Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it”
Thoughts of my trip to Liberia still constantly flood my mind as I sit back at home two weeks removed from the best trip of my life. This trip was everything I could have dreamed of and more. I am very thankful for God putting it on my heart to chase the call to mission in Africa. The verse written above has played a role in the growth I have had as a person. I would always hand God parts of my life, but never the full package. I struggled to think about having God control everything in my future because I like to be in control. The Rafiki kids no doubt helped me realize that I need to give God everything and have him be in total control.
There was a moment early in the trip where a young boy Austin asked me if I was scared to die one day. I told him that I don’t worry because I will get to be in a better place with God. He thought about the answer I gave and said “that is right I shouldn’t have anything to worry about”. This was such a quick moment, but one of my favorite on the trip because Austin and I were both thinking about our futures together and trusting in God to take control of our lives. Austin and I formed a special bond early on in my time in Liberia that got stronger the longer I was in Liberia. He wanted to know the Lord and pursue him with everything he could. Austin liked how the older boys were grouping up with Iain and having short talks about God and the bible. He approached me one day in week 2 asking if he could do the same. He was a leader and wanted to learn more about the Lord. What had an even bigger impact on me though was how he brought others in on the short bible study. He wanted others to be involved and would always tell his friends after lunch to meet outside on the porch for our talk. Many of the younger Rafiki boys started joining in to talk about their highs and lows of the day. Their passion for Christ and drive to learn more about him made me so excited! It made me wat to run after the Lord harder and harder. These moments with the younger and middle aged boys are some that I will never forget.
As I continue to think about all the happy moments I had in Liberia it is hard sometimes to accept that it could have been the last time I will get to see those kids. Whenever I look at my watch I add 4 hours to the time and think about what I would have been doing in Liberia with the kids at that time. When I see leftover food at the dinner table I think about how the kids would divide it up and share it with all their friends who wanted the extra food. The giving heart these kids have is incredible. They come from a place that doesn’t have very much yet they are so happy because they know God and surround themselves with his presence every day. The pure joy these kids had in every activity for the most part was very impactful to watch especially how well they all worked together. Sometimes working together with another person on a team can be difficult. Many of the jobs I have had and will have in the future involve teamwork, and it was inspiring to watch the 60+ Rafiki kids work together and support each other. That is what I miss the most about Liberia and the kids in the orphanage. They do their best to love everyone like God loves us and sometimes I struggle with that here. I struggle to see others showing Gods love to me, but the Liberian kids always did. That is something that as I read through their letters from time to time I have a vivid picture of in my mind. I read a name at the start of a letter and I can remember them either using their words or actions towards me in a way God would to love me. I miss that more than anything and I miss showing my love and appreciation to the kids as well.
God has blessed me incredibly well by giving me the opportunity to go on this mission trip. I will always remember this trip and the impacts it has made on my life. I always want others to feel cared for and loved like the Rafiki kids loved my team and me. There are many more values that I have taken from this trip that I will continue to work towards using in my future. I am incredibly thankful and I know this trip will stay in my memory forever.
8/2/2018 06:39:36 pm
Kyle, I don’t even know you, but am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your experience and what you have learned from your Africa trip. My daughter, Bri, was on your team and she has shared very similar stories with me and her precious letters from the orphans. Her and I cried reading them together. These orphans are so beautiful with their expressions of love for others and how very appreciative they are about everything. Coming back to the USA is home but I can only imagine how your heart is different now. I praise God that Bri and others like you have been blessed with hearts to serve and I know our world will be a better place because you are in it!
8/3/2018 06:34:39 am
Great stuff, Kyle - so proud of you fo going to Liberia and I enjoyed reading your reflections from the trip. What an experience!
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