Out of Africa

I don’t know who I am.
It’s a startling realization to not recognize yourself: My own voice sounds hollow. My eyes hold a distant stare, remembering all I’ve seen in Africa this past week. My thoughts keep me awake at night.
Just days after I returned, I found my husband carefully watching me. “I don’t feel like I know you,” he said softly, beckoning.
“I don’t feel like I know me either,” I said.
And I cried.
I feel more than guilt for such an easy life, accessible food, clean water and abundance. I feel aware. The blinders are gone. I can’t pretend I don’t know how the poorest of the poor live. I can’t act like there aren’t children who go to bed hungry. I can’t ignore that 30,000 children die each day from preventable causes.
I can’t stop thinking about Vincent, living as an orphan and father, in squalor. When I close my eyes at night, his face is what I see. I see him in his “home” that’s not fit for an animal.
I see the joy of the Lord in his eyes. Peace. I see Jesus.
I think that is what is so hard. I cannot reconcile his lack of every basic need and such fullness in his heart and life. The two don’t mix.
In America, in my town, in my home and heart, I complain about a dirty house, yard work, needing a “break” from cooking or my children. Every basic need is met, PLUS more luxuries than I can count.
With so much, how can my joy be incomplete?
How is it that I can see true peace in one of the largest slums in the world, where the smell of death is prominent and it’s rare in the most blessed nation?
I’m not sure how to mix these worlds together; how to show my spouse all that I’ve seen and all that my heart holds, or parent my kids without guilt.
I don’t know how to find myself again. I don’t know how to return to my everyday life when children still need to be sponsored. But I’m trying.
I am so thankful for this place, although foreign and uncomfortable, I’m not alone. God is right here with me, leading me into new places.
I may be out of Africa, but it will never be out of me.
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I’ll be privately reflecting this week, but will still be hosting Works For Me Wednesday this week and also The World’s Largest Nerf Party this Friday (giveaways, included! There’s still time to have a party with your kids to celebrate Mason’s defeat of cancer!).


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I grew up as a missionary kid in South America. I always felt so much more culture shock returning to the US than I felt in Bolivia. The excess of THINGS was just so overwhelming, after living, with joy, on so little there. The generosity of people there, who had so little to start with, was a balm to my soul. You have changed, yes, and life will take a bit to "return to normal", but you have enriched your life. You have grown in a wonderful way, and now it will be easier to know that life is not about what we have, but how we spend it. I say take your family asap, and share with them the wonders of this world!

  2. 2

    says

    I grew up in the Philippines and have seen slums and shanties but nothing compared to what you saw. I've never seen anything that dire. In an exclusive school run by french nuns, we were taught to minister to the poor. There was (and is) a great divide between the haves and have nots in many poor countries.

    Reconcile your heart to knowing you did what your team sought to accomplish. Appreciate the little things you have and teach your children how to be generous to others. By doing that, you'll be raising a generation of givers. That's your role.

    God bless you He is saying "Well done, Kristen".

  3. 4

    Anonymous says

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for taking this journey for us. Thank you for taking us with you on this journey. It is not over yet. That reconciling is something I struggle with every day: I'm so blessed, how dare I express a moment's dissatisfaction? I will look forward to your future thoughts on these things. And we will continue to hold all of you, including that awesome family of yours, in our hearts.

  4. 5

    says

    Kristin, that sounds so intense. What an amazing, eye opening experience that few get to have (or sacrifice/plan for).

    Such an excellent reminder to me that I have absolutely nothing to complain about, and I need to be vigilant in looking to avoid waste, so that we can give to to others. Simple living is truly the way to be, but difficult to sustain.

    I can't wait to hear your reflections.

  5. 6

    says

    I remember coming back from Kenya after being there for 40 days. We flew to Brussels, Belgium to stay overnight, before catching the plane back home. I remember feeling much like you do today.

    Everything felt so shallow..worldly..excessive..meaningless.

    Your journey has brought back those feelings from over 15 years ago. Feelings of: Why was I born here, in a life of luxury, when I could have just as easily be born into poverty…without hope for anything different.

    My prayer is that the Lord will use me to make a difference..because I can.

    I want to do the hard things…my life needs to be about more than wanting to be comfortable and happy.

  6. 7

    says

    After my first trip to India (to bring home our new daughter), I cried when I ran clean water out of our kitchen tap. My husband had already been to India on misson trips, and recognized the culture shock for what it was. The weepiness will get better, but you will never be the same (thank God).
    Nancy

  7. 8

    says

    Kristen, Thanks for your candor. I've never experienced anything like what you have yet this tension is ever-present isn't it? At least to some degree. I cannot give even my neighbors the advantages that my own family has. When I student taught I observed some classrooms with underprivileged kids, and some classrooms in the most elite schools. The discrepancy is discouraging because we feel like there is so little that we can do. But Satan wants us to stop there and throw up our hands in defeat. Yet even Jesus didn't just wave his hand and cure every illness or remedy every injustice. He instead addressed people and their needs as individuals. God has the big picture in mind, we are called only to believe Him and to do what we can in the realm of influence He's given us.

    I'll be praying that the burden you feel now, the disillusionment about your place in this journey, will ultimately allow you to see more clearly God's plan for you and yours, and that the burden for what you cannot control will lighten and that God will give you great strength and determination for the role He has for you.

    I'm so glad I happened by today because I so appreciate your honesty. I'll definitely be stopping back by to learn vicariously from your experience. Many thanks for your willingness to share!

  8. 9

    says

    Kristen. What a blessing you have been given. Father never said our blessings would be painless. I do hope that you allow the things you saw and experienced to touch you deeply, Father has changed your heart and he'll do the same with you family too. I'm sure you had excellent debriefing and I challenge you to revisit those issues as often as needed. It's often such a shock for us to re-enter American culture. Do so with the eyes of the Father. I know he'll show you the way. Thanks for beautifully sharing what He has done through your time in Africa.

  9. 10

    Anonymous says

    Dear Kristen,
    I am a reader but dearly want to reach out to you today. I left africa as a young child and even today 30 years later that "culture shock" still haunts me. It is a lot to process, living with so much in our "developed" societies when we know there a millions living in squalor. But there is no guilt that you should bear. Jesus bore any that was yours to bear.
    You are now aware in a way that was impossible before, because you will never forget the smells, sounds, smiles of Africa in all its beauty and tragedy.. This time of processing, of transition even, is neccesary. Because it is a transition from a life of ignorant bliss to a life knowing what God knows. Now you can partner with Him in showing the few how great the need of the many is.
    Praying for you in this time of transition. God is proud of you for confronting this because it is painful and hard. He will not forsake you in it.

  10. 11

    says

    I just wanted to say that i am thinking of you. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but you are strong. God is using you.

  11. 12

    says

    I know how you are feeling. I've been to Ethiopia twice. My husband and I always say, "we are forever wrecked" (in a good way). You will never been the same but that's okay. It made us better people and made us appreciate everything we have even more.

  12. 13

    says

    Gosh, this is hard. I have not experienced what you have. Because of that I feel like I should not say anything because I'm not worthy. However, I want to say something, anything to help.

    The reality of life for us and for others, in this case those in Africa and the less fortunate everywhere, is hard. Life is hard. I believe that with God we plan our intent for our life on Earth. And we do it for Him as well as for our own soul's growth. Maybe some especially strong souls choose to live this life in a place such as the hell on earth you experienced. I try to believe that they are doing this for God and with God. I try to also believe that they will experience ultimate comfort for their commitment when they reach Heaven.

    I am a new reader of your blog. You have touched and helped me in that short time. I have no doubt that you do the same for many others. You did the same for those in Kenya, and truly in poverty stricken nations everywhere. You will most importantly, continue to help others even when the images and experiences of Kenya settle in with the rest of your memories.

    I don't feel worthy of offering you advice. Because I don't know what you know, feel what you feel, etc. But I want to say to you, love yourself. In the short time that I've begun to know you through your blog, I love you. Your family and friends and all those you touch love you. Jesus loves you. God loves you. And you are worthy of that love.

    It is hard to reconcile the "haves" and "have nots" in life. It seems that what is most important is not what we have or don't have, but what we do. You have just done something awesome, it reaches from our country to Kenya and likely world-wide. Kristen, you have opened our eyes and our hearts by taking the trip to Kenya and sharing those experiences. I believe that a lot of good will come out of what you've done and will continue to do.

    Vincent…dearest Vincent. I think I commented already about him on an earlier blog post. If I have it's worth being reiterated. He touched my mind, heart and spirit. I think about him a lot and have shared your blog post about him with others. My mind is blown away at how deeply he touched me.

    It was about a year ago that I first heard about Compassion and wanted to sponsor a child. But I didn't do it. Procrastination led to inaction and I failed. An entire year has gone by where I've not sponsored a child through Compassion. In that year I have lived abundantly, given to my children abundantly. And while I do make regular donations, I completely missed out on sponsorship. Something that helps others, but is also a gift to those who do it.

    No longer though. It was because of you, and because of Vincent, that I finally said enough is enough-it's time to take action. So I did, initially planning on sponsoring one child-one that would be inspired by Vincent. Hoping that with my contribution I could help another young man to achieve.

    While looking through the pictures and biographies of all of the children-I decided to sponsor two! All of the times before that I had read about this child or that child, it was impossible to make a decision. Who? They were all in need. They were all precious. This is what initially led to my procrastination-indecision. However, because of you and Vincent *my boys* made themselves known. And I am so darn honored and proud of them already. I can not wait for their info packets to arrive. I'm so excited! But I also worry, that I will not be good enough for them, that I'm not worthy. I am going to try my best though.

    Thank you Kristen! You have done a great thing. In fact, I'm sure you've done so much before this will continue to do so. I don't know how to end this comment. You are loving and you are loved. Thank you for sharing Kenya with us all. Thank you for being you. This world is a better place because of you!

  13. 14

    says

    I just wanted to let you know that the Lord put you on my heart this morning…in the shower. I prayed for you there. We tend to take so much for granted, like being able to take a shower with running water. I know I have.

    The Lord has used you to open my eyes. I now have a burden to sponser a child(ren). We are praying about it and going to talk it over with the kids this week. I just want to Thank you for sharing your journey. I also directed my followers to you!

    May God bless you and your precious family.

  14. 15

    says

    Kristen,
    When I came back from a trip with Compassion to Colombia this past July, I remember feeling so overwhelmed. The thing bothered me the most was the realization that although we have been blessed (or cursed) with so much STUFF, that I wasn't really sure that we were better off. I still don't think that we are better off, we miss out on what truly matters. People. You will never be the same as you were before this trip, but you have been able to learn and grow from it. And you're able to educate people about what you have seen and experienced. Lean on God, He will help you through this. With prayers lifted up on high.

  15. 16

    Nancy says

    Praying for you, Kristen. "Re-entry" and processing everything must be so hard! I feel conflicted every day and I've never been where you've been. Thank you for the glimpse you've shared with us. You and the ones you've touched will never be the same. God bless your family for letting you experience it.

  16. 17

    says

    Kristen,
    I guess it's time I go back through your previous posts and reflect on the ones I missed.

    Meanwhile, I don't really know what to say to you. I can't say I have the slightest idea of what your heart has endured through this journey, but what I can say is, I am proud to know you.

    I am proud to have a connection to a place so far away from where I am through you, your experience, blogging, and the testimony of your heart.

    I don't know where God has me in all this; other than, an encouraging ear to hear as I hope to lift you up.

    Blessings to you, the compassion team, and those who remain in Africa,

    Ginger

  17. 18

    says

    I felt very much the same way when I left Guatemala. Once home I would cry easily and reflect often. I knew God did not take me there to walk away unchanged and do nothing. As a family we needed to decide what the would look like for us. We chose to adopt a child from Guatemala.

    I would encourage you to not feel guilty in light of what you've seen. Convicted to help where God leads…definitely (just as you've been doing!). I know the need seems overwhelming but God is bigger!

    Thanks for sharing your journey. It has taken me back through mine and you have challenged me again to do hard things!

  18. 19

    says

    Kristen, as I read your posts all week I feared this happening. I knew you would feel awful at home. Who wouldn't. I think you will find your way eventually, but it will take time. It will also take the daily-ness of life. Kids needing their school lunches made. Friends experiencing illness. Birthdays that are wonderful celebrations. And yes, even those cute pumps in the store window. You will find your way to the new you, a mixture of the old and the new. But it will take time.

  19. 20

    says

    Thanks, y'all, for your sweet words of wisdom. I'm finding comfort in them. I am glad for the place I'm in. I am thankful for this amazing opportunity and I know I will be better for it. (hugs to all of you!)

  20. 21

    says

    Coming out of Africa you are still a beloved child of God who will never give you more than you can bear. Hopefully during your week of reflection you will be able to discern what it is He wants to you do with all you have just experienced. Take comfort in knowing that through you, God has been able to make many more people realize how blessed we truly are and motivate them to help those so desperately in need of it.
    You have been through a revealing, jolting and traumatic experience. Then you immediately flew back to what was familiar without a reintegration process. As good as it is to be home, it is now somewhat strange and disconcerting in it's comfort. Be patient and if you have people around you who have been through the same experiences, talk with them, pray with them and know that many are praying for you.

  21. 22

    says

    Kristen, I can't imagine what it is like to come home to all that we take for granted everyday. I have followed your posts daily. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. For a while now God has been dealing with my heart about some of these issues, our excess and selfishness, always the desire to have more, when there are so many that have so little and are truly desperate and hungry in the world. I feel as though it is God preparing me for something. As I have read your posts last week, I felt broken. Thank you for sharing what you have experienced, seen, felt, smelled with all of us. It has changed me, even though I have not seen it for myself. You are in my prayers as you process all that you have been through this past week and for what you will do with what God has shown you through it all.

  22. 23

    says

    I went ten years ago. It never goes away. You will never be the same and you will always have the pull to go when you hear of others going. I have been trying to go again for ten years and hope and pray I might have the opportunity to go in July. It's an indescribable experience and you have done an amazing job of describing it, thank you.

  23. 24

    says

    Kristen, reading your posts and viewing your pictures was ALMOST like being there with you. I didn't see all the sights, smell the smells, or experience the emotions you did. Not even close. But your written word and pictures moved me to want to make a difference too.

    I am continuing to life you up in prayer as you sort through your place in this world and with your family.

    What a difference it would be if every American could go on this trip!

  24. 26

    says

    I think it is wise to take a step back this week, to process and allow yourself time to renter, so to speak. I truly appreciated your posts… I can't stop thinking about it actually. I told my husband, I want to go some day. I want our family to go. I want to somehow teach my kids that this world is so much bigger than America and to give all of us the global perspective I think God desires for us.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  25. 27

    says

    Kristen, your posts have inspired my sister and I to share sponsorship of a little boy in Indonesia. Please know that you are a blessing. I have seen presentations about Compassion before, but your blog pushed me over the edge (so to speak). Thanks for being so honest with your feelings. I pray that God will continue to bless you as you adapt to a new life at home – one forever inspired by all you have seen.

  26. 28

    says

    I don't have any words of wisdom. I am just so thankful you've made this trip and shared your experiences, (including this post) with your readers.

    I do think it's a wise call to take a break to process. The Lord will be faithful to show you whatever it is you need to know.

    But thank you for sharing your heart and your experiences.

  27. 29

    says

    Your post makes me think of Francis Chan. He always talks about how our wealth cripples us.

    It is amazing isn't it, how they have so much joy, and peace despite their dire circumstances.

    We in Western society have SO much that really, we have no need for God. The joy and peace that is found in Him alone is unachievable because we are so consumed by our selfishness. We live such self absorbed lives.

    Praying for you as you continue to process and begin to share with your family all that is stored up in your heart.

  28. 30

    says

    As a missionary, I have gone through times like these when I've asked God, "Who am I?" (In fact, recent events led me to have this conversation with God just last night as I was showering.)

    His answer is, "You are someone who I am shaping for My purposes. Don't worry, you don't have to figure it all out; just keep close to Me…and realize that I am calling you to pray more in accordance with My word so that My will will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

    Kristen, at times God asks us to see things we seem incapable of handling. With this is a two fold temptation 1) to run from it and try to go back to normal or 2) to take it upon ourselves and let it become a burden that steals away our spirit. This is not from God! I have learned this the hard way.

    As best I have come to understand, God wants us to take these burdens back to Him, armed with His word, and petition Him based on His character and His Word; and a surrender to act in whatever ways He opens the doors for.

    Don't know if this is helpful or not…just praying for you to walk in freedom.

  29. 31

    says

    Kristen, I haven't read each of the comments left so far, so forgive me if someone said something similar to this. I have been following all of tbe bloggers that were on the Kenya trip, and you all have touched me so much. I thought that I was doing something great for the Lord by being a missionary in a small TN town and running a mission for the low income folks in our community. We (wife and I and 3 boys) live in a small house on a limited income, yet we have so much more than what the folks in Kenya have. In my thinking and meditating about this, God has given me these thoughts. Although we in America need to stop being so self-centered and think of others, it's not the weath that we have that bothers me. It's the way we use that wealth. If there were no people in this world that had money, who would there be to help those in need and to support the missionaries that serve those needy people. Perhaps God will show you and your husband that you are to go and serve others in a needy country, but perhaps God will lead you to be senders and to support those that do go and support the needy. Don't be ashamed of the money you have, ask God what He wants you to do with the wealth that he's given you.

  30. 32

    says

    For sure this type of experience takes time to digest. Give yourself time. Writing about it will help. We sponsor several poor children through a program in India and although I haven't been there to meet them, I got to meet one of my girls 2 summers ago when she came to the U.S. It was so incredibly special. Blessings to you.

  31. 34

    says

    My Loss / Their Gain,

    My sister and I selected a boy with the same birthday as her son. I figured I'd be able to better visualize my child as I observed my nephew. Plus I hope it will help me to know specifically how to pray for him, and give me ideas about gifts for him.

    Hope that helps!
    Juice

  32. 36

    says

    Kristen, I am a new reader to your blog. I praise God he sent you my way as you broke my heart for Kenya. We sponsered a girl from Kenya! It was the words God spoke through you. Thank you for opening your heart even when it changed you so drastically. I will pray for you to find a way to balance your life at home with the life you met in Kenya. Ann

  33. 37

    says

    After each of my missions trips, I´ve felt the exact same way. I can still see the children running around naked in Romanian gypsy villages, pooping anywhere they felt like, the stench of the brook filled with all the colony´s colective trash, and the children in Guatemala who went to school with heads filled with lice and no shoes. It is touching. This feeling is what God feels, and it should´nt go away, but rather instigate you to campaign for God´d justice on earth. I´m proud of you.

  34. 38

    says

    After each of my missions trips, I´ve felt the exact same way. I can still see the children running around naked in Romanian gypsy villages, pooping anywhere they felt like, the stench of the brook filled with all the colony´s colective trash, and the children in Guatemala who went to school with heads filled with lice and no shoes. It is touching. This feeling is what God feels, and it should´nt go away, but rather instigate you to campaign for God´d justice on earth. I´m proud of you.

  35. 39

    says

    Thanks for sharing this… loved the post. One quick comment… What if it is not so much trying to not parent out of guilt as it is trying to parent out of great gratitude? Raising children who know they are blessed and can look into the world for ways to give back is an amazing gift to this country… and likely others, as well. Thanks again. : )

  36. 40

    says

    My heart hurts for you. After my first trip overseas i came home and told Patricia I needed to wear sackcloth and live in the garage for a month. I was totally serious. I didn't do it, but that's where I was at and it totally freaked her out. It seemed like most of my life didn't make sense anymore. God definitely helped me work through it, but it was a difficult time for me. Patricia and I have done this overseas thing quite a bit, and we still struggle. Even after this trip we have had a tough couple of days of re-entry. I just want you to know I am praying for you and don't be afraid to call or email your roomie. She is as messed us as you are. :-)

  37. 41

    says

    Thank you for goingg to Kenya, for experiencing everything you did/are so we could get a glimpse too. After reading your day 2 post my our family sponsored a child. I blogged about it yesterday and now a good friend of mine is also sponsoring a child. Even though you are home and you may feel like you aren't doing enough, just know that god is still moving people's hearts because of the work He sent you there to do. So thank you for answering his call. May we all never be the same because of it.

  38. 42

    says

    Thanks for your perspective today. I think we all need that from time to time, but I know your life (and our lives) are going to be hard to get back to.
    Praying for your transition and thankful for your journey. :)

  39. 43

    says

    You are amazing. Thanks so much for all you have shown us in the past week. You have opened our eyes to so much. And, just as your life has changed, I see myself needing to reflect a lot to let all of this soak in. Your words (and the pictures that accompanied them) made the situation seem so close to us. Thanks so much. And, take your time. :)

  40. 44

    says

    hi kristin.
    i was in africa the same week you were. :)
    i was in freetown. we went to help a group called word made flesh.
    your words could be my words.
    i cannot think of anything normal anymore…africa has replaced the normal. it's good…but so different.
    it's a journey.

  41. 45

    says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. The first, and only place I have been to out of the country has been Honduras. It blew me away. On my first trip I walked out our hotel and past a mud hut where a family was living. Six months later, I came back and the hut was gone. The family had been squating on the land. The land owners found out and came and destroyed the "house." That helped put things in perspective for me.
    May God continue to be with us as we examine our lifestyles and seek to bring love, mercy and justice to those in need.

  42. 47

    says

    Kristen, it has been amazing following your journey through twitter and your blog.

    Your voice is speaking loudly and clearly to thousands, even if you don't realize it.

    God bless you sweetie! Keep up the honesty. We love you.

  43. 48

    says

    Kristen, it has been amazing following your journey through twitter and your blog.

    Your voice is speaking loudly and clearly to thousands, even if you don't realize it.

    God bless you sweetie! Keep up the honesty. We love you.

  44. 49

    Mom says

    Don't feel quilty Kristen; just take your experiences that God has given you and do something with them.He let you see the things you saw and feel the things you feel for a reason. It happened on purpose; so be grateful and feel blessed that you have been chosen to help the rest of us UNDERSTAND. Kiss your kids ,your hubby and the dog and cat and feel blessed today for your place in Gods kingdom, I love you , Mom

  45. 51

    says

    You have shared from your heart and what you have seen with your eyes. What a blessing that you had the ability to travel and meet the children. Not many have that opportunity.Your story will continue to touch lives as in a pebble tossed in water. It already has the ripple effect and it sounds like many are making a decision to sponsor.Being a sponsor is truly a blessing…

  46. 53

    says

    Kristin, just found your blog from my friend Juice. Your writing is beautiful, and you say exactly what I have been saying is the reason I am planning to visit Africa this coming year. I do feel something for the poor, and my heart is broken when I read and hear about all they DON'T have. But I know when I see it in person, it will change even more my perspective on things and stuff, and I will want to give even more. Thank you for your beautiful writing.

  47. 54

    says

    I live in the eastern Congo for a few months every couple of years and the thing that always gets to me when I come back is the grocery store. There are too many choices and so much stuff and the world is unjust.

    A book that's been very helpful to me over the years is Richard Foster's Freedom of Simplicity. It's a Christian approach to understanding and dealing with inequality and poverty. It is NOT about guilt; it's about taking what you've seen and letting it set you free.

  48. 56

    says

    I can remember so many of your feelings after many missions trips. I remember standing in the grocery store when my husband had tears pouring down his cheeks, just looking at all the choices we have for breakfast cereal.

    Those are good and real feelings and as you feel them (in God's presence), He will teach you and comfort you.

    One book that always helped us process our experiences well is Re-entry: Making the Transition from Mission to Life at Home. by Peter Jordon. It will give you some practical help and places to hang all those amazing experiences.

    Thanks for sharing them with us. I have been and will continue to pray for your transition.

  49. 57

    says

    Powerful, beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. The Lord is using these Compassion trips to make so many aware…and bringing the peace of Jesus to many as well.

  50. 58

    says

    My husband and I are going to Guatemala in May on a medical missions trip. We are going with a group of ENT's and OB's, and he is a surgeon. I have never been on a missions trip before and I am very excited, although I have thought many times about exactly what you have just wrote about. How will I change? What will I see/experience? What about those we can't save? How will that effect me? I just have to have faith that God will be there, and with me when we return. I know it will be hard (although probably not as horrific as what you have seen in Africa). I will be praying for you, Kristen.

    Kelly
    KS

  51. 60

    says

    I like what Aiming4simple shared. It is for all of us. Walking humbly…Sometimes find myself trying to figure things out..I think best to leave it alone. You've grown from your experience now rest in Him. Praying for God's peace…

  52. 61

    says

    First let me just say that our God is amazing and so are you! I've heard mention of your blog several times, but never actually took the time to sit down and read till today. I am so sad that I have been missing a chance to experience day after day your wisdom and faith. I just spent almost an hour reading post after post. Your series on He Said/She Said is fantastic, and I know it has required courage and faith to post! But what a blessing I'm sure it has been to so many. Your trip to Kenya has touched me, and I can't imagine how you must be feeling back home. My mother took a missions trip last year to Beirut. She came back feeling and saying the same things. It gets better, but you are right. You will never again be the same person. It will be my prayer that God comforts you and helps you process all these feelings. I know this is probably a bunch of rambling, but I felt like I had to tell you how incredible your blog is and how happy I am to find another Christian unashamed!! May God bless you this week as you reflect!

    P.S. I subscribed so I don't miss anymore of these amazing posts!

    ~Angie @MyFourMonkeys

  53. 62

    says

    I meant to tell you the other day…this post is Simply. Beautiful.

    And powerful.

    Thank you for bringing the beauty and power of your trip right into my heart. This is exactly why I dream of going to Africa one day–with my husband and daughters. So we can experince some of what you have, in its life-changing imprint.

  54. 63

    says

    a lot of others have shared some really great things…i've been able to travel quite a bit, and this quote has brought much peace to my heart.

    "Although you seem to have the knack of being able to adjust to living anywhere, no single place on earth can really be home to you. Part of you is 'here', wherever that happens to be at the time, and part of you will always be 'there', whether 'there' be your home culture or the field. Only being reunited with our brothers across the world before the throne of God can ever really be home. They say that 'home is where the heart is!' For a missionary, that would have to be heaven. To be in the presence of the God who has loved you so much…to be in the company of those of many cultures who love you so dearly…to share home together before our loving God. What a day that will be!" ~Steve Moore

  55. 64

    says

    Kristen,
    I want you to know that your blogging from Africa has deeply impacted my soul. Thank you for sharing the trip with us.
    I blogged about your experience today and invited my readers to come over and read the words that have moved me to sponsor three children the same ages as my own children.
    Sponsoring has been on my heart for years but something in your words and photos made it seem so much more real, and something that couldn't wait any longer.
    Thank you!
    Fawn

  56. 65

    says

    Hallo Kirsten, Thank you for sharing may God help us to understand just a bit..and change us through it!
    C.S Lewis also wrote about it, the big danger not that what we have in front of us (maybe poverty), but that what is in our hearts. We think pour people are in danger, but actally it´s our "rich-souls" that live the bigger danger. That making my bed and loving it…so much that it´s take´s my view away from the TRUE REALITY that of which we are a part the unseen world.
    May God help you to put all in the right perspective and maybe….also those who read here, to grow in Wisdom.

  57. 66

    Shirley says

    Hi Kirsten

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in Africa. I read your blog about your trip twice, moved to tears. Thank you for challenging us. Your experiences touched me and challenged me to see beyond my own needs and wants. Earlier this month, I sponsored my third child through Compassion Australia – Kelvin from Kenya. I plan to visit him and my other little girl in Ghana next year and I pray for financial sensibility so that I can fund the trip when the time comes.

    Thank you again for your story.

    God bless.

    Shirley

  58. 67

    Jessica Y says

    You have blessed me. My life is OVERWHELMING full of blessings and my soul is discontent. I have a beautiful home full of 4 children and a husband all of whom love me… and I grumble. The Lord has used you to gently remind me of my life in Him and of Phillipians 4:12-13. Thanks you, Kristen.

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