Since I was a little girl, Africa has consumed me. It was strange as no one in my family had ever been to Africa, I didn’t know anyone who was from Africa or who had any other skin colour than white, I never learned about it in school or saw it on the news but I knew Africa existed and I was captivated. As I grew older, the calling to be in Africa strengthened and I began to pursue this passion. I headed there as a naïve 17-year-old, then a 19-year-old college student, and eventually resided there for 10 months as a 20-year-old short-term missionary. As I pondered where my life was going and what my next steps should be, nothing fit. I planned to do other things, but my ambition faded. I felt pressured by the standards of our society and what the “right” or “normal” life was. Eventually I broke down. That’s when God stepped in and reminded me of my great love for Africa. He has placed this immense passion for Africa in my heart so that I would pursue it for His Glory!
____ I would like to make a special gift of $_____
____ would like to commit to make regular gifts
One night at devotions, I sat in a gazebo and listened to 50 orphaned children belt out some familiar swahili chorus’. I was sitting on a bench and looked up to my right only to see Mercy. I watched her clap her hands, sway back and forth, and sing aloud with all her heart. Those familiar tears welled up in my eyes again. I was moved with compassion for her. I didn’t know where she came from or what had happened in her life. I didn’t know what her dreams were. I didn’t know what she was good at. I didn’t know her favorite colour or her favorite food. But I fell instantly in love with her. Compassion overwhelmed my heart once again.
As I sat beside her, I wondered how I could show her how much I loved her. How do I put this love and compassionate heart that God has given me into action? How do I move with compassion?
One night, I was in her room (that she shares with 11 other girls) when I noticed that she was feeling a bit down. She was lying on her bed watching the other girls dance and play around the room. I asked if everything was ok and she said that she was fine. I then overheard her telling her friend that she had a cold. I simply reached over and started to rub her back.
This time, tears welled up in her eyes.
At that moment I could tell that she knew that I loved her.
At that moment, tears welled up in both eyes.
This is a picture of Mercy (left) and I 4 years later. I have been to Kenya every year since then. Most recently, I spent 10 months in Kenya serving with Africa Inland Mission. I have gone to visit Mercy 8 times. I am so excited to see the girl that she will grow up to be. I am excited as I watch her learn to move in the ways of the Lord. I am excited that she is one of my best friends.
I am heading back to Kenya in a few short months.
I am still moving with compassion.