Every afternoon, we walk from Sadili to Kibera, which is one of the largest slums in the world. The one mile walk is not an easy one for sure, we walk through bush, rocks, dirt roads, then down a mountainside before reaching the makeshift court in Kibera. Today, I was still suffering from a sinus infection I had before leaving America plus jet lag and exhaustion, but I wouldn't have missed this chance to go to Kibera for anything.
There is a girl named Elizabeth, and she is probably 16 now. We met three years ago when I first visited Nairobi. The love I have for her transcends 3 years, two continents, and eight time zones. I pray for her every day. I see her face when I think about Kenya. From taking selfies on my iPhone to inviting me to her home, to impromptu dance parties, Jesus talks, and dating advice, we have shared a lot of awesome memories, and I long to be reunited with her.
Logic would say I shouldn't have made the hike to Kibera today, by the time we reached the courts, I could barely breath. The sun was beaming down in intense rays. I was exhausted before we started the lesson, but I had to go. I couldn't miss the opportunity to see Elizabeth, to hug her, to talk to her. We taught tennis for about two hours. I could barely stand, but out of the corner of my eye I kept glancing towards her home. Waiting for her to come home from school. When we got ready to leave, I saw her brother, but not her. She wasn't there this time. My heart ached as we set on our way back. As I climbed the large hill, I peeked over my shoulder one last time hoping to get a glimpse of this young girl that God placed in my life and has touched me so much already.
Tomorrow I will go back to Kibera. And the next day. And the next day. I will hike through the rough terrain, the steep hills, and cross the highway to see Elizabeth. I know it's no coincidence that The Lord allowed us to cross paths three years ago and again last year. I've already traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, so I'll happily go the extra mile to see her smile again.
Please join me in prayer that The Lord will allow us to be reunited and He will bless and build our friendship during the time I'm here.
In exactly three weeks, I am moving to Nairobi, Kenya. I have received so many questions about where I'm going, and what I'll be doing that I decided to do a Q and A.
Why are you moving to Kenya?
That's an easy one..because I feel The Lord calling me there. A few years ago I visited short-term a tennis camp in Nairobi, and I fell in love with the kids and the people, and I realized it was much bigger than tennis. God has a purpose for me in Kenya, and I am excited to see all He will do.
What will you be doing?
I will be working at Sadili Oval (http://sadili.com), which is a Kenyan non-profit that uses sports to empower youth from impoverished backgrounds. They run a school, a sports academy, a girl's power program, and other outreach programs for youth and adults. I will be working with the tennis program and developing an after school program for local children. But mostly I'll be loving on every kid I encounter and letting little ones play with my hair, snap pics with my iPhone, and having spontaneous swim and/or dance parties!
What is your plan for after Kenya?
Only God knows. But I plan on using my time there to write and spend intimate time with The Lord. I'm going for a year initially, and we will see what doors God will open after that!
How does your family feel about the move?
My family has always been supportive of me, and I am very grateful for their love and support. I think it's hard for my mom to see me go, but I know she loves me and is proud of my decision even through the buckets of tears! I will miss my family immensely, and I know they will miss me but I'm only a FaceTime call away!
What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the kids. I cannot wait to see their faces and get to know their stories. I am excited about making news friends and exploring a new country.
What are you most nervous about?
I am nervous about becoming homesick and missing my family. I am praying to quickly become connected to a local church and form community. Please join me in praying for reliable transportation, a church home, and community.
To continue to follow my journey, please be sure to join my email list!
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
Last week, I took my last work trip to D.C. before moving to Kenya in August. It was definitely bittersweet for sure. I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing colleagues over the past two years, and I feel like I am saying goodbye to some dear friends. The inside jokes over the course of my tenure are too many to name, and the happy hours, the laughs, the trips, the late night hotel room conversations will be cherished for sure. It was quite sentimental that Washington D.C. would be the last site of my last work trip. Just two years ago, I took a very different trip to D.C
After being unemployed for three months, I was literally down to my last dollar when I received a phone call that I had been hired for my current position. I was on my way to D.C. for a networking trip through an organization I was a member of at the time. With $50 to my name in total, I was ecstatic to receive that phone call. When I checked into the hotel, they asked for a $100 deposit which I didn't have. I called my dad in tears, and he transferred the money to my account. At that moment, I swore to myself that I wouldn't be in that position again.
Fast forward two years. As the plane made the familiar passage over the Washington Monument, tears collected in my eyes as I reflected over the past two years and how much growth I've had financially, personally, and spiritually. I feel closer to God than ever and as He calls me to Kenya, I feel the gravity of losing my job, losing my health insurance, losing my comforts of home and friends, losing it all.
Why would I give up the security of a steady job and pay check? Why would I willingly put myself in a financially unstable situation?
Because I consider everything a loss to the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus, and for Him, I am willing to lose it all. Like Paul, I know what it's like to be both well fed and hungry, but I've learned to be content in all situations. Although I swore I'd never be in a financially dependent position again. That's exactly where I am headed, but there is no place I'd rather be than dependent on The Lord for all my needs. He is my sustainer, comforter, friend, father, and yes, provider.
In a few weeks, I'll be boarding another plane heading across the Atlantic Ocean. The journey to this point has been filled with many ups and downs, but I'm clinging to my savior for all my needs to be met. For His sake, I am losing it all.