Last month we met the Powells (that post here). In just a few years their family has grown from casual, convenient compassion to radical, intentional compassion. They sought out new ways to love those hurting around them, and surrendered their free time, family time, money and relationships to do it.
I asked Amy if she could share how their most recent World Changing, Heart Changing, Family Changing trip went. I begged for scoop from her and each of her 3 kids. I couldn’t wait to see pictures. When I downloaded them I was captivated. The Powells radiate joy in Kenya. It’s that gift that comes with surrender. When you give what you have to God, he gives you joy. And you can’t help but share that joy with everyone around you.
Summary of the Powell’s Trip to Kenya
by Amy, Allie, Jack, and Cooper
This was the third trip to Kenya for me (Amy) and my daughter, Allie, and the second for my sons, Jackson & Cooper. My husband, Corey, has been before, but he was unable to come this time. He was our biggest cheerleader and a solid rock for me as I questioned my bravery and ability to lead a team to Africa by myself a few times in the pre-trip phase.
Our mission, while in Kenya, was to accompany others to Africa and show them the things that the Lord is doing there that we had seen on previous trips, to reconnect with the people that we had served along side before, to bring supplies to people and ministries that are impossible/ difficult for them to get in Kenya, and to care for the missionaries of Naomi’s Village. I believe that all of those things were accomplished successfully.
Our friends that we traveled with loved their first trip to Kenya, and their lives were impacted greatly and positively by their experiences there. Reconnecting with our Kenyan friends was very special. From the adults working at Naomi’s Village (“NV,” the orphanage we serve at) to our four sponsored kids, to the 64 orphans at NV, to missionaries and pastors of other ministries we visited, we were honored spend time with each one and hope that we were able to bring encouragement to each of them.
We were able to spend time in the rural village of Maai Mahiu at Naomi’s Village and Rift Valley Fellowship Church, visited Wells of Joy, the ministry we are connected to in the slums of Lunga Lunga in Nairobi, where we were able to feed children, see them educated, and hear the heart of the pastor there, and spend time serving the missionaries of NV in the town of Kijabe.
One thing that I hope that our trip has done is to encourage others who might think that travelling to Africa is impossible or too scary or dangerous that it can be a beautiful, wonderful experience. And while I am not sure that it’s a great trip for a family with little children (because the travel is difficult and it might be hard to have your attention divided as it must be there), it is a wonderful trip to do with older kids. Exposing them to the world, to serving “the least of these”, to loving things that might seem unlovely, to dying to your own desires… all of that and more… It is just a great experience to share as a family.
Additionally, if you or your family are called by God to go on a mission trip (or serve in any capacity), there is nothing better that you can spend your time doing. The rewards from saying “yes” when called by the Lord far outweigh and discomfort that we felt throughout our trip.
FAVORITE PARTS OF THE TRIP:
Amy (Mom)– It is so hard to narrow down my favorite experiences of a trip to Africa. There are parts of every single day that we were there that could be labeled my favorite. While there is poverty, disease, and brokenness everywhere you look in Kenya, there is an overwhelming sense of joy and hope and thankfulness in almost every person we meet that makes visiting that country and those people so beautiful. Reuniting with our friends from previous trips is something that brings me much joy. The fact that we returned to Kenya clearly made them feel loved and valued. And for us, it is good to see the things that the Lord had done in their lives and ministries since the last time that we visited.
Probably the single most wonderful experience that occurred during our days in Kenya was getting to be a part of the rescue of 4 newly orphaned siblings and bringing them home to Naomi’s Village. I was able to go to their home and drive them back to the orphanage with my friend, Julie (the co-founder of NV), and a few others. When children arrive at Naomi’s Village there is a welcome celebration like nothing else that I have ever been a part of. There is singing, dancing, hugging, sharing of cake, and much more. Seeing the 60 orphans that already called this special place home along with the staff of Naomi’s Village welcome the new children into their family with complete joy is an act of love like nothing else that I’ve ever experienced.
Allie (18) – My favorite part was going to get the four new children from their old home and bring them to Naomi’s Village. It was intended to only bring back the 7 and 8 year old but in the end their 12 and 13 year old siblings ended up staying as well. When we pulled into Naomi’s Village in the Land Cruiser, there was a huge homecoming celebration, which included all of the children and staff of Naomi’s Village. To me it is a small glimpse of what our homecoming in Heaven might look like someday. Throughout the week, I got to see the four children experience new things with huge smiles on their faces. Even though they didn’t speak English, their smiles spoke volumes to me.
Jack (15) – The most important part of the trip to me was seeing worship at Mwi’Hangiri (a village of IDPs – Internally Displaced People). They have so little yet they give all they can to God in their worship. It reminded me of the story when Jesus watched the people offer money in Mark 12. Many rich people came and gave large amounts and then a widow came and offered two small coins. Jesus says that the widow gave more. At Mwi’Hangiri they only had two drums and their voices, but they praised the living God, and He was in that place. It was humbling in a sense because I realized I don’t do that, but it challenged me as well. I want to worship like that!
Cooper (10) – For me, Africa is the most amazing place I’ve ever been so it’s very hard for me to choose a favorite part of it, but I would say that seeing the poverty and culture there is very eye-opening. Most kids and adults alike suffer abundantly every day. From lack of food and water to lack of proper shelter and clothes there is poverty almost everywhere. Despite all of these things, they still worship God in the best way I have ever seen.
HARDEST THINGS ABOUT OUR TRIP
Amy – The hardest thing for me about visiting Kenya is leaving. While I am completely sure that the children at Naomi’s Village are exactly where they belong and that my family is currently living where they belong in the USA, it is very hard to deeply love people that are so far away and have to leave them. We never know when/ if we will be able to return to the place that holds such a huge place in our hearts, so saying goodbye is very difficult. Knowing that life will go on and that we will not get to know how our friends are doing on a day to day basis and knowing that we will be so far away from them on the other side of the world is difficult for my heart each time that we have to leave.
Allie – The hardest part for me was going into the Lunga Lunga slums for the third time. Since I had already been two times, I knew what to expect and I had started to feel anxious before walking through the streets again. There are many drunken people, raw sewage and trash everywhere you step, and hungry children roaming. However, there is a school there called Wells of Joy that we go visit, and that is the reason for our visit. The school there provides 250 children there with not only have a place to learn, but they get two meals a day (which is rare for a slum child). It is evident that God is using Wells of Joy to be a light in the dark place of Lunga Lunga.
Jack – The most difficult part of the trip was walking through the slums of Lunga Lunga in Nairobi. I saw all of this sadness, pain, and suffering, but I was helpless in that I couldn’t just make it stop. Sure I was helping, but it seemed a hopeless problem because it is so big. But then I saw the work that pastor Geoffrey is doing at Wells of Joy (church/ school), and I realized that he is making a difference regardless of how huge the problem was. This evil cannot and will not stop with only him though. More people need to be in that battle. We can’t just give money and hope the situation gets better. We need to get dirty, see for ourselves, and wage war against this evil. We need to experience this problem to understand how to beat it. It is difficult to pray for something intentionally when you have not first been apart of it yourself.
Cooper – The hardest part about our trip both times I’ve gone has been leaving Africa. It feels terrible to leave such an amazing place, and I hate doing it.
Please check out these links for more information about these beautiful places where the Powells have given their hearts. You could help sponsor a child (younger children especially love connecting with another child their age), help provide for food and schooling for kids in Lunga Lunga slums, or encourage the church that is bringing hope and light in dark places. And if you have any questions and/or are interested in seeing all these places for yourself, please contact Amy Powell firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi’s Village – https://naomisvillage.org
Wells of Joy – http://www.wellsofjoyministries.org
Rift Valley Fellowship – http://www.riftvalleyfellowship.com/about.html
Most of think that we are giving our kids the best the world has to offer when we take ski vacations and go to Disney. It feels good to lavish love on our kids, spoil them a bit. But the Powell kids look happier here. I see joy, curiosity, and contentment that you don’t see in pictures of kids sugared and crazy at theme parks. I feel like I see their hearts.
So let’s continue to ask ourselves: Where do we invest our time and money as a family? Who do we want our kids to grow up to be? How can we surrender as a family? What brings us joy?
You are loved.
Do you know a World Changer? We’d love to learn from them! Send me a message in the comments below, or at email@example.com
To learn how the Family Compassion Focus got started, read Our Story.
To get ideas for how to do your own Family Compassion Focus, read Getting Started. (Remember, it’s never too late and there are a thousand ways to do it.)
You are loved.
©Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2015.