Wow. What a trip so far. Its definitely been crazy. Go go go go go go… Late nights. Early mornings. Crazy. Well tonight is the eighth and I’m going to tell my story.
The last couple months have been hard, like really hard. I’ve had so many struggles, trials, temptations, and just bad days. There were times where I felt so alone. So desperate. So extreme. Several times I was debating whether or not I even wanted to go to Africa. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t worship. I believed lies that Satan was telling me and I felt miserable. I would ask God for forgiveness and his grace, but I wouldn’t accept it. In my mind I didn’t deserve it so I couldn’t have it. God was too good for me. He was continually offering me grace, but I wouldn’t accept it. Even in the midst of this, God’s plan for my life prevailed. We left for Kenya. We left on Tuesday July 2nd. After two long plane rides, we arrived in Kenya on Thursday July 4th. Even being here, I still felt this emptiness because I never accepted God’s grace. I was trying to live on my own power.
We hit the ground running on Friday by going into the Nairobi slums. I was reminded of the poverty that exists here but still hadn’t accepted God’s grace. Saturday. Saturday July 6th. On this Saturday, we had a camp/VBS/fun day for the children that are sponsored through Tumaini by people at Valley Christian Church. I didn’t know what to expect, really. I was excited because I loved playing with the kids last time I went, but I still had this hole in my heart…a piece missing.
About a year ago I convinced my parents that we needed to sponsor a child through Tumaini. Her name is Grace. I had never met Grace before. I only had one picture of her and I knew she was born in November 2008, making her four years old. I knew she would probably be at the camp, and I had presents to give her and I figured I would say hi, give her some presents, and that would pretty much be it…God had something else in mind,
As the kids were checking into the camp Cindy Hoverson called me over and said, “Kaleb! Look its Grace!” I came around the corner and saw the most adorable, beautiful, cutest, funniest, and lovable little girl in the entire universe. I came over and introduced myself, but she didn’t say anything. She was really shy and she wouldn’t even smile. I would tickle her, pick her up and throw her in the air, put her on my shoulders, jump rope with her, hold her hand, draw with her, make funny sounds with her, eat with her, anything! I just wanted to be with her. As we spent more time together she slowly started to smile more and more and she finally talked to me after a few hours. But it was funny; she would talk to me, but nobody else. I would get up and she would follow me. She was absolutely amazing. And the way I felt with her is honestly like nothing I have ever felt before. And then I began to realize something. It was God’s grace I couldn’t accept. I didn’t feel worthy. I felt like it was too good for me. But then I look at the sweetest girl in the world and she absolutely loved me. I didn’t deserve her. The way she made me feel is more than I ever deserved. She picked me up and filled me with joy. I was lost in this world where everything was perfect. I felt loved. Accepted. Wanted. Useful. And then I realized…God gave me Grace to accept His grace. God used her to portray his love and ultimately his GRACE to me. There was a time where she fell asleep in my arms and everything was so peaceful. I could feel her little heartbeat against my chest and I don’t even know how to explain it in words. The way it made me feel, I just melted. This little girl living all the way out in Kenya, Africa made me feel the way nobody else has.
When the time came to leave, I couldn’t let her go. I held her family up; they were the last to leave. I set her down and got on my knees and gave her a big hug. I began to cry. It was breaking my heart. Over the course of them trying to leave I said good-bye and least five times and gave her three or four hugs. I couldn’t bear it. When we got back to the hotel, I couldn’t keep it in. I began to sob, hard and passionately. I couldn’t catch my breath because I missed her so much and I realized God used her to speak into my life like nobody ever has.
I realized after that every struggle, every temptation, every lie from Satan’s mouth was to prevent me from meeting Grace and accepting God’s grace. She is the most beautiful girl I know and I am so blessed to be able to sponsor her.
This is now my story. Now I pray for her constantly and pray that I will be able to see her again. And maybe this doesn’t make sense to you. You may think it’s far-fetched, made up, or hallucinated. If that’s you I say, God works in ways we DO NOT understand. I never would have thought God would use a little girl in Kenya to portray his grace, his Kingdom, and his love to me – a sixteen year old American who likes hanging out with his friends, listening to hardcore music, and playing Frisbee. Grace has no doubt changed my life. She will forever be in my heart. This has been a radical, belief altering trip already; and we still have three weeks to go. I’m excited to see how God continues to move and work.
Thank you Jesus for leading me to this place and letting me meet Grace. You are amazing and I love you Lord.