No, I wasn’t able to travel 50,000 miles to Kenya with my husband 12 days ago. No, I didn’t see the faces or shake the hands or hear the stories face to face. My feet never touched it’s soil, but Kenya changed me and it changed my husband.

It was the story of our recently sponsored child, Owen, who is 8 years old, knows 3 languages and wants to be a pilot someday. We give him $38 a month, and with that money, Compassion International gives him an opportunity to not just survive, but thrive. Giving him a chance at an education, and to escape the grip of extreme poverty.

Photo by Keely Scott

My husband got to meet Owen, to experience the joy in his face as he took him to a Kenyan amusement park, to hear his “ahhs” as he saw photos of me and my son, and watch him marvel at how many toys my son had (there were two toys in the photo my husband showed him).

Photo by Keely Scott

It was hearing the quote by Shaun Groves that:

“Compassion International is trying to help release the poor from poverty, but it’s also helping to release us from our wealth.”

It was reading the stories of women like Eunice. Right now I’m wearing the necklace that my husband brought back for me that was made by a woman that has been taught by Compassion’s Child Survival Program.  She rolls slivers of old posters, calendars, and scrap paper into beads coated with varnish.

These mothers are full of so much joy that they have been taught to do something that can provide for the daily needs of their family.

It was being moved by these amazing people who have so little, but yet are so very joyful and thankful. Like in the case of 18-year old Eliud, living alone in one of the most filthy and impoverished slums in the world. In a prayer he wrote above his door and prays each day, that God loves him enough to feed him, bless him, and give him hope for the future.

Photos by Brad Ruggles

It was realizing that in 50 years no one will care about what kind of car I drove, house I had, or clothes I wore. Who am I to be discontent because of what I “don’t have”? I am going to be honest and say that I have felt discontent too many times about things that are so meaningless, like the kind of sheets I have on my bed. Or wishing I had the money to go shopping, when I already have a closet jam packed with nice clothing.

This has put things in perspective for me in so many ways. Where your heart is, that’s where your treasure lies, and my heart has been places that it shouldn’t for too long.

Photos by Ryan Detzel

Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far! I know this is an unusual post for me, but I felt it was appropriate and necessary because I feel that my life, (and consequently this blog) is being transformed and I want you to be a part of it.

If you are interested in making an impact in a child’s life, their are 3,000 children waiting to be sponsored in Kenya alone. Think about it — but not too much. Unfortunately we take more time deciding on whether or not to spend $38 a month on a life than on a pair of shoes.