I was going through some of my old emails today and I stumbled across this one. This is an update I had written to some family and friends after my very first trip to Kenya in December 2005. It's amazing to think that that was almost 5 years ago! My first trip to Kenya was monumental for me. It was probably one of the most significant experiences in my life and my walk with God. I came back transformed with a new Love and a fired up passion for Africa.
*Note that I haven't changed anything so spelling and grammatical errors are in abundance. But keep in mind, I was only 17 and writing was definitely not my forte.
well i thought that i would write all of you and tell you a little of my african experience since you all have supported me not only financially but also through your thoughts and prayers. I GREATLY appreciate everything you have done.
I am sure you have heard the little things about my trip like seeing all The african animals and having to bath in a bucket. But i experienced far more than that. The first sunday i was there i went to the church that is a branch of my church. My oh my i have never seen anyone worship the lord more. there were maybe 20 people in it but they were louder than the congregation at home which has almost 150-200 people in it. it really touched me. I couldn't stop smiliing cause it was amazing. you see these people and they have practically nothing yet they are thanking and worshipping the lord for everything they have..it was so inspiring to me. BUt little did i know that that was only the beginning of my journey...
I then left my group and went to the orphanage. It was one of the hardest days of my life because i had to leave these people and go with some stranger in a foreign country to an orphanage that i knew not much about.
It scared me but reality also kicked in. this had been my dream for so long and this was the day that it was going to come true. so i think i cried for about 9 hours straight haha. when i got to the orphanage a big white man came out to greet me and my heart was at ease. i ate dinner then i got a tour of the orphanage. It was night time so all the kids were supposed to be sleeping but they heard me coming and as i approached their rooms i could here whispers. then a couple came out and gave me hugs, and then more came,then more, and more, and before i knew it all 90 of them were surrounding me and hugging me and loving on me. it was everything i iamgined..so amazing..i went back to my room and cried.
The next couple days were difficult to me. I had huge culture shock and missed home like crazy. I would cry and cry and pray that i could get a plane ride home early...wel what do you know..god answered my prayer and I got a plane ticket home. Well i then started tohave better days and start to get to love the people and the day before i was supposed to leave i was so upset and i prayed that God would give me what is in my heart. well god pulled through agaiN!! i missed my ride back to nairobi and was unable to come home. wow that really gave me so much confidence in the lord... from then i realized that i could get through anything because he is A LWAYSwith me. When i am homesick and feeling alone i know that he is right beside me. HE also showed me that he would never put a problem or circumstance in my life that he knew i couldn't overcome. HE doens't want to see me fail...he wants me to succeed and to learn to lean on him. Well the day that i found out i was going to stay was probably the most relaxed and comfortable day I had there. i started to embrace the people and i wanted to learn more about the lifestyle. Everyone could tell that i was happy. One of the little girls said to me " you have a smile on your face and you are happy now. I was praying for you to be happy and for you to stay" i couldn't believe that god pulled through for that little girl too.
WEll as days passed i became more and more hungry for god. i Wanted to Learn and soak up as much of him as i could. I learned about him through the kids. EVEry night before dinner they would have devotions. well my first devotions i sat next to one of the older girls whose name was mercy jepcosgai. She was leading all of the songs thatnight. I looked up at her and it hit me. She was an orphan but look at what she is doing now. SHe has so much faith in the lord because you see what she has come from to where she is now and the only way to describe it is because of the grace of god. She is not sad because her parents died, she has the lvoe of god. Well devotions were some of my favorite times there. One time a girl asked me if people in Canada drink beer. I told her that some do then she asked if people in Canada know jesus and i told her that some do. she told me that everyone should know jesus. another time i was going to say good night to some of the girls and i walk aroudn and there is a little girl who was only 4 years old and she was running around the room yelling "god is good all the time." it was funny because she probably knows what it means but she doesn't know any english.there were so many little moments with the kids that i wish i could have on tape because they were so precious.
I lived with a family who had 5 children who were all around my age. I fell absolutly in love with all of them. THey were all children who loved and worshiped the lord and they really showed me the type of people that i need to surround myself with here in canada. i learned so much from them and considered them my brothers and sisters. another cool thing was to know that they would go through the same things that kids in north america go through. The have boy problems or girl problems or peer pressure or self consciousness...that was some thing i didn't expect to find in africa
Well in my 4 weeks in kenya i learned, and saw and experienced more than some people do in their lifetime. I am still trying to process it. I know that i have now a new appreciation for everything i have and i will try to embrace things more. I know that in life somethings really aren't as important as we think they are adn that we need to focus more on those that are important like god, family, friends, etc. I have realized who my true friends are. I now feel like i could conquer anything!
I know now that that's my passion. Everyone has different passions whether it's volleyball or art or sports or business. Mine is children in africa and my dream is one day to run my own orphanage in africa.
ANyways i hope that i gave you lots of insight of my trip. there is so
Much more i would love to tell you but i would be writing emails for hours. I would love to hear from you all..what you think and all..i am attaching a picture of my and mercy jepcosgai. After she made me cry in devotions, i began to fall in love with her and she became my favorite kid. i wanted to take her home and hug her and shower her with my love and money.
well i thank god for your love and support
Mercy Jepcosgei and I in 2005
This orphanage is now my home and the family is now my family. I still visit often when I can. The kids mentioned are still some of my favourite kids on earth. I love being apart of their lives till today. The passion for Africa has only grown. Actually, in the recent months, my heart to start my own children's home one day is flaring up again. I have been dreaming a lot about what it would look like and where it would be and the children I would have in it. And of course my Maker, Best Friend, Companion, Lover, Father, Protector, Provider, Saviour is still right by my side.