Today's reflection is from Kenya team members Mark and Elizabeth Scheuerman
When we arrived into the village of Kawira and stepped off of our bus, we were immediately greeted with hugs, kisses, song, and dance. It was beautiful, powerful, and joyful. Oh the JOY! There was so much joy in those few minutes that spilled into the rest of our week (and hopefully the rest of our lives). The people in Kawira are filled with an incredible faith and confidence in a wonderful God who provides, protects, and loves. We pray for the same confidence and trust in our Father. Because they have so little materially to depend on, their dependence on Jesus is so desperate and so real. We are all called to be that desperate for God and utterly dependent on Him. That is where we find peace, love, and joy.
The people we met were so uninhibited in their expression of love, joy, and faith. What we saw was beautiful and kind, a true reflection of their hearts. The adults were genuinely interested in our lives and cared about what we said. They loved us instantly not because of what we could give them, but because we came all the way to Kenya to visit them and brought with us hope and love. They were so excited to share with us their land, food, tea, sugar cane, music, community, culture and love. The children were precious. The moment we stepped off the bus each day, they sprinted to each of us, trying to be the first one to hold our hand. The sweetest sight was a child’s delicate hand covered in dirt wrapped in our own. A lovely reminder of Jesus’ words to “Let the little children come to me.” The kids simply stole our heart with their BIG hearts and BIG smiles. Despite having virtually nothing materially, the children were filled with A LOT of joy and A LOT of love. They love God and KNOW that He loves them. What a blessing! Some of our favorite moments were surrounded around dozens and dozens of children singing and dancing to Jesus.
After our trip to Kenya, we will never be the same. We learned so much about life, faith, love, community and relationships. We learned people are more important than things. We learned relationships will outlast things; things are just tools, and nothing more. Use them, don’t let them consume you. We learned building relationships builds community, and a community looks out for its members. We learned community is better than self-preservation. We learned if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with someone else. If you want to go furthest, go with God. We learned complete trust in God requires complete surrender. We learned the value of hard work, to work as if our life depends on it. Not to accumulate riches, but so we can afford to be extravagantly generous with our time and money. We learned God made us to give of ourselves and resources, not to receive. We learned communication is eighty percent non-verbal and to meet with people, and give the gift of presence. We learned to meet with people whenever possible, if necessary, make phone calls. We were reminded that stuff does not make you happy. Love does. We learned to pray over, and pray with people. Give the Father’s blessing at every opportunity. We learned not to do for another what they can do for themselves. Do with them, in order to uphold their precious dignity.