Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Lessons Learned and Things Pondered" by guest blogger Carrie Nixon

This is another guest blogger post from Carrie Nixon. This is her second time to go to Kenya with Hocutt. It was a privilege to get to go to Kenya with her once again!
Here is what she had to say:

     One thing I have realized this trip is how large the world really is. We sing the song "It's a Small World After All" all the time, but I think what we really mean is "It's a Small American World After All."  It's so easy to get all wrapped up in our lives and our surroundings and not be aware of what is going on in other parts of the world.  I am guilty of it. We are all so desensitized. It's almost as if the U.S. is the Earth and the other continents are actually other planets, and therefore don't matter to most of us.  It's so easy to watch those commercials about saving the children and either turn the channel or call it a scam or just pretend that you never saw it. But, I have seen it with my own two eyes, and it's not a scene I will soon forget, not that I want to.  I'm not suggesting that we should all run out to Compassion ministries or some other child sponsorship program and "adopt" a child.  What I am suggesting is that you be aware.  Be aware of all that you have.  Even in the midst of our struggles, each one of us has access to clean water to drink, a flushing toilet, a roof over our heads, a soft place to lay our heads at night, and more clean, safe food and water to eat and drink than we can possibly consume.  The Father has blessed each one of us with many, many gifts, but we take most of them for granted everyday.

     Another thing that I experienced was the pure Joy of The Lord.  There is a difference between being poor and living in poverty, a huge difference. Not to go on and on about the horrible conditions the folks we visited live in, but it's true.  It's not true that every Kenya lives this way, but where we were ministering, it's very true.  Yet, in the midst of all of it, they have a joy you don't see everyday, a joy that can only come from The Lord.  My husband did a little experiment while he was in Dominican Republic a few years back, and the same is true form my time in Kenya.  If I sat in the midst of all the goings on, on any given day, and closed my eyes and just listened to all that was happening around me, what do you think I heard?  I heard friends talking and laughing together.  I heard children playing and giggling, much like my own do in their backyard.  There was never a complaint, never a negative tone or word.  Looking through a material lens, one would wonder what they have to be happy about.  But then they call you into their church building for a time of worship and prayer, and you see it. You see where their joy comes from.  And even though we couldn't understand every word they sang, we knew Who they were singing and dancing for. And much like the beauty of their land, it's a scene that I can't hardly explain, one that no picture will ever really capture.  It is a glorious thing to see, an experience that has left me in awe of our Great Lord, yet again.

     It was such a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with the children of Africa, to teach them about all that God has done for them already and what He has promised for their future. What an honor it was to teach them the songs my own girls sing and to hear their sweet voices harmonizing as they sang.  It's funny to see how God will take your life and give you the ministry He wants you to have. It was only a year ago that I said to somebody, very emphatically, "Other people's kids are just not my ministry!"  It seems like God has been set on proving me wrong or proving to me that I don't get to choose my ministry ever since.  It started with subbing at our preschool, which lead to a permanent sub position at the end of last school year, then to a permanent teaching position this year, and now all that way to Africa!  I have loved every minute of it, and I have adored every child I have come in contact with. Who would've thought? Certainly not me!  I can only pray that I have been as much of a blessing to them as they all have been to me. Whether while preparing to go to Kenya or while I was there, God was faithful every step of the way and He absolutely lavished His wonderful love upon me, and I am so very grateful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"I went to Kenya to teach" by guest blogger Synora Cummings

Today I have the privilege of having Synora Cummings as my guest blogger. Synora is a member of Hocutt Baptist church where I serve alongside my husband. I am so proud of Synora. She listened to the Lord and went all the way to Kenya, even though she has small children. She told me, "When God says go... you go!"
It was such a joy to be able to go to Kenya with Synora.

Here is what she has written about her experience in Kenya:

I went to Kenya to teach, but what I learned was

     the spirit of humility,
     the spirit of patience.

I learned to be flexible in my flexibility.

I learned the spirit of serving with a cheerful heart
     the spirit of receiving with gratefulness.

I learned that time can stand still when you close your eyes and open your ears to the laughter,
joy, and communion to what seems to be less, but is far greater than any physical possession.

I went to Kenya to teach, but what I learned is a longing of the fullness of God,

     a freedom of worship,
     and everything is a song.

I learned the joy of a child's heart is the very delight of His.

I learned there is no offering too small and there is nothing greater when given with a heart of purity.

I learned that God is everywhere,

     the sun on my face,
     the wind in my hair.

I went to Kenya to teach, but what I learned is to say YES and live beyond my fears trusting and believing that He is with me, breaking every barrier I have built, equipping me.

I learned that a clenched fist only gives white knuckles, but when I open and outstretch my hand,
God can do big things.

Synora Cummings
Kenya Mission 2014
Hocutt Baptist Church

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Older women leading younger women in the worship of the Lord

     I have been pondering something I learned from two very different tribes we ministered to in Kenya.  One thing these women had in common: they took the worship of their God very seriously!

     In the Maasai tribe, there was an older woman that I noticed last year and this year.  She was meticulous in her wearing of the beads and necklaces. She wanted to do her Maasai dance perfectly before the Lord, and as an example to the younger Maasai women.

     Last year I watched her dance with all that was within her to the Lord. She looked around and noticed that some of the younger women were not dancing with as much gusto. So, she began to scold them for not taking their worship of the Lord seriously enough. 

     I watched her this year dancing just as earnestly, with all her might, to please the Father. This was not to please the Mzungu's that were watching, instead it was an offering to the Lord. She did not look at us. She was concentrating on what she was doing.

     I also noticed an older woman in the Kamba tribe that was the same way. She was dancing with so much joy and happiness before the Lord. Not worried about what we thought,  just caught up in the worship. Betsy, (a fellow team member who is 70 years old), danced with this woman too!  She is someone who is also not afraid to worship the Lord with all her might.

     I noticed two things they had in common.  It was the older women who took the worship of the Lord very seriously. My what a lesson for us in America! 

     Before you say you don't believe in that, or I could never do that, maybe we need to look at some verses.  Psalm 30:11 says, "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing, You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness."  Jeremiah 31:13" Then maidens will dance and be glad, and the young men and old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy..."

     So many times in our churches in America, the older people have just let the younger lead out in worship. Many have become tired, I realize that.  But we should become energized when we come before the Lord to worship Him! We should not just be content to sit back and  think, " I have had my time of doing things in the church, let the younger ones do it." (I have had someone say this to me!) 

     Oh how wonderful it would be to have the older people lead us younger people in the worship of the Lord!  To be proud of their worship to the point that if we didn't "give it our all", they would scold us!

The lesson here:  As long as the Lord let's us live, and gives us breath...

We should worship and  praise Him... young AND old!

Older Maasai woman serious in her worship of the Lord.

Older Kamba woman serious in her worship of the Lord. Both of these women are great examples to the young.