I never wrote a final blog. I haven't been able to fully process until just recently.
It has been four months since I've returned to the States, eight months since I arrived in Kenya, twelve months since I began fundraising for this trip, and sixteen months since I told my family I knew I was called to a mid-term mission trip.
As I walked through customs in Georgia, four long months ago, and heard the words I had so anxiously waited to hear, "Welcome Home", my heart was pounding, my thoughts racing. I was back. And one day later, I had said goodbye the the women who will forever hold a piece of my heart. I was greeted in Kansas City by my prayer warriors. The people who greeted me were the same people I was so homesick for my first two weeks, the same people I spent hours praying for and thinking of. And now they were at arms reach.
And five days later, the devil began to attack. Lies filled my head. Lies that I had given over to God completely.
I STARTED TO BELIEVE THOSE LIES.
By the end of January, I introduced myself to the high school small group I would be leading.
"Hi! I'm Kendra. I'm single. Live with my parents. I'm not in school right now. Don't have a job yet. Actually, I don't even have a car because it just broke down."
I had gone through Africa putting together how my picture-perfect life would look when I got home. Good grades in school. Cute little car. Job that I love. Caring boyfriend. None of that happened. It all seemed to slip right through the cracks in my fingers, and no matter how hard I cupped my hand together, it just kept dripping away. I found myself feeling lost, frustrated, and flat out irritated.
"Why God? Didn't I just serve YOU in Africa for four months?"
"Wait, my child. My plans are bigger. better."
Africa became surreal. As I mindlessly clicked through pictures of my time in Kenya, or messaged back friends I had made while there, my mind couldn't even grasp the fact that I had LIVED there. I had WALKED among the people. I had DANCED with the children. I had TASTED their food, SAT in their homes, WORSHIPED in their churches.
Africa became like one of those foggy dreams you try to remember by closing your eyes and trying to imagine every detail, every face, and what the dream was about, but no matter how hard you try, you can't quite focus on it.
KENYA BECAME A DREAM.
Funny, Kenya was a dream before I went. And Kenya became a dream after I came home.
And yet, as distant as my time in Kenya felt, I knew it had changed me because I found myself:
Speaking Life into Others
Not Accepting Lies Others Spoke About me
Weeping When not Spoken to in Love
Laughing with Joy when Worshiping my Papa.
The change in cultures is real. It is shocking. Going from a community of women who were constantly pushing me to become the woman God had created me to be, to a community of non-believers trying to make me conform... it is harder than any debrief can ever explain.
WAS IT EVEN WORTH IT?
The heartbreaking moments?
The spiritual attacks?
The weight gain?
Basically what I'm asking, is: Would I go through everything I went through all over again, knowing the friendships I would form, the growth I would see, the maturity I would develop, the compassion I would feel?
Is it really worth it?
So here I sit. Four months after returning from a life-altering trip. Watching my teammates do big things:
Laura is interning under a youth pastor in Texas and preparing for the World Race in 2014.
Richelle and Katie are traveling Europe while attending a Leadership Academy in Spain.
Kayla is pursuing her degree in nursing back in Ohio, with plans to use it in the mission field.
Rachel is taking classes at a local college and allowing God to move and show her what's next.
And I'm a full-time nanny who works part-time teaching at a local theater company.
The thing is: we are all doing exactly what God has called us to do at this exact moment.
There's no place I'd rather be, no place I'd rather be, no place I'd rather be, than here in Your love, here in Your love!
I'M CONTENT WHERE I AM.
And yet, I'm not content with where I am with Christ, because I want more of Him. I want to be at a place where I'm constantly growing. Constantly learning more about His character. Constantly striving to be more like him.
God has provided for me! He has given me a job that I love. A cute little temporary car. A loving home with a family who will support me no matter what. And friends who push me to be like Christ.
The journey of adjustment has been difficult. But I have learned just as much about Jesus in the last four months, as I learned about Him in Kenya.
HE IS CONSTANT.
HE NEVER FAILS.
HIS PLANS ARE GREATER.
And I will NOT believe the lies of the enemy.
Kenya feels like a lifetime ago. And I am forever changed for the better.
This blog first appeared on Kenya.Adventures.org on April 4, 2013.
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.