We’re all People! All His Creation!
July 22, 2015
By Mara Wiseman
I recently read a quote by Ibn Battuta that said, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Although “traveling” seems to me like an insufficient descriptor for our recent mission experience in Kenya, Ibelieve that the concept remains true for our team. Ephesians 3:20-21, a familiar verse for many, says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” We experienced this first-hand in Kenya – immeasurably more – and every member of our team came back a storyteller.
From a simple walk to the river in Thompson Falls that turned into beautiful and unexpected conversations with students coming home from their school, to learning to make Kenyan food with the women of House of Hope, to helping care for little ones at the infant rescue homes and the hilarious associated spit-up experiences, to ordinary rooms that became thick with the Holy Spirit as our team worshipped together at the end of a long day, the stories seem endless.
One of my favorite moments took place at the History Makers Conferences in Thica, a town just outside of Nairobi. Some of our last days in Kenya were spent with a group of young adults from around the country who were spiritual leaders in their communities and were attending this conference for a week of leadership teaching and training. This was very special as the Mt. Bethel College and Young Adult Ministry made up a large part of our team.
At the end of a long day at the conference filled with numerous teaching sessions, our team invited the young adults, the History Makers, to join us in worship before going to bed. We were in a large meeting room filled with tables and chairs, and as Pearce began to lead us, to be honest, it was a little uncomfortable. Conversations were still taking place all over the room, people were cleaning and tidying up the tables, and here was our team, strumming a guitar and singing away.
However, as we sang, more and more voices joined in. An ordinary room, a place of worship. We sang a few familiar songs that we had sung for the last week or so, but as the sounds of the guitar faded at the end of a song, we sat in silence. Only momentary silence though; a voice broke through with a chorus of praise. In an undeniably powerful way, the chorus was echoed by the rest of us in the room. Harmonies arose, new choruses were added, earnest and true songs and cries and expressions of gratitude bled together into glorious song for the Lord. Somewhere along the way, the lights were shut off. My heart could hardly contain its energy and excitement as I sat on the cool linoleum floor of this space, breathing in the air that was saturated with praises offered up in multiple accents and languages.
I find that I sometimes take personal offense to the human tendency to categorize people: us, them. American, not American. This, that. And in their proper context, these groupings are beneficial and play a certain role. Though like a racehorse ready at the gate, “we’re all people! All His creation!” sometimes buzzes eagerly behind my lips. In this moment though, the most foundational and truly important similarity among each person present was the center point. The whole affair seemed to temporarily satisfy my heavenly homesickness and is something I don’t doubt I’ll treasure for years.
I could go on for pages about this one night, which probably means a book is in order if there’s any intention of discussing the whole trip, but I invite you to ask. I’ll risk speaking for the whole team in saying there is so much we’d be eager to share with anyone about the Lord and what we experienced with Him those couple of weeks.
But here’s the thing: whether you find yourself standing on dirt you’re used to or dirt you’ve never stood on, He’s the same. He is constant. His glory remains, and by His grace we’re invited into His story.
“…to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”