Last week I wrote about the wonderful, last minute surprise of being able to go to Kenya! Now that I am back home and have had time to reflect on the experience, I recognize every time I go to Kenya I see joy in the midst of extreme poverty, compassion and love out of very little provision, and experience the refreshment of simplicity.
I struggled to pack, deciding what of the many options of outfits I had to take, what I would not want to be there without, and grumbled about how heavy my baggage was traipsing through various airports. However, I did not want to take the risk that I would get there and discover I was without an imperative item. Once there I quickly realized that I had brought way more than I would need or use and that my concern for my “material goods” far outweighed what I would experience spiritually and emotionally.
As I was with the beautiful Kenyan men and women who have little choice of clothing options and life’s conveniences, yet were welcoming and thrilled to have time together; whether it be in a nice lodge setting or a dirt-floored church, I realized that it was the relationships that were key. Not an outfit I was wearing, or gadgets or conveniences I had, but the fact that I would come clear across the ocean and land to spend time with them. That I care about them, pray for them, encourage them, and remember them as I returned home. One pastor shared how much it meant to him that I brought the True Identity message and materials, transforming his life, his marriage, and that of his congregation and community. I felt very humbled realizing that my concern was sometimes more focused on my own comforts rather than how I could best be used by God and uplift them.
I was refreshing to see “less is more.” When I let go of the trap of feeling I had to look just so or constantly be in a place of convenience, I could focus on the exhilarating moments of being with brothers and sisters in Christ in a completely different culture, and be set free to share in the delight of our united faith. God blessed me with testimony after testimony of how True Identity has impacted their lives and how much they appreciate the loving relationship we share. I had more fun celebrating life and our love for the Lord together in a variety of settings. From talks on a patio overlooking the Nairobi valley to sharing with kids at an orphanage, to significant ministry meetings and late night chats at a lodge, praising God in a small church to seeing the countenance of ladies’ change as they learned of their TRUE identity as daughters of the King! Every moment was as if God was smiling down on me and gifting me with these precious relationships and moments. There is no price tag on that. No material item that can replace it or trump it. I felt utterly rejuvenated in experiencing the “less is more” in my time in Kenya.
“I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.” 2 Timothy 1:4
So as I have returned home, I want to recall this key insight. I want to be free from all the trappings here and focus on what’s important – relationships with others. It’s not what you were wearing that people will remember, but how you made them feel when you were with them. I know how they made me feel. Loved, accepted, cherished, special and greatly encouraged! It was out of their simplicity and purity of spirit that I was most touched. And it is because of this that I love going to Kenya and spending time with these precious loved ones, thankful once again for the opportunity to be reminded of the things most important in this life.
For His Glory,