For the past few weeks I’ve completely failed to put pen to paper. I’d gone to Kenya intending to catalog the daily events, adding my insightful musings as the trip unfolded. But until now, those intentions have been a total bust. Aside from us being very busy, I think that for the most part I can blame that failure on the fact that this has been a lot to take in. No doubt my brain will be processing this three week period for a long time to come. Apart from merely copying down daily events, the monumental task of constructing an appropriate response to all that I’ve seen, heard, and felt these past twenty days as I’ve spoken with pastors, played futbol with kids, walked the slums, and spent time in orphanages, seems overwhelming.
One of the biggest challenges in returning home from a journey like this is maintaining perspective. You can’t walk away from an experience like this without having a significant shift in your worldview. For those who’ve been through a similar experience, you may know what I’m talking about. It’s as though, however briefly, the clouds part and you begin to see things much more clearly. The trivial problems with which most of us are so preoccupied are suddenly seen for what they are, those ‘pressing’ matters are quickly relegated to a much lower level of importance. When viewed through the frame of a much larger worldview, you see very quickly that many of those issues which we allow to consume our days are merely distractions. Distractions which keep us from seeing and doing what truly matters.
Moments of clarity like this are a gift we don’t often encounter, they’re an opportunity to step back from our needlessly harried lives to take stock of where we are, what we’re doing, and who we’re following. At this moment I’m in the afterglow of such an experience. Clinging to that renewed perspective, I’m attempting to look with new eyes at my life, my decisions, and ultimately, my impact on the world around me.
A couple of years ago I was sitting in church, zoning out, when a verse randomly cropped up in my mind. It’s a common verse – much recited among the religious – but in my own experience, not often exercised. For whatever reason it came back to me with a greater urgency than before.
“…when someone has been given much, much will be required in return;
and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be
I’ve never been great at scripture memorization. For someone who has grown up in and around the church I’m pretty pathetic really. I’ve always been that guy who has a minor panic attack whenever someone asks me to share a favorite verse. But in that moment it didn’t matter that I couldn’t remember where in the Bible that verse was found, I simply knew that it was directed at me. I’m not trying to romanticize that day and say that the verse came to me like some Godly lightning bolt or anything like that, it was just more of an ‘Aha’ moment. I think in that moment I saw a clear picture of the level of responsibility that comes with being afforded all the opportunities that I’ve been handed.
My life has been unbelievably blessed, a fact of which I’m well aware, but one that is truly hammered home each time I venture outside my comfortable life in the US. As I journeyed through Kenya, that verse kept jumping into my head. Going forward, my hope is that I can maintain that shift in perspective gained through my time with the folks in Kenya. My hope is that, when I look back, I will continually be encouraged and inspired to be an agent of change, regardless of what setting I’m in. I also hope that those of you following along benefited in some way through partnering with us on this leg of TFP’s journey, and I look forward to sharing in the next one with you.