Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Best Birthday

Today, I received the best birthday presents ever, a bold voice and the opportunity to rejoice with angels in heaven...
This past week, we were going door to door- evangelizing to the people in Rare, Kenya. Door to door evangelism has been something I have struggled with because I am very shy and it’s hard for me to speak out while we are in the homes of strangers.
However, last Wednesday was different.
Our translator, Simon introduced us to a group of women who were sitting outside braiding each others hair.
All of them said they were saved, except one, named Beatrice, who was extremely shy. I really felt like God wanted us to talk to her. So, we pulled her aside from the group and we stood in a circle, I waited for one of my team members to start talking to her about Christ. There was an awkward silence.
And then, God told me He wanted me to talk to her.
I was terrified, but I spoke up. I think my voice quivered as I started talking and said,
“Is there something keeping you from accepting Christ as your personal savior?”
She answered,
“I have a lack of peace.”
I knew then, that she was so much like me.
I have struggled with anxiety, fear, and decision making for almost my entire life.
So, I explained to her, with the help of our translator, that I used to struggle with fear and lack of peace. But time and time again God has proven to me that He is a God of comfort, abounding love, and provision. That, when Jesus died for us on the cross, He died to take away our sins and when He rose from the grave, He conquered fears. I told her that I don’t fear anymore, because I know that God is with me and He will never leave me and He will always love me, despite anything I have done- because I am forgiven. I told her that God LONGS to hear her voice call out to Him and when she calls, He will answer her.
I realized I had talked far longer than I had expected, but after I was finished, Beatrice told us that she wanted to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
The rest of my team joined in as we helped her pray “The Sinner’s Prayer”. Afterwards, she smiled as she asked us to write down Bible verses for her to read later.
We told her that the moment she accepted Christ, the angels in heaven rejoiced because one of God’s lost sheep had been found.
Beatrice said she would be at church on Sunday.
I was ecstatic.
It was suddenly so evident that God has given me a bold voice, but being shy, quiet, and full of insecurities, I was never able to be who God created and intended me to be.
He created me to BE BOLD.
To be bold in sharing His truth.
To be bold in speaking out what He speaks.
To be bold in everything I do for Him.

Today, was my birthday.
I was blessed enough to be able to celebrate it in a beautiful, African church service - praising God in song and prayer...we even sang my personal favorite song, “Ni Wewe Bwana.”
It was a great start to an amazing birthday- but as I scanned the pews, I saw no sign of Beatrice.
I was disappointed, but I knew, that I would see her in heaven someday.
After the next song, Katie elbowed me and said, “JM! Beatrice is here...”
My heart rejoiced. I was able to talk with her again and tell her how happy I was again that we are now sisters in Christ.
I wanted to thank her forever, thank her for letting me realize that I have a bold voice to use for furthering God’s kingdom.

Today, I received the best gifts.
A gift from God:
A gift of boldness.
A gift I NEVER thought I had.
And the gift of rejoicing with God’s angels as we celebrate Beatrice becoming God’s child.
I cannot stop praising God today for ALL he has done.
He is so worthy of our praise!
Bwana asifiwe sana! (All praise be to God!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's the moment when...

These past couple weeks have been difficult.
My heart is heavy with memories and thoughts of home and with the overwhelming need that I am surrounded by daily here in Kenya.
But throughout these struggles God has been with me, constantly reminding me why I am here, and blessing me with moments of complete joy.

It’s the moment when we are walking through pouring rain down a dirt road and find shelter in a empty home. Where I sit in the corner next to eleven year old Ruth, who braids my hair into three chunky braids while she sings and worships, “Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other - our God is healer, awesome in power, our God...” It’s when we have to enter the rain again; Ruth and I walking hand in hand down the muddy path and she looks up to me and says, “I will never, ever forget you, Jamie.”

It’s the moment when I am walking through the hospital corridors and see Alex, who greets me with the world’s most sincere and genuine smile, despite not having half of his face. And it’s the moment when I get to sit with this incredibly strong eight-year-old boy and trace our handprints and draw lions (simbas) and cats (pakas) and giraffes (twigas).

It’s the moment when we are passing out bags of corn flour, beans, and lard to the hungry. And four-year-old Lucia, who speaks no english, begs to be spun in the air, chased around the trees, and held in my arms.

It’s the moment of singing songs to the mothers and their babies in the pediatrics ward of the hospital and watching them clap and smile and ask us again to sing another song.

It’s moments like these when I am reminded that I am here for a reason, that God is using me in amazing ways, and that I should not lose heart.

“Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)