Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A very unexpected longing...Kibera Slum - Nairobi, Kenya

Stepping in your eyes are opened wider.

The 2011 Team walking into the Slum.

All along the way children greet you with an endearing...
"How are you?"

Some areas of the trek into the school are not the easiest to
manage with waste running through. 

Children are everywhere.

Some of the children at the 
Saviour King's Academy

I don't believe 20 years ago, 10 years ago, maybe not even 5 years ago I would have believed my dear hub and I would be preparing to take a team of 17 to the Kibera Slum this year. Last year was our initial  introduction to being "THE" team leaders. (We had helped lead small parts of a group before but never an entire trip). 

Don't get me wrong... this is an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE. The fact that any human, and especially God, sees us as fit to lead is truly humbling and encouraging at the same time. 

What I do want to point out is that, although we may not have seen this coming a decade or so ago, it literally BURNS within us. We simply cannot stop caring about these precious ones that God bestowed on us as HIS GIFT. Every single child we have met becomes a piece of our heart, and spurs us on to be a voice for them. I am sure our friends become weary at times as we continue to speak about these little ones we treasure in Africa. We simply cannot help it... it has now become a BIG part of who we are... and I am so VERY THANKFUL! 

It is one of the things that keeps me crying to God. It breaks me down. It removes my breath and takes me to my knees. Flashing in my brain are the images of children who's faces light up with a big smile & a twinkle in their eye, despite their bulging malnourished tummies.  I hear the children's repeatedly spoken words of "How are you?", with the unspoken words of desperate situations in their homes: parents who are deathly ill, no parents at all, abandoned, beaten, no money for food, one meal a day only - given at school, no shoes, torn - dirty clothes, worms, infection, dirty water. 

All of these memories and facts bring me to a deeper place of relationship with God. You see, I cannot really do much at all by myself to make a difference. I am one person with an abundance of weaknesses. Most of the time I do not believe I am capable of doing much at all. Yet, I know the one who IS Strength - the ONE who proves himself through my weakness. When it weighs heavily on my heart I remember the one who is HOPE - the one who restores the broken, who brings water to the dry and weary. When I worry about the children's safety.."who will protect them at night?" I remember the ALMIGHTY who is their shelter and their protector. I can CRY OUT to the ONE who has ALL of the ABILITY in the WORLD to make a difference. He LISTENS, He CARES, He ACTS, He LOVES

I will be honest... I would not have ever asked for this unexpected longing in my heart. In fact - when I re-committed my life to Christ at 25 I added a disclaimer... "Just don't ask me to go to Africa or someplace like that!"  This longing to help these people may feel too much to bear at times. Yet today I say.. BRING IT ON!!! It draws me to an AMAZING relationship built on trust with my LOVING FATHER. There is no other place that I would rather be then in His presence seeking His will for these precious ones, my family, my friends and myself.

Isaiah 40:30-31

The Message (MSG)
 27-31Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
   or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me.
   He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
   He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
   And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
   gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
   young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
   they walk and don't lag behind

Personal Reflection:
I challenge you to think about what it is that makes you feel shakey as you walk through life? What makes you nervous? What leaves you feeling helpless? This is exactly where God wants to meet you.  Seek Him with your questions and concerns. If you don't know Him? Ask Him to show up... to prove that he exists. He is just waiting for you...

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