Monday, January 31, 2011

Africa

Well, it's official. I'm going to Africa for two weeks in August.

I know this is a shock. I am personally shocked as well. But when God calls, it's usually in His time, and not mine. Apparently, God says it's time.

I have had a heart for the children of Africa for a while now. We sponsor a little girl in Kenya through Compassion International, and I am thrilled that I might get the chance to meet her.

Does the timing of this all seem odd? To some, it might. A mother of four young children, going off to a third world country, ministering to the orphans of the AIDS epidemic, exposing herself to malaria and typhoid, leaving her children for two weeks to travel to a country where there is political unrest, rioting and crime may not make sense to most people.

But it makes sense to me.

I firmly believe that my life isn't quite on the right track. I believe in God, and that He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sin. I believe that this life is just a blink of the eye in comparison to eternity, and that we are put on this earth for a purpose. I don't think I have quite found my purpose yet.

Yes, raising my four children to be mighty men and women of God is a very noble purpose, and I intend to do that to my fullest. But I don't believe that that is all there is to it.

We are to touch lives. We are to minister to others the gospel of Christ, to be the body of Christ here on earth. What does that look like? I don't believe that looks like a woman who so focused so much on her family and children that she ignores everything else going on around her. That doesn't look like a woman who has been blessed by unimaginable luxury and incredible children, holing up in her home and not letting her life cross paths with the lives of those who are so incredibly different. We are not to stay within our circle. We are to branch out and show Christ's love to those who haven't experienced it yet.

I am a very wealthy woman. I will say it again, I am a very wealthy woman. Now, before you all start making plans to rob my house, I am not at all wealthy by America's standards. In fact, when you line up our family's material wealth compared to that of the rest of America, we are just barely above the poverty line. But when you compare our family's wealth to those who live in the slums of the Mathare Valley in Kenya, we have luxuries that those who live there can't even fathom.

I can let my children drink water without worry of them catching a disease that I have no medical care to cure.

The road that runs in front of my house is not made up of primarily human waste.

My children can eat till they are full, and when we are done with a meal, there is some left over.

My entire community is not ravaged by the AIDS epidemic.

It's funny, seeing these things in print seems so trite, so unreal. We as Americans cannot even fathom the pure poverty that most of the world faces. We get so used to our easy, simple lives that we cannot even comprehend the pure horrors that the rest of the world faces every day.

I am so incredibly blessed, and in order to live out my life as an example of Christ Himself, I need to leave my home and go to those who need love. And Kenya is where I am called to do just that.

I think we get too comfortable in our lives. Americans, in general, live to not rock the boat. We don't do things that stir the pot, or any other silly cliches that define a life of taking care of ourselves, and not the needs of others who are dying of preventable things. When God calls us, we feel the need to check with others to see if we have approval from the masses before we answer the call. I want my life to reflect that I answer to God alone. God's approval means so much more than the approval of others, and He will never lead you where He will not accompany you. I fail to remember this often, but I am working on it, and growing in my faith. Today, I am listening to the call of the Lord.

God called me to Africa. And I immediately said yes.

And yes, I'm terrified. The fact is, I'm comfortable in my cushy lifestyle and my comfortable home with heat and running water. I have no idea how good my life is, and I'm about to have my heart ripped out of my chest and shattered into a thousand pieces. I know this experience will forever change my life and my outlook on things.

And I'm praying that God will break my heart for the things that break His.

If you haven't watched this video before, I HIGHLY encourage you to do so. And if you have, watch it again.

This is why I am going to Africa.


5 comments:

Snow Mommy said...

You made me cry, as always! I am proud of you and this leap of faith!

Heather said...

Thank you Tiff! You have helped to spread an amazing awareness of our Lord by sharing this. I am unable to go and do what I can to help right now but please I would like to help thru you, Let me and others make this easier on you and your family while you are away. I am so moved by this video and your pledge.

Jeffrey Hulten said...


Yes, raising my four children to be mighty men and women of God is a very noble purpose, and I intend to do that to my fullest.


Part of raising mighty children is to set a mighty example. I am proud of you!

Teresa said...

I am so proud of you and honored to call you my best friend! This is so amazing!

Renae said...

Tiff you are amazing! I know we don't know each other all that well but I am moved by your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and do what you know is right. All 3 of you! If I can help out with fundraisers or anything I want you guys to let me know! I am very very proud of all 3 of you!!!