African multitudes

Africa....Kenya to be exact...

Pastor Ryan is there right now.  He and fellow bloggers are there with Compassion International....willingly subjecting themselves to broken-heartedness....yet overflowing with tears of joy...bonding with their sponsored children....saying goodbye to their sponsored children....and trying to convey an overwhelming magnitude of emotions to us....here.

I've been following along.....

feasting on every photo.....

...alternately fighting back tears of sorrow and tears of joy.  Look at what a little over a measly $1/day can do for a child living in poverty....a child of God...created in His image...a child died for....a child with a plan and purpose.

Being a visual learner, Ryan's photos have awoken something in me this week.  Something I, at times in my life, take on and then slowly let slip off my off when it gets too heavy....or when I'm chasing after other things.  That burden....that heavy heart....that pressing passion...that, "I want to GO!"...that "What can I do?"

I don't want to unload that burden.  I don't want to see it as a nuisance but a necessity.  I need Africa and what it teaches me.  I need to not forget ... unload ...but carry all that I've seen (oh, you'll be moved).  And not only carry but walk strong with it.  As part of Christ's body, I am called to BE hands and feet to the impoverished, the widow, the orphan.

You see, I know my propensity to forget...to unload...

I've been there...Africa...Kenya to be exact.  I've seen.  Yet, I didn't really see then...17 years ago at 17 years of age, selfish and viewing through the world's blinders.

I look at these pictures below...and now I see.  God in these faces...

(i didn't really see these children how Christ saw them {please forgive? blackened areas})

(i was looking through the camera lens and shooting
but somehow missed the heart's image of hope and joy in these faces)

(i used my hands and feet but completely missed their true purpose)

(i helped put the roof up but left my own heart shaded)

(i watched my friend love like Christ while I hid behind the lens)

(i observed and interacted but didn't give them my heart or
love them like He would have wanted me to)

So, these 17 years later, I need Africa.  I want to be broken and heavy for them.  It pushes me to Christ....it pushes me to action...it pushes me to share the heaviness with my children in prayer and hope that they'll be impassioned to serve Christ and His body, as well.  Because while God has placed me where I am at this very moment, which is most decidedly not in Africa but at home with these children, I'm coming to accept that I can serve God where I am and also where I'm not.  Maybe in the future, He will allow (or send?) this family of mine to go there...to redeem my seemingly wasted opportunities...to love those children...to bring true hope...true Living Bread and Water...for His sake, their sake and our own.

For now I pray, I give, I advocate, and I go to the developing souls inside these walls...preparing them, I pray, to go.

In all of this, I give thanks...continuing to number His love...

#54.  the universal language of boys
#56. laughter in the midst of suffering
#57. Your provision
#58. Your guidance
#59. Your eyes to see
#60. these eyes of hope

holy experience

(might you consider reading...praying?  might you consider partnering with God to dramatically change the life of a child and his/her family, as well as your own?  and please, please email with any questions you may have about Compassion International...i will be glad to reply right away!)

(photos beautifully captured and graciously provided by Ryan Detzel...
except for my photos in the middle...the ones captioned by mwaa)
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