The picture is of me on my first trip to Kenya in July of 2011, overlooking the Serengeti Plain while on safari. We were at the beginning of our trip, so I still had ten days of unknown unfolding of all God had in store and in sharing the TI message with Kenyans for the first time. I was soaking in the beauty of God’s spectacular creation around me, praising Him for the incredible opportunity to be there.
It was a miracle I was sitting there in that place, as just three days before I was in the doctor’s office having a routine mammogram and ultrasound. The doctor gravely said, “The dark spot on the mammogram was not a cyst as you’ve had before, but a mass.” She was intensely concerned and asked if I could postpone or cancel my trip and have a biopsy the next day. I told her, “No, I have to be on that plane to Kenya tomorrow night. The biopsy will have to wait until I get back.” The doctor was not pleased when I told her I’d be back in three weeks, but gave approval if I promised to make an appointment for a biopsy before I left the office that day.
I made the appointment for two days after my return, and the nurse told me, “You just go and do what God has for you there and don’t worry about this. As long as you have the biopsy as soon as you’re back, you should be fine. I will be praying for you!” Those words were a balm to my soul and affirmation that I was doing the right thing. God flooded me with His peace the minute the doctor shared her concerns, and He sealed it with the words from the nurse. I KNEW without a doubt that I was to go on this trip.
So while I sat on that bench overlooking the Serengeti, I was overwhelmed with gratitude saying, “Lord, if I never get to come back here again, thank you for this amazing experience. Keep me in your peace and use me mightily for your Kingdom purposes.” I did not mention to anyone on our team what had transpired a few days earlier, not even to my daughter who was with me, as I didn’t want my situation to take away anything from the trip or ministry.
I soaked up every minute not knowing what awaited me back home after the biopsy. My senses were exploding with all I was experiencing. I was fascinated by the contrast of beauty with chaos and poverty; the contagious joy amongst intense struggles. I was greatly inspired by the testimonies of the believers I met and felt my spirit soar through worship with them. God bonded my heart and soul with the Kenyans and the response to the True Identity message was profound! I unexpectedly loved every minute of the trip and held out hope that someday I may be able to return.
I had the biopsy two days after I got back. Three days later I received a call from the doctor that I had breast cancer. I put a bulletin board up on my bedroom wall and called it my HOPE BOARD. I tacked pictures of my new Kenyan faith brothers and sisters on it along with encouraging scripture verses and notes from friends. As I struggled through treatment and recovery, I would look at the board and pray and ask God to grant me the gift of restored health so I would be able to return to Kenya. I had a sense deep down that God’s purposes for me and for True Identity in Kenya was just beginning. It kept me going and gave me added drive and determination.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB)
Fast forward to today. Now four years later, healed and healthy, I just returned from my SIXTH trip to Kenya! In these four years, God has established True Identity in Kenya in ways I never could have imagined. Many have given testimony to how the TI message has transformed their families, churches, and communities and is setting thousands free in their TRUE Identity in Christ! They feel that the TI Message is one for “such a time as this” for their country.
On this recent trip, I was overwhelmed with awe and thankfulness as I stood looking out over a congregation gathered in a dirt-floored church in a remote village in the Kenyan mountains. There were over 100 people there excited to hear from the “Muzungu” (white person) who had come from far away to share her story. It was almost like an out of body experience. Here’s this broken little girl, who thought her life was a mistake, standing before a gathering of people from another land and culture; sharing her journey of severe rejection and depression, to healing and freedom in her true identity in Christ. I felt God smiling down on me and saying, “THIS is what I created you for! THIS is what my purpose for your life is!” And I have been totally shocked and blown away! Never in a million years did I think going to Africa, to share my story and the TI message, would bring me into the center of God’s will for my life. (Especially since missions work terrified me for most of my existence!) In each trip to Kenya, I experience more and more of an intense sense of fulfillment, delight, and gratitude.
“You meant evil against me, but God meant if for good.” Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
I realized looking back, that if I had gone to the doctor one week or month earlier in 2011, I most likely would not have gone to Kenya. Satan has tried to derail my purpose more than once. But what he intended for harm, God has used for good!
God has a plan and purpose for your life. Every thread of what has made you, you, is with intentional design to prepare you and equip you for His purpose for you. You may be at the beginning or in the middle of the development process, or perhaps near the point of full launching and discovery of it, but trust the Lord in the process. His timing is often not ours, and His ways are not of our reasoning. Surrender to His will and plan and seek it with all your being. And one day you may be in a situation where all the pieces come together, and you experience that exploding joy of knowing you are doing exactly what He designed and desires for you to be and do!
Next stop on my God-purposed adventures; Peru!
For His Glory,
Romans 8:28 – “All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.”