So this is actually the second attempt at writing this blog post. The first attempt gave said that I came to Kenya for a conference and that things went well, etc, etc. It was somewhat of a boring list of happenings. All of it was true of course, but somewhat lifeless. I am, in fact, here in Kenya at a retreat/conference for all of the Samaritan’s Purse staff that works in and for Africa. It’s a time to get together and be encouraged and see what the Lord is doing throughout the continent. I have to confess, though, that during the majority of the conference, my head was involved, but my heart was just…..not. I met amazing people who were doing great things with the Lord’s help. We heard amazing talks and messages from God’s Word that filled with Spirit and Truth. I even got the chance to give a short story/testimony to the work that God is doing in Togo at the hospital, and in me personally. But still, at the end of the day I felt…….flat, unmoved, and far away. I couldn’t tell you when I started to feel this way, although I knew it had started before my arrival in Kenya—disenchantment with my work at the hospital, an inability to connect with my patient’s suffering, becoming frustrated easily.
On the second to last day of the conference I went to a workshop that took us through a look at the parallels between the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt in the promise land, with Jesus’ life and ministry in the New Testament. Although I had read these passages many times, the Lord was speaking to me anew as if to remind me personally, “Kelly, I haven’t done anything by accident, and my plan for my people carries on today.” I had then realized that I had given up reading of His Word for the purpose alone of meeting with the Lord. I had been doing “studies” and readings in order to be able to give devotions on my scheduled day at the hospital and reading books about great Theologians of the past. But reading about Christ and experiencing Him are not the same. I had been exchanging my time for building a relationship with Him for gaining head knowledge about Him and had not even realized it.
The very last day of the conference the Lord graciously reminded me of the love I have for Him and the perfect love He has for me. The theme of the conference was “Taste and See that the Lord is Good.” A pastor gave us a great reminder that the Lord’s goodness is well translated as the Lord’s generosity. He is waiting for us, as children of God, to ask for the things we’re lacking—love, patience, kindness, compassion, mercy, self-control. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:13
In the evening a pastor from Kenya spoke on the passing on of the baton from Elijah to Elisha in 2 Kings, and the choice we have to pursue the work of the Lord or to sit by at watch others carry on the calling. It was a message of renewal and reminder for me; that I want to go the distance and finish the race at a finish line that He has drawn.
I went to dinner that night (tonight actually, as I’m writing this) having a renewal and awakening of Christ in me. During dinner a fellow Samaritan’s purse worker pulled up a chair and sat beside me. I had seen him throughout the week but never met him or spoke with him before this point. In fact, he was teaching one of the break-out sessions that I did not have an opportunity to attend. He said hello to me, of course, and said that although he didn’t really know me, the Lord had burdened his heart to pray for me all during the conference. He said, “I don’t think I have the gift of intercession, but the Lord continued to put you on my heart throughout our days here.”
I was quite overwhelmed; that the Lord would speak to this stranger to intercede on my behalf, before the Lord, during the days that I was not able speak to the Lord myself. I proceeded to thank the gentleman for his encouragement and prayer. I told him some struggles I had come across in Togo. Afterwards he said, “I think this is the real you right now. At the start of the conference it wasn’t the real you. It just took a few days for you to get here.”
Wow. What am amazing God we serve! That the inner struggle within my own Spirit was revealed to a fellow believer apart from all human communication, so that my heart could once again shine with the love of the Lord. What mercy and grace He has for us! This is the Lord whom we serve and the reason we have for continuing the work, HIS work, throughout the world.
To HIM be all glory, honor, and power forever. Amen.