I Left My Heart In Africa


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.

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Learning to Love

Since being in Colombia I often asked myself how do I love other people? Out of a society where everybody looks for their own interests and tries to get the best out of everything I didn't know how to love others. I know God loves us so much that He gave His son for us and how Jesus loved other people way back in the past. But how does it look like today?So I went and sought God for it to show me how to do it and for opportunities to put the theoretical knowledge into actions.  God is faithful and in a prayer meeting of the church in Santa Marta the pastor talked about the most valuable gift we can give to other people - Jesus. Often poor people ask for money, we don't have money with us and we send them away, but at least what we can do is to pray for them and talk about Jesus. One day later God gave me the opportunity to do this and it was the first lesson I got on my journey to love others. Obviously I got reminded on the teachings from Norm Wakefield in Training, when he spoke about God's kind of love to give and to be used, not to get or to use others. To get a deeper understanding I read his book 'Equipped to Love' and learned how to build idolatry free relationships.My theoretical foundation was set, ready to show it in deeds. In a devotion we played a game with the children in where they needed to pick up peas by sucking them on the end of a straw, walking through a little obstacle parkour and putting them into a cup. Most of the time the peas fell down and they had to go on their knees to pick it up again to finish the task.  This is how I felt when we visited homeless people in a big old house provided by the government. We went there to proclaim God's kingdom and to hand out food, toilet paper and soap. Getting out of the car some little and dirty girls already waited for us and wanted to play with us. I grabbed some boxes to carry upstairs for an excuse to not play with them.  We walked into the house and we met in a stinky and unclean patio. Four to six people are living in a small dirty room without beds or toilets. Sickness, prostitution, noise, crying people and more horrible circumstances are part of their daily lives. I stood in the corner and was shocked, but remembered what journey God brought me on.  So what can we do here without love? Paul writes in 1.Corinthians 13:2 that we can move mountains, but without love we are nothing! Same as in the game I needed to bow down on my knees, pray for God's help and jump into this humbling process. Playing with the dirty children, hugging them, loving them and showing them that they are normal humans.  We often see being a Christian as a sacrifice. NO, it is the biggest treasure we can give to others and this evening gave me joy that I haven't had for a long time! It is also an amazing opportunity to love like Jesus, unconditional and without expecting something back.  God teaches me how to have an idolatry free relationship with others and I pray that he will take me deeper to live this completely out.  # 

Since being in Colombia I often asked myself how do I love other people? Out of a society where everybody looks for their own interests and tries to get the best out of everything I didn't know how to love others. I know God loves us so much that He gave His son for us and how Jesus loved other people way back in the past. But how does it look like today?

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Holy Ground


"What we do, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling."

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Shika Yesu - "Hold on to Jesus"


  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
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Dear Ethiopia...


When I first laid my eyes on you and the rolling hills you sat upon. I thought what amazing luck I have that God had created such beautiful things and gave me the eyes to see them.  I am forever changed by your existence. You are a place filled with so many stories and I feel so privileged to share some of these stories with you. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimental sense of how things work. You can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.  These interesting guesses were what brought our team to a lot of interesting places ranging from the far North to the ever ongoing South. You taught me the names of these cities, and I saw that each one of them tell a different story. You introduced me to people that showed me characteristics of Jesus in such a simple and beautiful way. I learnt about the importance of our dependance on God and also what it truly means when Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 "...in every situation I am to be content."  I learnt that everything in life needs some sort of foundation, I came to the conclusion that Jesus must be this foundation. Just like the wise  builder built his house on the rock. I learnt that rest is necessary especially when we do it in His presence. He gives answers when we listen. I learned that one smile can heal a heart that had walls so tall and painted blue, but now has a door to let people through.  Ethiopia you showed me how the Father gives so much more to those He loves. We ask for one ministry point He gives us all of Ethiopia. Kindness is your specialty and somehow you grasp the importance of giving, not only things but yourselves as well. I am truly humbled by it.  I will be forever grateful for these foundations you reminded me of. Thank you for showing me what love is by also showing me what it is not.  I will carry it in my heart.  I will carry you in my heart.  YoursTill we meet again  

 

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Hadhih Hadia - "This is a gift"


 

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His love has won me forever


 

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