This morning I woke up to sun leaking through the blinds to my dorm room window. Though I usually would not be so keen on being woken up before my alarm, it was the first time that I had woken up to sun this entire school year. Opening the blinds I was actually excited to walk to a meeting at church I had this afternoon, I even left early so that I could have extra time to bask in the elusive Northwestern sunshine. As I walked I praised God, thanking Him for the wonderful weather and enjoying the lovely smell of blossoming cherry trees that surround my area. Before my meeting I stood outside in the warm sun (I even dared to remove the jacket that I had worn) that was reminiscent of the weather played a role in the majority of my favorite adventures. I stumbled upon the memories of my families trip to Kenya in 2009.
Sitting on wooden benches under the scorching sun of the Masai Mara shaded only by a thinning acacia tree my family watched in awe of the traditional dances of the Masai tribe that the small children of the Compassion project were preforming for us. Their colorful beaded jewelry jingled as they danced and their bare feet stomped the dry orange dirt keeping perfect time. They sang as they danced. The bench hard underneath me, the bright sun melting the sunscreen on my too-easily-burnt skin, sweating in my long skirt, and occasionally coughing at the clouds of the orange dirt that surrounded us, the longer I sat their the brighter I smiled.
Taken completely out of my accustomed surrounds of green grass, squirrels, evergreen trees, and snow topped mountains, I saw God in a shockingly new way. In this place, this land of lions and giraffes and droughts and the burning equator sun, I did could not understand God. He did not work the way I knew Him to work. Here, He is the God that encourages the church to protect young girls from marriage at the age of twelve, He is the God that convicts men to take only one wife, He is the God of the woman with ten children in a mud hut praying for her children to be educated, He is the God that families rely on to provide food and water, He is the God of the persecuted church, He is a big God.
In two weeks I will be back in Kenya, back on the Masai Mara, back to the land where giraffes and zebras freely roam, back where people live in mud-hut-villages and need to defend their cattle from lions, where little children humble me with their faith, and God blows my mind with just how big He is.
As I basked in the sunshine today I remembered that the same sun shines down on the Kenyan savanna, and the God that I chat with on my walks to church is the same God that a little Masai boy chats with as he herds cattle. And as I stood in that sunshine, I couldn’t contain my excitement for this return adventure. I simply cannot wait to hold those beautiful children whom God loves so much and to sing and dance with them, praising the God that we both know and love.
Thank you God for the sunshine today, that sunshine in 2009, and the sunshine in two weeks.
You are amazing! I can’t wait to go back with you and read the stories He will give you along the journey. I love you girl!!
Gifted! Just like your momma! My youngest is also Julia. One day I hope she can convey what God reveals to her as you do so sweetly!
Julia, how I love how you put your thoughts and feelings into words. I can now vicariously travel with you to Africa. Thank you!
Hi, Julia. You do not know me. We have never met, yet we are kindred spirits. I love your love of words, the art of expression that you possess, and the love of our great God. I enjoyed your post very much. I, too, hope to take a mission trip this year. My first ever was last year at the age of 63. This year my desire is to take my 10 year old granddaughter with me. Although I have sponsored a child in Bolivia through Compassion International for the past 10 years, I have never met her. Maybe one day I will have that honor. Again, I want to tell you how lovely is your heart towards the people in Kenya. Love and blessing as you and your family travel to that far away land with the love of God filling your hearts.