I figured today is as good a day as ever to share my story of my impending mission trip to Kenya. It would be remiss to not stress just how far from my radar this trip was…I truly believe this trip is a “God Thing” and I am meant to go to Kenya for reason and purpose!
Many years ago, Patrick and I looked into mission work with our church, but ultimately deemed it “not the right time in our lives” to participate. With young children to care for, we just felt like the locations were too far and the time away too long. We didn’t rule them out for life, so I could confidently rule them out for this season of life 😉 I started to tune out the mission trip announcements at church, and I can honestly say, I didn’t even know there was a group heading to Kenya until my friend, Lisa, mentioned it, planting a seed I never imagined would grow!
Lisa and her husband, Tyler, had invited our family over before our trip to New Zealand. Both Lisa and Tyler had spent a significant amount of time in the country and wanted to tell us about all of their favorite things to see, do and eat. While hanging out after dinner, Lisa asked if I was interested in going on the Kenya trip. I without hesitation told her no, explaining that with three little ones at home with me, and Patrick working full time, it just wasn’t in the cards. She told me she understood but urged me to pray on it. Truth be told, I didn’t pray on it because I just knew that it wasn’t going to happen! I honestly just brushed off her invitation and forgot about it…until a few days later, while I was reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. Michelle had shared about the first time she visited Kenya, with Barak, as he researched his ancestry, which would eventually lead to the penning of his autobiography, Dreams From My Father. I was reminded of Lisa’s invitation to pray about going on the trip when I read that Barak’s Kenyan family resided in Kisumu, the exact city that the mission trip would be in. It was a little strange to say the least! I messaged her about this discovery, joking that maybe I could spin it as a “sign” that I was meant to go, still fully believing it wasn’t going to happen. That night, Patrick and I had a date night and I mentioned the story to him over dinner. He asked if I wanted to go, and I told him I would love to, but understood why I couldn’t. He said, “I’ll ask my Dad. If he’s not teaching summer school this year, I bet he’d come and help me out with the kids.” I knew it was pretty much up to that one detail because Patrick’s mom is a camp nurse in New York during the summer and my parents told me before I had Lilybelle, that they could not handle taking care of 3 young kids at the same time. I didn’t expect my father-in-law to say yes…I know it’s a lot to ask, and though they are good kids, they can be a lot to handle, especially for one person! Nobody in the world gets that more than me!
I was kinda in disbelief when Mick said he could and would come to help Patrick out with the kids. It was way too easy. There were no questions asked, just the response of yes. Still, I wrestled with the idea of going. Ten days would be a long time to leave my family! Deeper doubt filled me when I learned that leading up to the trip we would have 2 hour team building meetings every Sunday. I loved the idea of getting to know the team better, but ten days away + 2 hours a week for multiple weeks seemed like more than I could give. The morning of the first team meeting, I decided that I was going to regretfully decline as the time commitment was just more than I could give. After church, I was going to find the group leaders and let them know…
Then church happened. Our student pastor, Craig Goldman, was preaching on living uncommon lives in a common world. The meat of his message was, “When we are united as the people of God around the mission of God then the world will want to know God”. As he broke it down, I was completely convicted as he preached that the mission of God is to draw people to Him and it is a 24/7 mission. I soon realized I wasn’t being very mission minded when Pastor Craig explained the two crucial elements of doing so, gathering and going. 20 minutes prior, I wasn’t going on this mission trip because of weekly gatherings…it was so completely crystal clear that God was speaking to me through Pastor Craig. I was completely being called out when Pastor Craig said “the way we spend our time, resources and energy reveals what we value, and what we value becomes an excuse not to live on mission.” How could I, as a woman of God who claims to put God first, not go after that? I understood that when Pastor Craig was speaking about our mission, he wasn’t speaking directly about mission trips, but from it I realized that this mission trip was to be a part of my mission. Pastor Craig ended by saying “Gathering leads to going which leads to the gathering growing”, which is exactly why we go on mission trips, to grow the Kingdom of God! After church I looked at Patrick and said, “I guess I’m going to Kenya afterall…!” He looked at me and said, “Yep.” And we both started laughing! If you’d like to watch or listen to this sermon (which is definitely worth the listen!!) click here!
Once I was fully on board, God further revealed that I was meant to go on this trip through His provision. I didn’t plan to fundraise for the trip outside of the group fundraiser, yet after telling my hairdresser about my trip plans, a huge donation was made in my name! Pam was supposed to go on a mission trip with our church, but the plans changed and she wasn’t able to go after all. I nearly fell out of my chair when she told me she wanted to transfer over the funds she’d already paid to me. I’m a giver, so I truly struggle to receive, but God is teaching me to just accept his blessings. I was recently told that fighting Gods giftings is denying others the opportunity to do His work, which is the way I am trying to see this generosity! Thank you, Pam, for being such a blessing to me through your funds, but more importantly, through your friendship! I so enjoy soaking in your wealth of knowledge as dye soaks into my hair 😉 You better believe your truth is bonding to me as the color bonds to each strand! You are such a gift and I am thankful for you!
God continues to provide in His awesome ways! When I realized I had to wear skirts and sleeves on our trip, I got a vision of wearing positive t-shirts over the maxi dresses I already own so I wouldn’t have to purchase a bunch of new skirts. I reached out to two friends, Heather, who owns a Christian based apparel company called Living On A Prayer Boutique, and Shannon, who used to own a Christian based apparel company.
When asking Heather for a coupon code, she insisted on sending me what I wanted – on her! And she didn’t just send me the shirt I wanted, she selected two more positive messages to spread to the Kenyans as well! I have never even met Heather! We are Facebook friends through a mutual friend who thought we mirrored each other in our faith and values. I get such encouragement and joy reading her posts! If you are thirsting for truth and positivity, do yourself a favor and go follow her! And of course, go check out her beautiful line of catchy Christian tees! Heather, thank you for your generosity and your encouragement! You’ve helped to provide me with the “Godfidence” I need to be “Brave” and every Kenyan I meet will know just how much Jesus loves their face 😉 Promise!
When I asked Shannon if she still had stock from her company, she asked me if she could send me the rest of it to give out to the Kenyans! I mean, seriously?! When I thought to reach out to both Shannon and Heather, I never imagined I’d get the responses I did, but God! I am so in awe of Him and the way He works and moves! He is truly awe-some! Thank you Shan, for being a part of this story! I can’t wait to bless some of the Kenyans with your generosity!
So now, with less than a month to go, I am just excited to see what God has in store for me in Kenya! I have no idea why God lead me so strongly to this trip, but I am ready to find out! It’s never easy to leave the comforts of home to do God’s mission work, and the enemy loves to make you question the why you are waiting for God to reveal, so please keep me and the team I am traveling with in your prayers as we get ready to embark on Kenya.
If you don’t already, be sure to follow me on Instagram at thebaileybunchblog to see photos and read updates from the trip!
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing