proclaiminglove

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Learning

Jambo!!

 

“Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17

 

Sometimes I choose to be numb, to ignore what I know. Because the poverty, brokenness, and injustice of the world is too much to handle. I can’t bear it all. So I can choose to distance myself from it..pretend I don’t know. Because I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t feed every hungry person, take in every orphan, free every slave, patch up every wound..so where do I begin? In Ohio, it sometimes can be easy to just go about my life and forget, because it’s not in my face as much – don’t get me wrong, it’s there, it just can be covered by my comfortable life easier. Even here though, it can be overwhelming. I thought that because I’m here, with plenty of opportunities to serve the poor, love the orphans, heal the sick and wounded, I wouldn’t ignore the brokenness of the world around me. But I sometimes pretend these kids don’t have hurts or they are living the life (they do have it good compared to some..but still a very hard life.) Or I fail to see the people who file through the clinic as Christ would see them. I can choose to just see them, take their vitals, and do what I can to treat them without truly loving them or caring for them. In 10 minutes they’ll be out of my room and someone new will be there. Even here, I think I can’t do much so I choose to ignore. Otherwise, I’d be in over my head in caring. It’s too much brokenness for broken me to handle. I’m not God. My compassion is limited.

 

Good news: God doesn’t ask me to care for everyone hurting or save all the lost or feed all the hungry. He just asks me to care for those around me. One life, one individual at a time. That’s was Jesus did. He spent his life healing a blind man in the middle of no where, a lame begger people overlooked, a demon possessed child. Probably not the most influential people ever, but he saw them as individuals of God, and invested his limited time in ministry in them. And that’s what he asks of me. To invest in one life at a time.

 

I pray continuously here for God’s strength and compassion to fill me. For his eyes and heart for others to become mine. For his love and his hope to spill out of me. For his Spirit to live and dwell in me and overflow out of me when I’m weary and dry, when I fail to see the needs of those around me. Because I can’t do it on my own. “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 It’s a continual process for God to change me. And it comes from me loving and fearing God, not out of my own will power. The greatest thing is, it is God working in me to act for him. It’s not up to my own love or compassion or power. Which is good, because mine seems to run out before the day even begins sometimes.

 

This loving and serving the poor, this mercy and giving that I struggle to do on a daily basis are not bonuses to my faith. They are not gold stars or extra credit I get at the end. It doesn’t earn me bonus points. I’m COMMANDED..over and over in the Bible. To love others, to have mercy on the poor, to meet the needs of the poor, to look after orphans, to comfort the hurting. It’s who I am as a Christ follower. Giving and helping the poor is more than handing out money. Money doesn’t fix the brokenness of this world, because that brokenness comes from injustice, lack of love, and not knowing Jesus. Those things can’t be fixed by me writing a check or handing out a wad of cash. It requires us to give of ourselves, to invest. “If I gave everything to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

 

I ask God to transform my heart, so that it may love who and what he loves, and break at what his breaks at. I desire for love and mercy to flow naturally out of me. I strive to not ignore the needs and hurts of those around me so that I may love them like Christ would. Abundantly, self-sacrificially, freely.

 

That’s what I’m learning right now. It’s been heavy on my heart. I desire to become more like Christ every day. He’s given me this awesome opportunity to serve him this summer, and I desire to use it to the full. It’s hard. It’s hard to invest when I know I’m leaving in a little over a month now. It’s hard to care when I know when I care about one face in the clinic, there will be hundreds more that day that will break my heart as well. It’s hard to pour into a child who needs love and attention when there are 80 more that vie for the same.

 

As for what we have been doing, I’m not going to go into too much detail because we are going into town soon so I don’t have long to type. (Once again, I’m sure Hannah is more detailed into what we’ve been doing if you want to read her blog..because she’s good like that!) We worked in the clinic this week. It’s drastically different than my clinical experience back home. They do a really great job with the supplies and resources they have, it’s just crazy how little that is. And yet the quality of care they provide for their patients is fairly high. Instead of the MRSA or diabetes or hypertension we see in Ohio, the majority of patients file through with malaria, HIV, and malnutrition. It’s been powerful, hard, sad, rewarding. Mainly we are taking vitals, helping dispense drugs in the pharmacy, and watching the nurses while we get the hang of things. But I’m excited for the opportunities that might arise as we get more settled in there. Nurses do everything here: see the patients, diagnose, treat, write prescriptions. There aren’t doctors at the clinic even. We were told yesterday that there are probably 3 doctors in the whole Kajiado district, meaning 3 doctors for about 500,000 people. Talk about a shortage. So the nurses step up and do what needs to be done. It’s also been crazy to realize the language barrier in the clinical setting. Even just calling out names in the waiting area is such a challenge! (We get quite a few laughs, and a lot of just staring at us as they try to figure out if the name we called was any semblence to their name 🙂 Not to mention we couldn’t even use simple instructions to tell our patients what we need them to do or what we are doing, nonetheless participate in small talk. It was discouraging the first day, because it sometimes feels like what impact can I really have if I can’t say more than “habari” to my patients, and wouldn’t understand any answer other than “nzuri” (fine). We quickly learned simple commands, such as “weight first,” “sit here,” “ok we are finished,” “in your ear” (for the thermometer), “your arm” (for the blood pressure), and “wait a little while.” My greatest Swahili accomplishment so far is a full sentence haha: Mimi ni mwanafunzi muuguzi (I am a student nurse). What is extra challenging in the clinic is it is mainly Masai..meaning some don’t even know Swahili, they only know their tribal language. Which throws my limited knowledge of the language here out the window and we are back at square one. Monday we go out on a mobile medical clinic which I’m super excited about. Other than that, we’ve just been playing with the kids, learning more names, eating meals with them, worshipping with them. It’s great. I absolutely love these children. I’m learning Swahili like crazy. Tomorrow we go into Nairobi for the big market day. I’m excited about the souvenirs I can buy! The things they make here are beautiful! Sunday is worship day, maybe we will go into a community church, or maybe we will worship with the kids here again. Monday is the mobile medical clinic, and Tuesday we go on our safari. So these next few days are busy and exciting. After that, most of our time will be in our normal routine. Monday through Wednesday at the clinic. Thursday an off day to relax, be with the kids, do laundry. Friday back at the clinic. Saturdays with the kids, work and play day. Sunday worship day.

 

I am full. I am happy and blessed to be here. I am growing and learning a lot. Oh, and did I mention I’m 21 now? 🙂

 

Have a great day! Kwaheri (Goodbye)

love from Kenya,

Morgan

Hello!!Try numb…

Hello!!

Try number 2 at writing this..the programs crash much more often than on our computers.

I am in Kajiado, alive, well, and happy 🙂
Communication is going to be less than I thought even. We have to go to town into the market to get internet, and then we pay by minute to use it. We type up we want to say on a word document first and then copy and past. We allotted money for communication, so hopefully we will be able to go once a week and update you. We do so much, see so much, learn so much, and God grows us so much in one day that it seems impossible to share with you what is going on here once a week, but I will try! Bear with me if these get long as I try to communicate not only what we are doing, but where I see God moving here as well.

Tuesday we went to the market in Nairobi before we left for Kajiado. Quite different than going to the shopping mall here. You bargain for every price..they see us “mzungu’s” (white people) and hike the prices up about 10X what they should be. People yell out “mama” or “sister” to get our attention, then do all kinds of sweet talking to get us to buy their products. They will even chase you when you leave their area! I did not buy much there, I felt too overwhelmed! At that point I didn’t know much Swahili, nor did I know how much of my budget could be used on souvenirs. It is different budgeting my money in a foreign country, when I don’t comprehend how much something that costs 1000 shillings really is!

We arrived in Kajiado last Tuesday afternoon. I was overwhelmed to be back here, I love this place. It is crazy how in a country half way around the world, with a totally different culture and lifestyle, where I know very few people and very little of the language, I can feel this at peace. There is something about Kenya, Kajiado, and this children’s home that feels like it just runs through me. It’s not the same as when I’ve visited other countries, though they are exciting and fun to me. It was so good to see faces of children I knew 4 years ago, and so fun to meet new children. Tears came to my eyes, my joy spilling over..I don’t typically think of myself as a crier, but I was filled to the brim.

We’ve spent this week settling in. As I’m writing this on Sunday night, I can say I feel pretty adjusted to being here. We have learned many many kid’s names and faces. I’d say I know probably 90% of their names. At first it is overwhelming: over 80 kids telling you their names, all with uniforms on and their heads shaved (including the girls), unfamiliar faces, most with both Masaai names (which are very hard to understand and for us to reproduce) and English names, but said with accents. For instance, Isaiah says his name E-ziya, but also has a Masaai name that the children and Kenyan staff call him by. We are slowly catching on. I am taking this seriously, because we want to communicate with the kids that they are special and unique and valued and loved. Names are so important in who you are, I want them to know they aren’t just a group, but important individuals. We are also learning kiSwahili. I feel like I have learned a ton this week, but still no where close to being able to communicate. Mostly I know key words to communicate a small point to the children (like what my name is, or do they want to play tag – “chako”). I can also pick up words that I know when they talk to each other and get a general idea of what they are talking about. I am so used to hearing Swahili all around me that I expect to understand it now! The youngest ones don’t comprehend that we don’t understand their language, especially when we can greet them in their language. So they will look straight at us and speak whole sentences and paragraphs, and I just stare haha. A group from the UK came this weekend, and I almost greeted them with the typical Swahili greeting of “habari” expecting them to answer “nzuri”..until I remembered that they speak English like me 🙂 I am going to come back speaking English with a British accent though, because that is how the kids learn English!

Tuesday night into Wednesday I slept nearly 12 hours. The jet lag is killer when you travel for over 36 hours, and jump into a country that is already 7 hours ahead of what your body is used to. I felt like I had no concept of what day it was, much less what time of day! Wednesday morning we relaxed. The kids were fairly cautious of us at first..understandable I suppose: we do look quite funny and talk funny to them! A few brave ones came up to us and lowered their heads to us (which is the typical greeting of kids to adults, to which we respond by placing our hand on their head saying “habari mtoto”). Wednesday is market day in Kajiado, so we went “grocery shopping”. Again, quite different than you would think to run to the store, grab a cart and head to the refridgerated section to pick up your veggies for the week. Piles and piles of things just laying out, bargaining for prices, everyone touching the food then putting it back, food sitting on the dirt floors (don’t worry, we wash everything and don’t eat anything that can’t be either peeled or cooked). The Masaai are beautiful, their culture and language and dress and jewelry. There is just something about life here that is so full, rich, and vibrant.

I am learning about African time. Meaning if you are supposed to leave for somewhere at 1, it is on time if you leave by 2:30 🙂 You just aren’t a slave to time here. Relationships are more important than meetings. You are present in what you are doing, not rushing it..you will get to the next thing when you get to it. It is freeing, but also can be very frustrating. It test’s my patience and my desire for having a plan or having control over what is happening in a day.

Thursday and Friday we stayed around the Children’s Home. We helped with the Nursery school on site, played games, played with the other kids when they got back from school, learned how to do laundry in a bucket with a bar of soap, helping with homework, etc. The kids are really warming up to us..usually the second we step outside many run up to us, talking nonstop, wanting attention, while others are yelling proudly their English “hello” and “how are you.” There are typically at least 3 sets of hands on us at once. I will try to explain what a day looks like for us:

between 7 and 8 we wake up, make our breakfast, have devotion times, and do any cleaning or straightening up around the house that is necessary. Around 10 we’ve gone to the nursery school. 11 is chai time. 12:30 is lunch (of which is always maize (corn) and beans for the kids..or we make our own in the house). We’ve come to the conclusion that the primary school children come back for lunch and stay here for the rest of the day, where they do afternoon lessons with one of the staff members here, so we’ve been helping in that class..the kids have started calling us “teacher, teacher” when we are helping them with their lessons or homework. Around 3:00 everyone is back and it is free time, so we either help with cleaning or play games. Just spending time with the kids. Around 4 or 4:30 the kids go to clean up and clean their dormatories, during which we usually relax and read books or talk..lots of naps have happened here as well. 5:30 until 6:30 is more free time. 6:30 is dinner. The staples are rice or ugali and beans, with the occassional potatoes, oranges, kale, or goat. Immediately following dinner is “fellowship time” which is like a chapel or worship time for about a half hour or so. There is a lot of singing and dancing, they read from the bible and then kind of interpret what they’ve read (the kids stand up and do it themselves), ending with prayer and some more singing. It is interesting to worship in a different culture and especially in a different language. I’ve gone to worship services for every night for about a week now, and have no idea what has been said in one. It’s powerful in a way..the truth exploding of the fact that the words I say or hear or think can never convey an adequate praise for our God. The words don’t mean anything if the heart isn’t behind it. It forces me to worship God on my own in those times, not just copping out by saying I heard words that sound good or sang words that are “powerful.” It’s a heart issue. It’s between us each and God. It forces me to be invested and present during the times. I can’t just go through the motions. I can tell already that this is going to be good for my relationship with God. After fellowship they have around 2 hours of study time. They take education very seriously here, it is a rare priveledge. They are all crazy smart, and work very hard. We help during this time, mostly with English homework. I didn’t expect this, but I think it will be really good for their English to have us here for so long. Just interacting with us and hearing us. They also try to teach us kiSwahili, so they have to think how to translate. Again, their intelligence puts me to shame. I’ve really enjoyed this time at night with the kids. They have Christian homework as well, which has lead to some valuable conversations: explaining what faith or repentance is, explaining how pleasing God is more important than pleasing people or themselves, what obeying God verse disobeying him is. One conversation is a precious memory to me:

A boy about 10 or 12 years old called me over and said “Morgan, may I ask you a question?…In school they teach us that humans came from animals, but the Bible teaches us that God created man, which is the correct answer?” In my head I’m thinking, boy you just asked the million dollar question that people are debating everywhere! But I didn’t want to get into the debates, especially with the language barrier. So I just described that there is no one right answer necessarily, but it depends on what you believe. And he answered simply “I believe God created man. Thank you for your help.” I don’t think he’s getting into the debate of creationism vs. evolution or whether they can coexist, it was just the fact of his simple absolute belief that blew me away. It’s something I’m learning here. Faith is strong. When by our Western, worldly standards these kids have no reason to praise God or be thankful or really believe that God is good, they have this unshaking faith. Simple, straightforward, true. Joy that explodes out of them. It amazes me every day.

Saturdays are work and play days. The mornings spent doing laundry, cleaning dorms, and cleaning the grounds. The afternoons are free time for the kids..and nights are the same as weekdays. Sundays are worship days. Sunday school started around 9 for the children, worship following at 10. Around 12, the main speakers for the service came up 🙂 It is truely a worship day, not just an hour devoted to going to church. The services too, are powerful. I will explain another week, because this already is way too long!!

Tomorrow, Monday, we go to the clinic for the first time. We are unsure of what exactly we will be doing. I am nervous that I won’t be able to handle what we see, but I am excited.

How do I see God? I’ve explained some little things I’m seeing and learning. At this point I think he is really just getting my attention, asking for my dependence and trust in him. As much as I love it here, it is hard. I need my quite times in the morning, and my free time throughout the day to go to him again. And then some debriefing time at night with him to see what he’s taught me that day. I see things that break my heart, I’m having a hard time with the lack of my ability to communicate back home, it’s hard to not be able to communicate with many people here. It all forces me to rely on God and nothing else. I hope to grow drastically more intimate with my maker, now is just the beginning. I need this foundation. It’s humbling, to realize how much I rely on my own strength, my circumstances, and those around me.

One of the passages that I ran acrossed this week that has really stuck in my heart is 2 Peter 1:2-3: “May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
There’s alot packed into this. First of all, through knowledge of God and Jesus, I have grace and peace in abundance. Super helpful in my weaker moments here. I can cling to that. And the fact that I have everything needed for life and godliness. Next, that he has called us. I am here because God has called me. To live for him. To do hard, uncomfortable things. To proclaim his word and his grace and his love. We are all called. Isaiah 43 tells us that God knows us and calls us by name. We are his. He loves us. We are called by God, like Abram was in Genesis, like Moses was in Exodus, like Jeremiah was, in well, Jeremiah. We are called to obey and follow. In that, we are called by his own glory and goodness. Not because we are super Christians or because we deserve it. Not for our glory. But by his own glory and goodness.

Congrats if you made it through this. Thanks for reading. I know it’s long and probably boring. But I want to explain as thoroughly as I can because I can’t communicate often. And future blogs won’t be so tedious hopefully because I won’t have near as much of the details to explain.
If you wanted more details of things we’ve done..you can check out Hannah’s blog at openmyeyestosee.wordpress.com. She’s always more thorough than I am 🙂

Thanks for your prayers. We haven’t been sick at all, we’ve transitioned well, and we are loving it here.

love, Morgan

Nairobi!!

We have arrive safely in Nairobi after many many hours of travel. We will be here for the night then travel to kajiado in the morning. Praise God for safe travels all the way here. I’m excited to be here but exhausted from te past 2 days of traveling. On the plane God struck me with psalm 23:3. I can’t get it to copy here so you should check it out. He restores me and guides me and it’s all for him. That’s all for now. Hopefully more to come soon. Love morgan

And we’re off!

I leave bright and early tomorrow morning for Kenya. So this is going to be short. Just some prayer requests:

– safety as we travel and are there

– peace and the ability to trust God with my summer

– no sickness!

– that God would be preparing our time there..the people we will interact with, the places we will visit, the sicknesses/pain we will see, the kids we will be living with

– for our families and friends back home..peace

– that we would transition smoothly into a different culture, time zone, country, and way of life

– for God to be growing me, and my openness to the ways he is growing me

– a willing heart, willing hands and feet, and God’s love to fill me to the point of flowing out to those around me

– strength

– God to meet me right where I am, right now

Thanks all! I’ll try to update as soon as I can! Next stop: Kenya 🙂 As anxious as I can feel at times, I am so so excited!!

love, Morgan

Proclaiming Love in Kenya

Hello 🙂

I’m guessing if you are reading this you know me, but just in case you don’t: I’m Morgan. My friend Hannah and I are leaving on Sunday to travel to Kenya for 6 weeks. We both just finished our second year at Ohio State and are in the nursing program there. We will be doing medical work with African Inland Church and living at an orphanage of about 80 kids.

As Psalm 118:17 says: I will not die, but live…because I know Christ and what he has done on the cross. I will proclaim that love to those around me, whether with words or with actions, and wherever I am. God has given me a passion for Africa and specifically Kenya.  I have no idea what God is going to call me to long-term, but for now, this call to missions involves investing my summer in Africa. It is six short weeks of my life dedicated to living out a passion God has put in my heart. A passion for the nations, for making him known among all peoples. I desire to take not only physical healing to those who don’t have it, but spiritual life to those who may have never had a chance to hear it or have Christ change their lives.  I am committing to God to love his people so that they might know God’s love for them.

There are tons and tons of verses that describe God’s heart for the poor, and his commands to us to love them. A few that God has placed on my heart:

Psalm 57:9-10: I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Isaiah 58:6-8: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loosen the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light will break forth like dawn, and your healing will spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

I believe God calls each and every one of us out of our comfort zones in order to make him known. I do not believe he calls each of us to Africa. But he does call us to not ignore the needs of people, and to not just send money to those in need. He calls us to give of ourselves, invite the poor into our homes, to share our food with the hungry. He calls us to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Most of all, he calls us to love his people like he has loved us. So I’d love to challenge you to join me, in making God known wherever you are this summer. Live radically and boldly. Love those around you so they may know what Christ has done in your life.

That’s all for now. I hope to be able to communicate through this blog over my time in Kenya.

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