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.

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