Friday, July 27, 2012

What Kenya means to me...

So I've told you about my trip, I've told you about how you can help, I've shown you pictures, but now I wanna tell you exactly what Kenya means to me...

When I was ten years old, I went to G.A. Camp at Circle 6... Mrs. Tammy a missionary from Israel was there and talked about missions. She said something I will NEVER forget... "Sometimes you have to get a q-tip and clean out your ears, because they are so full of your own ear wax (our own thoughts) and not not God's wax." So as a ten year old, I did a lot of praying that week and answered God's call in my life to missions. I knew at that moment I was going to serve God around the world.... little did I know Africa was my location...

So how did Africa get set in my heart?! Honestly, I couldn't tell you, but I know it's been in my heart to go serve in Africa since at least High School, could be before that. I wasn't sure what country but I knew I was called to Africa. Well I have a childhood friend who is a missonary in Kenya, so I began looking for trips to Africa when I got into college.

THREE YEARS in college and every trip I had planned or looked into (probably 5) kept getting pushed down, parents said no, funds weren't there, DOORS SHUT!!! Then one day my mom found a trip with Servant Life to work at an orphanage in Kenya, but SMALL WORLD, the orphanage is run by a family who use to live in Peaster (outside of Mineral Wells) and now live in San Angelo (where I go to college), churches i attend sponsor them, but here's the big catch, the little brother of the couple who run the orphanage is a friend of mine and I was on BSM leadership (the little time i was on it) with the nurse at the orphanage.

so i applied for the trip in January and by March I was totally funded! 3,000 dollars PAID! I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for the trip. It was all God! It was insane how the trip just played it's self out....actually it was all God. I'd like to share something my mom wrote and gave to me when I got back to America, it gave me chills and brought me to tears.

My Trip to Kenya: By Lesa Burgeson
I remember praying over and over during my pregnancies the prayer of Samuel's mother. 1Samuel 1:27-28, "For this child I prayed as long as she lives she shall be lent to the Lord." After all of these years I still remind myself that my daughters are mine to love and care for and nurture, but their ultimate purpose is for the glory of Jesus Christ.

When I was nine years old I felt called by God to some sort of special service. My immediate thought as a young girl was that I was Africa bound. Trouble was I didn't want to go to Africa. God eventually revealed to me what He wanted me to do in this life and to my relief it wasn't to live in Africa. But years later that call to Africa would be placed in the heart of my daughter, and I would be part of Africa after all.

My oldest child has been given a heart for missions. She truly desires to Go and share the love of Christ to all people. Of course her heart's desire has always centered on Africa. As a college student she traveled to Peru twice, but Kenya was shouting her name. She had an opportunity to go to Kenya, but I felt under the particular circumstances she would not be safe, so she obeyed me and traveled to Peru for a second time. I should mention that both of her trips to South America she was accompanied by her father which means no worries for me.

During her junior year in college I cam upon an organization called Servant Life. This particular organization sends groups to Kenya to work in an orphanage. I researched for three days before I told my daughter Ashlee. I felt pushed by God to tell her. I can assure you I didn't want to tell her. The moment I showed her the website I could tell she was already there. She wasted no time in organizing all the details that would have to be taken care of, and what would happen over the next months would be nothing short of miraculous. Money was raised, shots were endured with no ill side effects, prayers were prayed and answered, and like a puzzle, piece after piece fell into place. It was my piece that I worried about, how could I possibly put my piece in that puzzle. It was at that moment my journey to Kenya began.

Control is an issue that I have dealt with my whole life. I especially feel the need for control when it pertains to my children. I must protect them, teach them, nurture them, listen to them, and love them.  The months that would lead to my daughter leaving would be my time of learning to let go and trust God to take care of my daughter.

I prayed for every imaginable detail, I prayed for safe travel, that all those awful shots wouldn't make her ill, that she wouldn't be kidnapped, I prayed fro her health, that she would be filled with courage, that God would use her, that she wouldn't be afraid, and the list goes on and on. With each prayer I prayed, God answered and assured me. I would let go of a particular worry with the assurance of my Heavenly Father only to grab that worry back again and the painful process of letting go would start over.

As the week of her leaving finally arrived I can tell you that God had done quite a number on my heart. I had let go of my daughter, His daugher, a piece of painful piece. But I knew that if I truly begged her not to go would reconsider. I still held the last piece of the puzzle. Only by God's grace could I place my piece. Months of spiritual ups and downs, letting go and taking back, questioning if God really loved my child. With each doubt, I was always reminded that He loves her more than I do, a hard concept to handle when you have control issues. My journey to Kenya had begun the moment I said, "Ashlee you can go," and was going to end the moment I let go. God had convinced me she needed to go to Kenya and that there were great days ahead. 

We arrived at the airport, did the necessary airport things. We recieved boarding passes, baggage inspected, and finally the trip through security. I touched her one last time and she began the security process. I stood and watched every movement, every gesture, she collected her things turned around, smiled, waved and blew me a kiss. At that moment my piece had been placed in the puzzle, and my journey to Kenya was over. Ashlee's journey to Kenya had just begun.

As we left the airport God spoke softly. It was a gentle reminder of a prayer I had prayed twenty-one years ago. For this child I prayed as long as she lives she shall be lent to the Lord.

DANG! So, I'm sure you are wondering why I posted my moms story... Well you see, I live 3 hours from my family and 80% of the time I am homesick, but the moment I laid foot in Kenya, I wasn't homesick at all... I missed my family, but I realized I was home.... However I got really discouraged throughtout the week. As I was holding baby Blessing, playing futbol with the boys, leading worship during VBS, or playing peak-a-boo with Chumba.... I questioned myself a lot... Was I doing enough? These kids need more... Is loving on these babies for a week, really going to make a difference? Well a childhood friend of mine, who I haven't really spoken with in a few years, messaged me on facebook, and I'd like to share it with you.

From Katy Miller
Hey sweet friend,
I hope you are doing well! So, on Sunday during church I was praying about a few things and you were brought to my heart. I began praying for you and your trip to Kenya and the Lord spoke to me and I feel like I am supposed to tell you! (Love when that happens) So while I was praying for you this song was playing: "you are stronger, you are stronger, sin is broken, you have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen, Jesus you are Lord of all!" For some reason I saw you holding a sweet orphan and being so burdened over him or her. Your heart was broken for them and there was a struggle in you. God kept saying "I am stronger" so, here's what I am bringing from this, I think its important to remember that the Lord IS stronger and death has been conquered. Some of those children live in a world that seems so unfair. It seems that just simply loving them and meeting temporary needs is not enough. But the battle has already been won...there is hope for those sweet babies. In Christ, all things are made new! They will be made new! Don't feel are doing a beautiful thing and our God is stronger...and victorious! 
I don't know what this means to you but I hope it brings you some kind of encouragement. I will continue to pray for you as you are on your adventure in Kenya. Please let me know what specific things I can pray for. 
Love you Ashlee B! 

So why do I share these? Because I want to show you how God was in the midst of this trip and my heart... A little over a month ago, Mattaw Children's Village got a new baby girl from the hospital. Abandoned and abused the three year old, was the size of maybe a one year old, she was too weak to walk, and her legs were tiny.... I began praying for her and was longing for the moment I arrived in Mattaw to hold her. I saw her, a guy from New Mexico was holding her, and I went over and asked if I could hold her, as soon as I got her out of my hand, she was taken away...DISAPPOINTMENT. Well we went to eat lunch, and i randomly picked house three to eat in. I looked over at the table, and there sat Blessing! After lunch and doing the dishes, I went in and talked to Baba Joseph and Mama Grace, I told her about the connection I had with Blessing... Mama Grace went to get her, and the moment she was placed in my hands, I felt God answer all the prayers I had prayed for that little girl. I repeatedly prayed 1Samuel 1:27-28 (I had no idea that s what my mother prayed for me). As I spent the week with her, I became discouraged I wasn't doing enough.... Then received Katy's message. Little Blessing is now walking, talking, smiling, laughing, and LIVING! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

This is  the child, and I was literary praying over her 1Samuel 1:27-28.

As we left Kenya, if a 21 year old could throw a fit kicking and screaming I would have. I did not want to go, and then God spoke softly to me as I was boarding the plane. "Ashlee, you aren't done here." I don't know if that means I go back for a summer or I go back for a while. I am still praying about the duration of my next trip, but I do know that once I graduate I will board a plane back for Kenya. Until I get back I will love on the people in America....

Last story:

A 14 year old boy at Mattaw, named David, has a very stern face. He has been at Mattaw since 2009. He was a big help to me with the little kids, but he broke my heart. He didn't smile much, kept to himself, but at one point he said, "You're my friend". We created a secret handshake and on the last day, minutes before I got in my van, we did our secret handshake and he gave me this letter.
 A child who was an orphan, but given a second chance realized that you have to tell everybody God loves them....  I am on my way back to Kenya, but until then I am serving here in U.S! My heart has been left in Kenya and I miss them greatly. :(

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