Well, we’re moving to Kenya. Yep, that’s right. Kenya. As in Africa.
It’s hard for me to fully articulate how this happened, but I’ll try to walk you through this journey.
I grew up in a Christian home, surrendered my life at an early age, received a quality public school education, and went on to attend Texas A&M University. While there, I met my wonderful husband, Robert. After leaving college, we got married, Robert began a career in construction management, and we had two precious boys, Caedmon and Malakai. I was a wife and stay at home mom, 2 things I’ve wanted to be since I was young. We had just bought our first house and were deeply involved in our home group through our church. We were settling in to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and were enjoying our new surroundings.
Yet, we were still dissatisfied.
See, our entire marriage, we couldn’t quite put our finger on the restlessness in our hearts. Robert was in construction, and I stayed at home with our boys. His job required long hours, even taking him to a job 7 hours away at one point. We were continually questioning his career path. Was this what God wanted from our family? Was this truly His will for our lives? Why could we not get to the point of accepting this as our calling, and fully embrace it? I was constantly struggling and wrestling with the thought that Robert was going to be climbing the corporate ladder, giving more and more of himself to his job, while I stayed home missing him. We prayed that he would have boldness of faith at work, and that he would see it as his ministry. I pleaded with the Lord to help me encourage him in his career and make our home a safe, inviting place.
And we still were confused.
We came to a crossroads in the fall of 2013. Something had to change. It was non-negotiable.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We had been seeking the Lord, but not from the right perspective. We wanted him to bring us contentment and satisfaction. What we weren’t doing was seeking His righteousness. It was very selfish. We hadn’t gotten to the place of truly asking Him to show us His plan, so He took us to the edge where we had to choose. Were we going to continue seeking contentment, or His kingdom? Satisfaction, or His righteousness?
So He asked us to date.
Every Sunday when we put the boys down for a nap, we would convene in the living room and have a date. We called it our Focus Date, an intentional time for us to focus our efforts on seeking the Lord and what it was He had planned for our family. This time was so sweet. We would pray, read the Bible, and discuss our family’s purpose. We came up with five main areas of focus; missions, character qualities, financial goals, the Word of God, and prayer. These were the areas we wanted to focus on teaching the boys, a way to narrow down our parenting goals and family vision. During those times, God really knit our hearts for a common goal: we wanted to know Christ more, and we wanted to know His call on our lives. We started praying that He would make that clear, whatever it was. Whether it was a career in construction, a career change, or something that was not even on our radar, we pleaded with Him to reveal it to us. Our desire was to know His plan for us so that we could embrace it. We were not looking for an easy out. If construction was the career God had for Robert, then I needed to know so that I could get counseling. Seriously. I was really struggling.
And then I woke up one January morning with a mission.
Our church had partnered with a children’s home in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, called Naomi’s Village (NV), and they had recently featured them during a missions emphasize week. We had heard of NV but had never taken the time to see what they were all about. When I woke up that morning, I felt an urge to get on their website and look into sponsoring some kids. They use child sponsorship to pay for every aspect of raising these sweet kiddos, and I felt compelled to join their efforts. We found 3 precious brothers who had recently come to NV, and we were in love. After agreeing to sponsor the boys, both Robert and I started feeling that we should do more. We didn’t just want to be a paycheck, but we wanted to fully invest in these brothers. The next step? A trip to Africa. Just like that. It didn’t seem strange or rash, it just seemed right and good.
As we began discussing in more detail what that would look like, we learned more about NV and their vision. We learned that they were committed not only to feeding and sheltering these kids, but to raising them with a biblical world-view, focused on serving God and others. They were raising a generation of Kenyans who would love the Lord and desire to see His Name glorified. That really pricked our hearts, and we were falling more in love.
We also learned that they were in the process of raising funds to build a school, Cornerstone Preparatory Academy, that would serve 450 of the kids in that area. The Kenyan school system was severely lacking, and in order to propel this generation to greatness, a new education system needed to be put in place, one that focused on educational excellence, character development, and leadership training. When Robert heard of this project, his heart was immediately stirred. We started throwing around the idea of possibly moving over there to help out. That would be neat, we thought. Sure, we could do something like that for a few years. Our Focus Dates started happening daily as we wrestled with this idea. Our prayers became more and more detailed and fervent. We begged the Lord to answer us and make our path clear. And then we were told that they were not looking for short term missionaries. They wanted long term partners.
Well, that changed things up a little bit.
Suddenly, Robert and I were contemplating moving to Kenya with our 2 small boys for an indefinite amount of time. How did we get here? What would people think? Were we sure this was God’s calling on our lives? Our short term trip, that was originally planned for August of 2014, was pushed up to May.
Then we went to Kenya.
And God said come. See what He was doing. Experience His blessed redemption in a land stricken with pain and poverty. And find His joy and peace that are indescribable. Jesus spoke to us and stirred our hearts and removed all doubt about what He was asking us to do. He was inviting us to go to Kenya.
And we said yes.
Yes, we will move to the other side of the world. Yes, we will go to a land that is unfamiliar and different. Yes, we will leave our family and friends, no matter how difficult. Yes, we will put aside all our hopes and dreams for the future. Yes, we will trust you with our 2 precious sons. Because you are the God of the Nations. You are the only steadfast thing in our lives. You will provide strength and comfort. Your plans are far better than ours. And our sons are not our own. They belong to You. And we will fall in love with a people we do not know, because You are in love with them.
We can not fully explain all that went on in our hearts while we were in Kenya. It was not easy. We struggled and laughed and gave thanks and cried. And we came back different. We came back with the resolve that this was indeed God’s perfect plan for our lives. We were not looking for Kenya. That was not part of the plan we had for our family. But we found God in Kenya. And He has rescued us from what we thought we wanted.
Isn’t it dangerous over there? Yes, it is. But there is no safer place to be than right where God wants you.
And He wants us in Kenya.
And we can’t wait to go.