Posted in Life In Kenya

Life + True Fulfillment

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 

Lately I’ve been at an immense loss for words because there’s a lot of stuff racking my brain. But today I feel led to spit something out. Bear with me. 
In my experience, when one decides to live overseas + make foreign lands their home, two things happen: 1, you realize that life continues for everyone everywhere (no matter how hard you try to pause the clock); 2, your life is doing the same, just in ways that are unfamiliar. 
God mentions several times in scripture how every day spent in His presence is a time of transformation, despite us not being presently aware of it (as He reveals things to us rightly in His timing). And if, though it may be simple, the most pressing realization from my time overseas is His omnipresence, I don’t consider it redundant, as this truth slips my mind far too often. 
Here’s my point: While I’ve had many peaceful mornings watching the sun rise over the pacific shoreline, ridden horseback in the backwoods of New Zealand, and eaten more passion fruit than I knew existed, there are still days that I’m left empty. Now, I’d consider myself to be a fairly easy-to-please type of gal; I enjoy the rural, bush life + simplicity. But then a friend gets engaged, one (or five) have a baby, Tanya Tucker performs at Billy Bob’s, and I am jarred by my aloneness + distance. 
Living overseas is a great joy to me, but it is not magic. 
If you ever want to truly know how He goes about using every instance to stretch and grow a person, travel. I promise you—it will rock your world. I’m not insinuating that leaving home makes you a better you, but you’ll sure learn a lot about yourself and what areas of your life are lacking. 
For example, humility. If you want to successfully travel + make friends in foreign places, you can’t be offendable. I noticed my need for growth in this characteristic the other day when my Kenyan housemates kept bugging me about how and what I needed to eat for breakfast. In my head I was thinking, “I’m 21 years old…I ain’t gonna let myself starve. I got this! Get off my case.” But dang, that’s not how Christ would’ve responded. 
If you’re interested in becoming like Christ, give community-living a shot. 
With the encounters I’ve had over the past year, His creativity only becomes more evident in the way He [kindly] showcases, through each circumstance, my state of humanness (I often forget it). Although I’ve had the time of my life, He’s still holding up the mirror of accountability to me that says, “Oh, Han, remember…” 
Coming “home” will be hard. Not just because of the hullabaloo in the U.S., but because of cultural hang-ups and people needing to always know what’s next in my life when, honestly, I haven’t a clue. I’ve lived the last 12 months knowing not much more than where I would lay my head at night. I realize this can’t be a reality for most, but it has been mine, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
God, in His sweet superiority, has continued to reveal to me the truths of His word that says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) 
The consensus of that verse is not to wait around for Him to purchase a plane ticket + ship you overseas, but to be bold; take a step of faith; and forget worldly certainty. Open your hands; get em dirty. Forsake the misleading promises of the world for a greater mission: His kingdom being furthered in whatever ways that may pan out (don’t worry; He knows what He’s doing). 
My hope rests in Him and the fact that He doesn’t waste time. A big pet-peeve of mine (probably the biggest, actually) is lallygagging. But, of course, there are uneventful days; and even then, I can’t doubt His plans. He is never late, never off. 
We were created to be taught + glean from Someone greater than us. 
If your heart, will, + spirit are bridled to His, you won’t believe the things He can orchestrate. 

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Posted in Life In Kenya

He’s Got the Whole Wide World in His hands

“I’m not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart”

‘Steady My Heart’ – Kari Jobe

This song has been my prayer the past 100 days and I pray that it will continue to be my prayer for the rest of my life. This song came to my attention pretty early on in my adventure in a time where I was questioning the God of the universe whether or not I had made the right decision to come to Kenya. (Crazy, I know)

Missing Texas, missing family & friends; I wondered if this was really gonna be my new home… But then my dad reminded me that no place on earth will ever feel like “home” since this earth is not my home. I remember, before coming here, how tired I was of the typical Flower Mound lifestyle. Constantly running around & always feeling the pressure to look like I just stepped out of the hair salon or ‘hoity toity’ boutique. I didn’t want to be a part of that style of living anymore. In saying those things, I recognized the fact that not even my ‘home’ was the ideal, comfortable place for me at that time.

We, as humans, have this idea that America will always be home & no matter what stage in our lives we’re in we will always be comfortable there. When really, the only place we’ll ever feel at home is with our Father who has prepared a home that we will never grow weary of being in. Praise Him for that truth!

The song ‘Steady My Heart’ reassured me of those truths in my above statements. The fact that I don’t have to worry about where I am, what I’m doing, simply because He has me in the palm of His mighty, powerful hand.

I’ve never lived a day, that I can recollect, where I didn’t know that Jesus died for my sins, rose to show that my debts were actually paid for, loved me more than my earthly parents ever could, and lived in the freedom of knowing I have a perfect, sinless Savior fighting for me daily  – and knowing that He has my life in His hands and is establishing my steps everyday still amazes me beyond measure.

Too many people don’t realize the struggles & trials you encounter when becoming a missionary in a 3rd world country. Looking back, I knew little what trials I was yet to face and what experiences would come my way. There were SO many times where my heart did hurt and I’d just fall apart. But God showed nearness to me by giving me this song to pray through and listen to the beautiful lyrics of this song.

By the grace of God, I’ve now been in Kenya for 100 days. Thinking back to all the nights that I thought “I don’t know how I’ll make it by tomorrow..”, I now see how providential the Lord has been to grant me patience & peace. He is good and only does good. (Joel 2:21)

My biggest prayer going back home will be that my relationship with the Lord will grow even stronger than it has during my time here. I know there’ll be many times of frustration and confusion while I’m “gettin’ back into the swing o’ things” (as we Texans say) But I’ll continually be pleading with Him to grow me in those times of uncertainty.

He is my righteous stronghold and I pray that I wouldn’t stray from His fold due to fear & anxiety of what’s to come in the near future. (Nahum 1:7)

Posted in Life In Kenya

Nearing the End of My 5 Month Journey

Today marks my 95th day in Kenya & also the one month count down for my departure from Kenya. I am speechless & feel weird thinking about this place not being my home anymore… But I am excited to go back to Texas, see friends, go back to work, and get ready to head out to London for Bible school in a year.
God has amazed, frustrated, confused, blessed, and grown me beyond anything I’ve ever imagined in my entire life within the past 3 months. To think that I only have 30 days left here is astonishing & strange… I can remember sitting in my room the first week I was here and thinking “what in the world am I doing here…over 120 days left, ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME?!”. Questioning why I moved to Africa without my family, at age 18, with no ‘away from home living’ experience. I didn’t grow up spending time at church camps during the summer, going on mission trips alone, and I was home schooled. The Lord was faithful to grant me many opportunities at home to grow in my independence before I came over here, but nothing that prepared me for this distance from the familiar.
With all that said, looking back now, I have never been so grateful for those times of trial & tribulation. I have never felt so confident and strong in the Lord – because when I was WEAK, HE was STRONG. When I was lonely, He was near. In those times of confusion, He was showing me His purpose. When I was small, He was big. When I cried myself to sleep for countless nights, He showed me compassion. When I was sad, He was my joy. I am human, He is God. (PRAISE HIM!)
I am in awe of how diverse and cool God is. To think that not everywhere in the world has to look like Dallas is refreshing. I am continually humbled by the fact that we as Americans think that our way is the only right way; but God didn’t create the whole world to operate like the suburbs of Dallas. Especially a place like Kenya which is nearly 50 years old. There is definitely a time to work & do, but there is also a time to rest & be. That, I would say, is the main thing the Lord has taught me thus far. Just to watch other cultures live out the way they perceive to be right and not jump on em and say ” THAT’S NOT THE AMERICAN WAY SO IT’S NOT RIGHT!” is not an easy thing to do by any means. But no one ever said entering into a foreign place with different perspectives on how things should run would be easy.
In fact, it’s projected to be quite a difficult situation. Because I come from a much older and experienced country/people, there are things that I could definitely share with the people of Kenya to help improve their lifestyle. But there are also things that they have shown & taught me! One of the greatest ways to see God use His disciples to sharpen one another is through mission work. I love my home church and can’t wait to sit in service again. I love the family type friends I’ve made and accountability I’ve gained; but I so love getting to see iron sharpening iron cross-culturally. It’s truly an amazing thing! Like my pastor says, “the family of Christ is like a powder keg.” There are so many different backgrounds, lifestyles, beliefs, cultures… but the one thing that we all have in common is that our foundation is in Christ and Christ alone. I’ve made some amazing Kenyan friends who will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.
I never imagined in my entire life that I would be living in Kenya for over 4 months, seeing the things I’ve seen, and experiencing the things I’ve experienced. I couldn’t be more grateful for every situation God has placed me in. All those awkward times of misunderstanding or miscommunication have grown me more than I could’ve ever thought they would.
Please keep my family & myself in your prayers over the next couple months. We’re pleading with God to give us guidance, direction, and peace about the unknown. He has faithfully provided for us in the past 8 months and I’m sure He will unfold His plan for us in no time.
As we say at NV, “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. And that’s His nature, WOW!” and I am grateful for the ability to be confident in that truth!
Blessings, Hannah
2 Corinthians 13:9 – “For we are glad when we are weak and You are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”
Posted in Life In Kenya

More goodbyes, Fear, & Comfort.

This morning we headed into Nairobi to spend time with the Chandlers & Powells on their last day in Kenya. I’ve so loved having them all here. It’s felt more like home! So sad to have to say goodbye. You’d think it’d get easier, saying goodbye, but it hasn’t. God is good though & I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with them.

I know you’re probably wondering why I am awake and posting this at 4:32(a.m.) – but here’s why.
 We got home from Nairobi at around 22:00 and Abbey went over to the Mendonsa’s house to hang out with a group of friends. She felt perfectly fine all day until she came home about an hour and a half later. Her temperature suddenly peeked very high and she began throwing up rather violently. About 10 minutes later she started to faint and said she couldn’t see. As expected, we all panicked. I called Bob in quite a frantic state. Thankfully we live about 100 feet away from the hospital, so Bob helped us rush her into the ER. Erin and I stayed back at the house; we were both pretty shaken up being in a different place and not knowing what to expect. They put an IV in her and she was responsive. Praise God! I have never felt the peace & nearness of the Holy Spirit like I did tonight. My friend Nichole is staying the night with us tonight & I feel so blessed to have her here to help keep me sane! The docs are thinking it was some type of food poisoning, but nothing is for sure yet. My parents are staying with her at the hospital tonight and she might be admitted into a room early tomorrow morning depending on the results. Please, please, please keep my family & especially Abbey in your prayers. This poor girl has been through the ringer when it comes to being sick in foreign countries.
My mom came over to the house to bring Erin and I over to see her at about 1:15. On the way in I was praying that the Lord would put His mighty hand on her, heal her quickly, and put her mind at peace. As we are walking up a ramp I look up at a frame hanging in the hallway that says Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I felt the Lord just place an overwhelming amount of peace in my heart & soul. He is sovereign. He knows what’s going on. He is not far from here and His arm is not too short to reach/heal my sweet sister, Abbey. I am eternally grateful for that peace, even though I still have no idea why this happened. He is good.
I’ll keep y’all updated.
Again, please keep my family in your prayers. This is a situation none of us were prepared for and we are pretty shaken up by it. Although, God is good & knows what He’s doing.
Love y’all & God bless.