We had just left her house, gotten into the van and were pulling onto the main road, when the police motioned for us to pull over.
I was searching my clothes for bedbugs, scratching at imaginary spots and mindlessly pulling my seat belt on when I looked up and into the eyes of a uniformed man with a really large gun pointing in my direction. He saw me tugging at my seatbelt and glared directly at me. I slowly let it go.
I’d been caught breaking the law in Kenya.
(Of course, the law is subject to change…I have a missionary friend who was pulled over for wearing a seatbelt when she was 8 months pregnant and accused of putting her unborn child at risk).
He tapped at the passenger’s window and I rolled it down.
“You did not have your seatbelt on,” he said accusingly.
“I’m sorry. We just pulled out of that parking lot from visiting our friends home and I was putting it on,” I said with shaky hands.
“You have broken the law. You will now be taken to jail. Your journey ends here,” he said angrily.
He wanted a bribe. We refused to pay it. We spent 30 minutes on the side of that road arguing that we would pay a ticket, but not a bribe. Paying a ticket is the right thing, giving in to a bribe that an officer pockets is corruption. At one point, I was pretty sure my next stop would be showing my staff the inside of a Kenyan jail. I told them to pray if they weren’t already and I whispered, “God, give us favor,” over and over.
He finally let us go.
I have thought of his terrifying words over and over. Your journey ends here. When God says go, and we say yes, there will always, always be opposition. I warned my staff when we touched down in the USA after 10 days overseas, be prepared –this is when the real battle begins.
When we say yes to God, He says get ready for the ride of your life.
When we say I’ll go, He says how far do you trust me?
When we choose to follow, He says let me lead you down an uncertain but good path.
I had no idea that when I decided to go more than 7 years ago and my family started Mercy House Global that it would lead us to begin Fair Trade Friday, the monthly subscription club that connects women like us to impoverished and oppressed women around the world through fair trade product. I didn’t know that we would provide countless jobs in 25 countries, open retail stores, and that all of this would help sustain our maternity homes in Kenya. I didn’t know that this would provide the perfect opportunity to provide work for the teen moms we rescued so they would never have to sell their bodies again.
I didn’t know how hard this road would be. I didn’t know how weary I would become. I didn’t know I would still be afraid after all these years.
I didn’t know that we would spend 18 months working on an anniversary pillow that would provide jobs for 3 different groups of women in 2 countries and that today, on the 3rd anniversary of starting Fair Trade Friday, it’s the one message I would need the most. Go.
Go even when the path is hard.
Go even when you don’t know which way to turn.
Go even when you’d rather stay.
This past week, a dear friend with adorable triplets visited our store to pick up a gift for a friend. Her journey has been scary and long this past year as she has fought hell itself for the life of one of her girls who is overcoming leukemia. As we stood in the store, we held each other with our eyes, because weary women need a minute. She said, “When we started this journey, I was ready to fight. I have fought hard. But all that time– I just wanted to get to this point. Now that we are here–it feels like I’m only in my sophomore year. Not quite as ready for another round. I’m tired, but I still have a long way to go.”
Our journeys are so different, yet her words seeped deep into my soul. I’m only getting started on this path. I’m just a sophomore….a very tired, very old underclassman.
We have no idea where our journey will take us, where God will lead, how much He will ask of us.
In a way, that gun-pointing officer was right. When one journey ends, another begins. I may not have a lot left to give or have a clue where this road will lead next, but that’s okay because it’s in our weakness, He is made strong.
Because as we end one journey, we begin another. And that’s worth celebrating! Look what God has done– Look where He has brought us– Look ahead to where we are going.
And He is just getting started.
In honor of 3 years of changing lives, we are offering the first 50 takers an unbelievable deal! Sign up for our Earring of the Month Club today and get your first month for $1. Yes, you read that right. One dollar. Use code: WELCOME2017
[We will have extra GO pillows for sale here next week. Check back!]