24 Sep An Abundant Provider
This summer, I was able to take part in what the Lord is doing through Grace Church and our partnerships with the local church in Kenya.
From the moment I signed up for the trip, the Lord began to work in ways I could never have imagined. After sitting back and reflecting on my time in Kenya, I see one shining theme: the Lord will always provide.
While in Kenya, I experienced multiple examples of the Lord’s provision—the first of which started out as a simple day of vacation bible school. The high school students on our trip had completed months of planning for a day of leading VBS for 200 kids. When we arrived in Kenya, some of the local church partners began to mention that more kids than expected may attend the VBS. One person even said up to 400 children might attend. Being the avid planner I am, I began to stress over the possibility of more students showing up than we originally planned for.
On the day of VBS, we arrived at the church, set up, and waited for the children to arrive. Over the next two hours, we watched as people poured in riding busses, walking, or through hired rides (similar to a taxi). By the time things began to start, there were 500 children in attendance! While we planned for the children to be organized in “small groups” by age, each small group ended up having nearly 150 students. Between thinking through how we could accomplish games and crafts with this number of kids, and taking the language barrier into consideration, it is needless to say the control freak in me began to stress out.
Spoiler alert: I did not need to freak out. While I may have momentarily thought I needed to take control of this situation, God was working all the while. We were able to get through four rotations of the craft station, all of the kids did outdoor games, and we somehow had enough supplies for everyone to make salvation bracelets. My favorite part of the day was standing outside of the church, watching 600 children and adults alike, eat to their fill. It was truly life-changing to be a part of.
“While I may have momentarily thought I needed to take control of this situation, God was working all the while.”
The next area of God’s provision is something I’m still baffled by. To give a little background, at the onset of the summer, I was considering myself “supergirl.” Be in a friend’s wedding? Check. Go on a mission trip right after the wedding? Check. Go to Kenya two weeks after previously mentioned mission trip? Check. If anyone could do it, I could, right?
In case you haven’t already guessed where I’m heading, the answer is I could not do it. Midway through all of the events of the summer, I began to regret my “supergirl” mindset in planning my summer. To top it off, an incident quickly followed which involved me falling off a curb while running. One stress fracture and a walking boot later, I was growing more and more uncertain as my trip to Kenya crept closer.
What happened while I was there is something I can only attribute to God and his nurturing nature. The moment we arrived in Kenya, everything changed. It was as if I was an iPhone, straight off the charger and back to 100%. The Lord gave me a sense of energy I didn’t even know to ask for. The truth of the fact is, God’s provision is not dependent on any work on our part. It is ingrained in His nature to be a provider, whether we acknowledge that we need His provision or not.
“It is ingrained in His nature to be a provider, whether we acknowledge that we need His provision or not.”
The last area in which God demonstrated his provision came through the sweet realization that God has equipped us with certain gifts to use to glorify Him. At our first meeting for Kenya, I learned that I would be responsible for teaching Ezer. I was baffled. Why wasn’t one of the older, wiser women in my position, I questioned. I felt neither credible nor qualified, but still, I studied and prepared.
During the Ezer breakout session, I was intentional about presenting information in a way that was clear and relatable. Though we had a translator, many of the women we were teaching spoke English. I was shocked as they nodded along with what I was saying. Were they understanding me? Was I doing this right, I thought?
Afterwords a few people on our team told me I had a gift for teaching. In May 2017 I graduated with an Education degree. While I spent four years shadowing teachers in classrooms and creating lesson plans, I ultimately decided I would not pursue a teaching career. I often feel less than because I’m not actually doing what I went to college for. However, in this moment, God reminded me he had equipped me with the gift and love of teaching, and he had a plan for how that gift would bear fruit. While it may not be in a class full of first graders, I was able to use the way the Lord has gifted me in order to partner with sisters in Christ halfway across the world.
As I think about these experiences I have listed, I am overwhelmed by the way God provides. Whether it was enough materials for a massive amount of kids at a vacation bible school, unexplainable energy, or an avenue to use a skill I thought had been wasted, God provided. We serve a mighty God, who will always provide. I didn’t have to go to Kenya to learn that, but my time in Kenya sure did help me remember it.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
-Jordan Hemphill, Travelers Rest