After 24 hours of traveling we finally arrived here in Kenya on Thursday. Our eyes squinted and even hurt when we walked out of the airport to see the bright African sun. We’ve been so used to barely any sunlight in Iceland (only 4 hours at best, normally cloudy) and it was so wonderful to finally see the sun in full! We were picked up by one of the base staff here at YWAM Athi River, and we drove out to the bush bush where the base is located. The van blasted some pretty sweet reggae-MIA-esque music through some blown-out speakers; a great soundtrack as we made our way. Just from staring out the dusty van window I caught a glimpse of the people of Kenya….there were many people walking along the road and everyone seemed so friendly–waving at every person they passed.
We were greeted with so much hospitality when we arrived here on the base, breakfast was prepared–peanutbutter and jelly! As we were washing our dishes in plastic baby pools I heard a little wimper. BACKSTORY: I got my first puppy when I was 11 or so and I fell in love, it (Maxxwell) was my comforter…it sound silly, but I guess only true dog lovers would get this love. Ha. Ever since Maxx I’ve always had a puppy/dog in my life–just a tangible comforter. So my time in Iceland seemed like the longest time I’ve ever spent without a puppy around. ANYWAYS, you can imagine how happy I was to see a puppy running up to us..oh it was so adorable. Just another way that Papa was showing me how much he loved me (I think).
The next day we took a long walk into the bush…we saw giraffes, gazelles, cows and goats! Oh it was so wonderful. I’ve really fallen in love with the simplicity of life here. Every night I find myself looking at the stars before bed with such a thankful heart for Gods beauty.
We went on a prayer walk through the closest town to the base, just opening our eyes to what life here is like. It was definitely eye-opening to say the least. Little kids kept pointing at us and yelling “Mzungu!” which means white. Whats so beautiful is the joy the people who I’ve met here in Kenya have. Pure joy not interfered or dependent on what they do or don’t have, or based on the new iphone.
I’ve really connected with the Kenyans here on the base. Benard was sharing with me about the young women here; how they grow up without a dad or with an emotionally absent dad. Then when they get older they have affairs with much older men because they are looking for a father figure. Hmm…this sounds a bit familiar, eh? Gods really been laying the topic of purity on my heart—and my heart just breaks when I hear about young girls just giving it away to feel loved and accepted. I was just pondering and praying about this though and I just realized how the enemy is using the same tricks everywhere. The spirit of rejection, the spirit of abandonment, feeling unworthy, etc. These are all things we struggle with in the western world, the enemy doesn’t have any different tricks up his sleeve. We may live in riches, technology, opportunity in the western world but we are wrecked with spiritual poverty and lukewarmness. Here they deal with much more blatant poverty but the joy and hunger for Love is so great.
Ebel and Laura, one of the couples living here on the base have an amazing testimony filled with great adventures with the Lord; I wont share it completely but basically they had a vision to build an orphanage type community that allowed children to grow up in a family setting. Here in Kenya they found a place to make that vision reality. So what it will look like is eight houses filled with eight couples. They will have a few of their own children, then they will have nine or so foster children. They don’t want any westerners living there, they want it to be as naturally Kenyan as possible, just allowing room for orphans to grow up in a family, not just another institution full of westerners. And WE got to be a part of making this vision real! We helped in replanting the garden in the back of the first house, weed-wacking, lawn mowing, cementing the bottom of the water tank (well, the guys did this one):
We also helped out in another womans vision for an orphanage..called the Amadeo Home for children. She bought the land and everywhere around her land doesn’t have access to fresh water—its too salty—but after putting the pump in her ground she found that she has fresh water! Hallelujah! God provided a way for her to help pay for this orphanage that is in the making! We dug holes for planting trees out in the hot African Sun, but it was so worth it–its funny how by digging holes all day we’re indirectly helping little children have a home.
Lastly we spent some time at an all-girls High School where we set up a field-day. We had different stations, each with a different game. We also had a testimony station in which me and another girl got to share our testimonies with the girls. I finally got to share the purity message that has been on my heart.
I forgot to mention earlier that another DTS team from Germany was also staying at the Athi River base while we were there–it was amazing to make new friends and hear about their lecture phase and hear what God had been doing in their hearts. So before we left, both of the teams had communion together. It was one of those times that you can’t put into words. God was so there with us as we went around a circle and shared what Jesus was to us. As I listened to what everyone had to say I was just overtaken with joy to see how personal He is with us–everyone has their own encounters that are custom to them, and their needs. I was also just so happy to be in fellowship with so many incredible people…..kingdom-mindset people that love the Lord!
I could say so much more, but our time spent there was just an incredible beginning to this outreach, where God really met each one of us individually and ministered to us–preparing our hearts and depositing a peace at our core.
Papa is just so good. *Hopefully I can add more photos soon!
1 Peter 1:3-9,
We started off this week with intercession for Haiti, it made such an impact–so powerful, just interceding for the people of Haiti. Speaking life and joy over the country. It was also touched my heart because a few of my close friends from home (Lauren Ellis, Nikki Pendergrass, and Leslie Watson) just returned from doing a missions trip there!
This week’s theme was discipleship, and what it truly means. It’s sort of one of those topics that we hear about all the time, but this week I’ve grasped a better heart-understanding.
“..If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.” Matthew 22:34-40
On Tuesday we had the wonderful Simon Turner as a guest speaker at Seek My Face [every Tuesday night we have a time where we soak and seek more intimacy with the Father]. He led us through the Lords Prayer verse by verse, showing us how to customize it to our lives and praying to the Father.
That night the Lord was downloading a lot of vision for the future. He was highlighting so many instances since I’ve been here in Iceland that I had shrugged off as coincidence or maybe not even noticed at all–and he opened my eyes just to see the obvious. He has been knitting my life together so intricately and he was just giving me a glimpse of the things he has in store for me on the road ahead.
I was so excited yet a little frustrated. We all have these ideas of how are life may play out…dreams we have for the future and the people we plan to spend it with. So there I was being bittersweet that the glimpse God was giving me wasn’t what I had in mind. Basically doubting that God had the best in mind for me. I spent some quiet time with the Lord that night and he just continued to highlight the lack of trust I had in him. Which all stems from my lack of fully comprehending the Father Heart of God—fear of abandonment and all that good stuff.
The next morning I was still struggling with the things in my heart I was holding back from God and lo and behold the class that day was all about giving your whole heart to the Lord not just part of it. We were made to write down all the things we felt the Lord was pointing out that we were holding back from him and we laid them at the cross. Gotta love it.
I then proceeded to listen to Alyn & A.J. Jones message from emanate on having a heart of stone –“A heart of stone is a protection mechanism to keep you from pain. But it also keeps God’s love out too.” I was challenged so much in realizing areas of my heart that I have closed off…numbed as a defense mechanism.
The Lords just been showing me so much this week! He’s giving me vision for the future and what he has called me to. He’s showing me areas where I need improvement. He’s breaking me over the characteristics of Christ that I don’t display on a daily basis–or maybe even never. He’s healing broken areas in my heart that I have accepted–thinking they may never be healed. He’s showing me what it means to live in community and what it means to have compassion for those around me.
That’s the big one. Not only just trust in him, I find that easy compared to trusting his children around me. He’s teaching me to open my heart and share with those around me…not being ruled my fear that they might hurt me or abuse my trust; but realizing that that could in fact happen and taking the risk anyways because he has designed us to live in community–to be open. By shutting down my heart and not letting others in I’m actually shutting out the love of the Father as well.
I ended the week with a wonderful weekend! One of the DTS staff, Tyler, has a favorite coffee mug that he drinks out of every morning. We took this cup for an adventure and took photos with it all over town and with random people!
Then on Sunday I took a trip with some friends to a black-sand beach…and the end point of the great Þjórsárhraun. The greatest lava flow on Earth since the end of the last Ice Age!
Looking forward to what this week holds.
I don’t even know where to begin on updating you all. This week has been so jam-packed each day with so much!
The lectures this week have been on the cross + redemption and all the teaching has been done by Halldór Nikulás:
The teachings this week totally ripped up my foundation and relaid it. Revelation that has always been there in the word–but I haven’t grasped it till now. It’s changed everything! He helped me see and realize more truth than ever. Halldór started with the parallels–I have a new understanding and renewed trust in God after realizing HOW MUCH he actually does pay attention to details!
A couple of things he touched on: *Eve was Adam’s bride who was created out of his side rib. We are Christs bride, made pure by him dying on the cross–when he was dead they pierced his side, so The Bride of Christ was created out of his side as well. *In the Garden of Eden Adam + Eve said through their actions “Not your will God, but ours.” In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus cries out “not my will Father, but yours.” *The crowd demanded the release of Barabbas (Luke 23:18-20), Barabbas means “son of the Father.” He was guilty, but freed–this represents us. **One more: At transfiguration Peter, James and John were with him; John=grace, James=replaces, Peter=stone. Grace replaces the Law—what freedom we have! And that’s what this week has been–so freeing!
Not only have we got to hear from the wonderful Halldór, we also got to hear from Eric St. Clair on our thursday night seminars. He spoke on the beattitudes–and taking every though captive.–this was also freeing because mostly when I’ve heard a “keeping your thoughts captive” message its always referring to sin, but he also added keeping your thoughts captive so that the enemy cannot plant lies, taking that first thought captive and casting it out before it has time to turn into an emotion.
In the latter part of last week I experienced swimming in Iceland! The pool is heated and then they have 4 hot tubs at 4 different temperatures to suit what is most comfortable to you, how cool is that? It goes all the way up to 108 degrees! I also has my first Icelandic Hot Dog–which is AMAZING. The hot dog stand is really close to the cafe so we go there quite often—-delicious.
This week was also the start of the infamous Iceland Airwaves so that has been fun being able to hear some Icelandic music. It’s so beautiful! We went to see some friends of ours that we met through Michelle, their band Mukkaló at Hit húsið & at Nikita and I was in awe at their music, so peaceful.
We caught some other bands as well throughout the week:
The beauty here continues taking my breath away! I walked down to the ocean after class one day and just sat and stared forever, “are you serious?” I thought. I get to live in this beautiful place while learning more about God and my calling? This has to be a dream. Michelle and I were even sitting at the show tonight looking at each other just in awe of where we were. Sitting on the top floor of a clothing shop in downtown Reykjavik, we could look out the window and see the main street and we were listening to incredible music! All I can do is laugh and thank the Lord.