Kenya Changed My Life

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.

14 thoughts on “Kenya Changed My Life”

  1. Evie, this is a beautiful post and you are a beautiful person for recognizing the impact you and your family can have on someone like Owen. Thank you for writing it, it brings many things to light and helps remind us of one of our true purposes in life, to love and care for each other!
    .-= Dezirae´s last blog ..peas – hand stitched mini decor =-.

  2. Beautiful and touching. In our minds, we have put people living in poverty in a box. We assume they are oppressed in their condition, when in reality, they many times have abundant hearts. It’s no wonder God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs to the kingdom. (James 2:5). Certainly there are needs that must be fufilled, but more times than not, they have a joy unspeakable because they already know what matters in life. We, on the other hand, usually have to lose it all to know what matters most. Praise God for paradigm heart shifts!
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..Heart Session No. 5 :: Showered With Love =-.

  3. Evie – you should know that you’re husband talked about you quite a bit on the trip…it’s clear that he loves you a lot. You’ve got a beautiful blog, but more importantly a beautiful new discontent on your heart. It’s so hard when you’re not there to experience something like your husband did, and then hear stories…but it would seem you’re feeling some of what he felt and experienced. God will bless that discontent. I think you and my wife would like each other. Keep chasing the good stuff.

  4. Thank you everyone for reading!
    @melissa So true!
    @Ryan Thank you…I followed yours and the other bloggers posts’ too along the way. Thank you so much for sharing. PS I think I would like your wife too!

  5. what a beautifully written, thoughtful post. you’ve brought tears to my eyes! i can’t tell you how much i nodded along with this post, i often have those same thoughts. wishing i had more designer jeans, a new spring jacket, which pair of shoes can’t i live without next. i nkow many people have these thoughts, but are too afraid to admit it. i’m inspired and touched by this post, i feel compelled to help, and feel that passion for what 38 dollars per month can do for one child’s life. thank you so much for this!
    .-= lesley´s last blog ..perfect spring day =-.

  6. @Evelyn, I consider you one of the sweetest ladies I know that I’ve never met in person! I hope we can meet one day.
    @heather, thank you for reading!
    @lesley It’s such an easy trap to fall into, the “gotta have that” mind set, I will probably have to go back to this post myself for a reminder! I’m happy that you feel compelled to help…it’s an amazing journey to begin!

  7. Wow thank you for this post! I am visiting your blog from one of the mom’s that you interviewed this week. My husband and I are compassion sponsors. It is a ministry that is near and dear to our hearts. It is so wonderful to be able to share the love of Christ with those who really need our love and help. It is being a living example of Jesus love 🙂

  8. hi!
    i must say i am very much moved by your post. i am a kenyan student in usa and today me and my gf we were talking abt how privileged we have been to have come this far. from nothing back in the village and now getting world class education though through a lot of toil. its amazing how God uses different means and ways to get us to just have a glimpse of the big picture. this life is just but passing, mosses is remembered becos he agreed to work on Gods will though a stammerer, we too we may not be fully ‘able’ but in some small way we can change a life and that someone will touch hundreds. Gods love abounds in us who know his will and woe unto us if we dont touch others with the same love and compassion as he has done to us. the gospels say its better that person a heavy stone be tied around his/her neck and left to drown in the sea!
    i hope to graduate soon and as God is gracious we(my gf and I) will start a childrens’ home for those affected by loss of parents to hiv/aids and hopefully some day start a school and a health center. keep us in prayer. love u.

  9. i stumbled upon this old post of yours and i truly appreciate it. i too went to kenya about 5 years ago on a missions trip with a group of college kids. i was fresh out of school and it changed the way i looked at the world profoundly.

    but….the thing about living here in america where we are constantly being marketed to is that sometimes we forget and get sucked back into the lure of shiny expensive things. lately i’ve found myself reincorporating the phrases: “i need” “i want” into my conversation far too frequently and i appreciate the reminder to stop and appreciate all the i have and am blessed with. thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Lauren! It is a good reminder, I’ve had to back and look at this post occasionally throughout the year so I can keep that fresh perspective. We are so blessed!

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