I’m the type of person that HAS to interact with others. I work better when I am around people. I’ve always thrived in jobs where I was interacting with others. This season of very limited Internet and most of my relationships being thousand of miles away has been more than challenging. I’ve found myself even today completely STARVED for social interactions and upon meeting up with an old friend I just want to chat chat chat. If I come home and talk even more than usual, please extend some grace ;) I’ve been in new culture and foreign languages where I pantomime most of the time…and talk to my sweet patient husband all day. What do I miss most about home? People. What is the best part of every day? People. I guess this just means that I am in the right job to serve and love people :) But really…I need social interactions with peers!

#8–I have my dream job, but it’s not dreamy.
My pictures at the top describe how I feel often. But really, I’ve dreamed of being in Africa since I was a little girl and as a missionary for about a decade. It’s not that I romanticized it entirely, but I have found that I did to a degree. I’ve found that it’s not always easy to be far away from all that was comfortable and facing challenges that you’d never face back home. Yet at the end of the day it is fulfilling, as it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I cry when I think of lost people around me, when I see them hurting, and when I hear stories that demand a response from God. It’s heartbreaking to continue to see pain and lost people and to know that not all will find salvation and freedom. This is why I know this dream to go to the nations is of God and not something that I dreamed up.

#9–Missions is as much for you as it is for me.
I’m not suggesting that everyone reading this is called to go into full-time missions, but I also don’t want to suggest that I’m specially qualified for this. In fact many of you would have slept more and functioned higher here than I have in this season ;) I’ve realized more than ever that I NEED Jesus absolutely EVERY moment of EVERY day. I’m not anyone who is qualified in a special way or permitted more grace than anyone else to be a missionary. God’s heart beats for missions and because I fell in love with His heart, my heart beats for it too. That’s why I am here in Africa and the same can apply to you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. As a child of God, you too can be whoever He has called you to be by simply loving Him and obeying Him. If he calls you to move your life overseas and do missions work, you CAN do it! If you’re called to start a business or get a higher education to serve Him with, you CAN do it. There is grace to love Him freely and live for Him rightly even when it’s uncomfortable to our flesh and desires. We are living in a critical hour where MANY need to know of His great love no matter where we find ourselves in this world.

*Lastly, I’d like to say that #10—Steripods are a MUST!…they are little sterilizing non-toxic clips to put on your toothbrush bristles and…amen! No ant, cockroach, gecko etc., will crawl on your toothbrush! It is at the top of my list of things to stock up on in the USA :)

Just for more laughs, since SK is an MK (Missionary kid) here’s another pic
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