I have learnt a lt this year. I learned that things don't always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think it should. And I've learned that there are things that go wrong that don't always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I've learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones. This year wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always comfortable. Some things and situations even break your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you - it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness and on your heart. You take something with you, and hopefully also leave some things behind. I will forever remain humble because I know I could have less. And I will always be grateful because I know I've had less.
We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there even though we go away, and there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. Kenya is such a place. It is truly like Narnia. There is something beautiful about Kenya that is thousands of years old. Too old to be truly captured by poems and songs. Loved by everyone, loved so very deeply. Kenya is everything real in a world of make believe. But even though I left some part of me behind, I also found a part of myself whom I thought was missing. I found her at a lookout point overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful plains of Massaailand. And I couldn't help thinking and knowing that I serve a God who makes the most beautiful things. We serve a God who loves us so much that He would come down to feel what we feel, to experience what we experience and even gave up His life to leave a part of Himself behind to always stay and be with us. This love, I have found, is not passive, it is never disengaged, it is always present and it hangs on every word we say. His love keeps promises, it keeps its word, it honors what is sacred and its vows are good. This love is not broken, it is not insecure, it is never selfish and is always pure. He is a good good father and He truly does not give His heart in pieces. He gives it unconditionally without is having to do anything to gain it. He loves us not only because but He also loves us despite. That is a love that conquers. He shows us this love not only in big things but in the small events of everyday life. He shows it in 14 hour roller coaster bus rides, cramped taxi game drives, swimming in breathtaking rivers, 24 hour campfires, hippo pool hikes, walking with the Massaai, worship sessions, packages from home, starry starry nights, footscrubbing sessions, nutella chapatis, heart key charms, rural house visits, tea cans, very fast bike rides, wind in your hair, Mika, laughter and so much more. So much love I do not have enough pockets to out it in. Kenya, you will forever be one of my most favorite places on earth. Home away from home. You showed me true humility and servanthood. Nothing I have I can call mine because it belongs to the one who knows the number of hairs on my head. Kenya showed me what family in Christ means and showed me firsthand what James meant when he encourages us to rejoice in suffering and to worship in trials. Tough times really do show us that we should always hold on to Jesus. God is good all the time. Keep holding on to Jesus even if the world around you shakes. Kenya You have taught me gratefulness, and if we are true in the small things, God will be true in the big things. Life is more enjoyable and even more beautiful when we hold on to Jesus. He knows what is good. If this is what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus then I will stay here forever. Jesus is everything. His love is everything. May God bless your nation and His people for you have blessed me with a gift that I can never lose. Staring at the beauty of our King. May peace and grace be yours forever. Asante sana Kenya! x x x
Why do we make life so complicated? Why do we so easily make mountains out of mere ant hills? It is not supposed to be this difficult and I dare say it is rather tiring to worry about everything all the time. My stay in Egypt these past two weeks has been a time of growth and transformation. Firstly I would like to mention that all the pictures I have seen, all the history that I have read and heard throughout my years of study about this wonderful place, I could have never imagined it to be so glorious in person. It was like being in a dream. The biggest lesson however, I learned was at a spiritual oasis called Anaphora. It certainly lived up to it's name. I do not know wether it was the stillness and tranquility, the flowers, or the lack of connectivity to the outside world and everything in between which made it such a wonderful place but I have come to the conclusion that wherever there is peace there is freedom. There is so much peace and tranquility there, you just want to remain there forever. It is a place to recharge and renew your mind end even your soul. It is where you feel God in the stillness. I know that He is good. The nuns, whom we call sisters, are beautiful and inspiring. They have so much patience and love, the fruits of the spirit are ever present in everything they do. The other volunteers especially from Sweden and France have stolen a piece of my heart which I will never want back. They have changed my life. Our stay at Anafora will always be longed for in the future to come. God had some things to reveal to me. He has been constantly and slowly moulding my mind and heart to become more like His and pursuing me with a love that conquers every fear. I am learning to love people I do not always like, I am learning to be content with what I have, to be quiet and still and to trust in His timing, for His favor will always come. I received a revelation specifically about the heart and where it is pointing to. In Proverbs 4: 23 it says: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for it determines the course of your life." What is so significant about our entire time in Egypt is that this verse came alive to me through Egyptian mythology. In Egyptian mythology there is a god called Anubis. He guards the gate to the underworld. The Ancient Egyptians believed that when you died, you travelled to the Hall of the Dead. There Anubis weighed your heart against the feather of Ma'at. Ma'at, the goddess of justice sits on top of the scales to make sure that the weighing is carried out properly. If your heart was lighter than the feather, you lived for ever. If your heart was heavier than the feather then it was eaten by the demon Ammit, the Destroyer. The message is quite direct and clear. Our hearts determine the course of our life. If our hearts are set on the wrong course and it is filled with the wrong intentions, it is going to be complicated and difficult. But if it is set on God we can be more than conquerers in even the most trying times. "The boundaries in our lives are determined by what goes on in our hearts."- Brian Houston In other words we do not need to strive for others attention or validation to make us feel better about ourselves. This is not what our hearts should be set on. It should be set on Jesus. The only one who is worthy enough to give opinion and validation. Our hearts determine the course of our life. If it is set on Jesus then it does not matter what our circumstances are or what others say, when we keep our eyes focussed on the one who is love and and the source of peace, we need never to look down but only up. I have gained a peace in my heart which I never want to lose. Because I know my God is already in front of me preparing the way. Anafora, I will always carry our time together in my heart. You have taught my heart to rest in His embrace and to be still and know. He is God and He will always be there to pick me up when I fall.
Imagine a hiking trip that follows the trail of all the places where Jesus performed his miracles and doing it with 10 other spirit filled people, well this is how the 4 day trip started... We received 25 fish right out of the Sea of Galilee from a local and while we waited for our self-proclaimed fishermen to clean and gut them, we tried to cook beans which ended up taking TWO days to soften. So with fish flopping in packets, beans soaking in a ziplock packet and a rubbish bag over my backbag because of the rain, we began our journey of receiving Gods provision. Within 25 minutes we were walking through a grapefruit farm. The joy that filled my heart! We began pushing grapefruit into our already overfilled bags. For the next few hours, happiness covered my heart and a sleeve of sticky grapefruit juice formed on my arms. We walked up and down and all around the Arbel mountains, I'm not someone who usually stops and notices natural scenery but it was impossible to miss Gods glory and beauty this time. The sun was setting and the choices of where to set up our tents were not very 'lively'; next to a dead cow or next to a cemetery... We carried on walking. Without surprise, God lead us to a little farm and we cooked our fish with a grid that the farmer gave us. The following morning we walked through banana vineyards. I have NEVER eaten so many bananas in my life! I felt so loved by God because he knows how much I would have liked this surprise. So we filled packets with them and we ate bananas three times a day for three days. Our God is a God of abundance. By the grace of God, I got to to learn this facet of my best friend and savior. Now that I have experienced that Jesus abundantly gives us in the physical, how much more will He give us of things that are eternal and of more value. A recurring phrase for me and my friend during this time was "I'll provide the coffee and you provide the biscuits." However, I heard God remixing these words in my heart and his version sounds much better. "I'll provide the coffee and the biscuits.. And joy, love, healing, strength, wisdom, protection, grace and peace. You just have to be present in my presence to receive all I have for you. Thank you Provider for your abundance. Thank you Yeshua for your love. Thank you Jesus for your fullness Heb 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
You never know what you can live without until you have to carry everything in one bag on your back -JS
From the moment we were welcomed by white smiles in dark faces, letters on the doors of our new place we will call home for three weeks and a cooked meal which took lots of effort, we knew that our time in Cameroon will be special… We have just entered the land of hospitality and fruitfulness. An exhortation nation.