Monday, January 23, 2012

Kenya, Part 1: No Passport? No Problem!

This is the first of a multi-part series about my recent trip with a group of former SOS Summer Staff to Kenya to work with farmers and orphans in the name of the gospel. I will post another part every day or two until the story is complete.

I know everyone who is reading this is anxious to hear about everything that happened during my time in Kenya. But, it is important that I start the story before i ever actually set foot in Africa, as my journey to Kenya took an unexpected turn for me almost as soon as it began...

Two days after Christmas, I met the team at SOS early in the morning to pray before departing for the airport. After the prayer time one of the trip leaders, Anna, told us to make sure that we seen our passports and other necessary travel items that day. As I rummaged through my bags a sinking feeling begin to emerge in my stomach as I realized my passport did not appear to be among my luggage. I was really beginning to worry as I boarded the van to the airport, still frantically searching my bag. A quick phone call home on the way to the airport confirmed my suspicions - I had left my passport in my printer in Texas after making a copy of it (which I did manage to pack). After sharing the news with the trip leaders Anna and Drew we calmly tried to determine a solution to the problem. Thankfully God had a plan to use what seemed to be a rough situation to his glory and to make it part of unforgettable experience.

After arriving at the airport I immediately visited the Delta special services desk and was miraculously able to change my flight from Memphis to Detroit to a flight from Memphis to Dallas for an extremely low price (at least compared to what it could have been). The agent was initially skeptical of my request, but once he found out the price of the flight change he grinned at me and said "God is smiling on you!". That statement stuck with me throughout the rest of trip. Although forgetting my passport and having to travel separately from the rest of my team was not the way I had imagined this trip going in my mind, it was exactly what God wanted and he orchestrated his plan perfectly.

I bid the rest of the team goodbye from their gate and spent the next few hours in the airport and in thought and in prayer. God made it very clear to me as soon my team had flown away, that I hadn’t truly centered my heart on serving Him in Kenya. Between graduating from college, trying to complete work an album, and spending time with my family at Christmas, I had failed to really prepare my heart for what was before me. Even though it’s certainly not the way I would have chosen for it to happen, God used my time traveling alone to Kenya as a means of giving me focus and preparing me for what was ahead of me, and I’m so grateful for it.

After a few hours I got on a flight from Memphis to Dallas. Along the way I made some new friends and even ran into a couple of former SOS summer staffers on the plane! My father graciously met me at Love Field to bring me my passport and set me on my way to Atlanta the next morning to catch up with my group. After barely making my connection from Atlanta to Amsterdam, a short layover in the Amsterdam airport, and a long flight to Nairobi I finally made it to Kenya. After making my way through customs and baggage claim (and sweating a whole lot -- no air conditioning in the Nairobi airport!), I saw a driver waiting in the pick-up area holding a sign with my name on it. An amazing sense of peace washed over me. I hopped in a van with the driver without even knowing where he was taking me, but I didn’t even care, because I knew I had arrived on the greatest adventure of my life so far...

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1 comment:

  1. next!! ...I'm waiting, left us hanging...
    That was an awesome beginning. thank you for sharing.

    Mrs. Winn