Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of a short-term mission to Kenya. Upon returning I was informed that I could write about the experience for the Sabbath Recorder. I immediately began to think of the highlights of the trip. I wanted to be able to portray to the reader the vast experiences that were bestowed upon the missions team. I wanted you to feel the love and share the laughs that we got to be a part of. However, I soon realized that I could not form the words to adequately describe what transpired. I could not do the trip justice. Instead, this article will simply tell you a couple of the important things about the trip — who was there, why we went, and what I learned. Pastor Steve James of the Verona church led the group. We went to Kenya to preach to the congregations for encouragement and to teach the leaders of Kenya how to better lead and serve their people. Pastor James’ wife, Debbie, attended with the intention of teaching delegates from each Kenyan church the skills of sewing. This was to help the people learn a trade that could be used personally and for profit. The kits that she used to teach them were left for the churches. Marleigh Fjako attended to learn and share with the Kenyans through music. Amanda Langley, my wife, attended to work with the children of Kenya and to use art as a medium for a VBS-like scenario. Caroline Snyder attended to be an aid in whatever way possible. God brought people from across the nation, many of whom had never met, and we were able to bond as a team and work for his purposes.
God blessed me in many ways and taught me many things while I was there…but the one thing that I learned that I would like to impart through this article is being open and ready. Amanda and I were not currently looking for a mission when we were told of the Kenya trip. When we were propositioned with coming, we immediately turned to prayer because we wanted to be wherever God would have us. But what I mean most when I say be open and ready is not necessarily in regards to short term missions that are in some other country.
In spending time with Kenyans, I saw how poverty can hold you back; but I also saw how love, excitement, and enthusiasm for the Lord can bring you forward. What the Kenyans lacked in financial affluence they more than gained in fervor for the Lord. While many of us do not consider ourselves wealthy, we are not often wanting for food or adequate shelter. But many of us have let our lights dim before God. One of our members stated that the Kenyans loved God so much in spite of their poverty…but I stated that I believe it is because of it. They NEED God. Our financial security often sees us putting God in a position of a nice extra to have. So, when I say be ready and open, I mean to help and do God’s work right where you are. Everywhere and everyone has some need.I’ll close with this. Pastor Steve was given a dare before his first trip to Kenya. He passed this dare to us on our trip, and I pass it to everyone reading this article. We were dared to try and bless the Kenyans more than they blessed us. I do not know if I succeeded but I tried. I ask you to go out in your everyday life, and bless those you encounter more than they bless you. Remember that means even if they have done nothing for you, you still owe them something. God bless…
~ Kory Langley, Assistant Pastor, Texarkana SDB Church, TR
- For the September 2015 Sabbath Recorder click HERE