Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Final old blog post: "A time for change"

About eight and a half years ago I came to West Chester University.  I fell in love with this area.  WC is a beautiful town.  As I moved out of the dorms (er, Residence Halls, sorry), and into the community I fell in love even more.  I love West Chester in the summer.  I love being able to sit outside of Iron Hill and have dinner with friends.  I love walking though the town at night with the beauty of the street lanterns and the gorgeous, old homes.  I love this town as Christmas approaches and there are green wreaths hanging from so many of the shops and businesses in town.  I finally attended my first WC Christmas parade and it was awesome.  Events such as the restaurant festival are looked forward to much of the year.  I love the amazing church family that I have bonded with in this community.  But, like so many things, there comes a time for change.  .     

I have worked for the same company since 2002.  I started as a temporary employee, then part-time employee and for the last 3 years or so, a full time employee.  I left for a little while when I lived at camp for a year.  But I came back to West Chester and started full time work.  But, as I said, it's now time for a change...

On May 31st, I will be saying goodbye to West Chester.  

Most of you know that I have developed a great passion for Kenya.  I had the opportunity to go back to Kenya this past October on my own.  I stayed with Transformed International in Kitale, Kenya.  When I came back things just "weren't right".  Some of you probably remember just how broken and empty I felt when I returned.  A few things happened at this same time.  One is that I learned how to give more out of my emptiness.  You see, we can float through life doing everything that we can to have our own needs met.  We can chose to go to church thinking, "someone is going to meet my needs tonight".  But I learned that, even in my emptiness, I can walk into church knowing that I'm broken and empty and chose to meet others' needs.  I can sit and pray with someone else.  It's not about me.  You know what's really crazy?  I've learned that I can give even more out of my emptiness.  When I feel like I have nothing left to give - that's when the Father fills and allows me to give so much more.  I remember sitting at a prayer and worship night one night when I got back.  I really didn't want to be there but I knew that I needed to be.  As I sat there I felt like I needed to go prayer for someone else.  As I walked to my friend and asked him how he was doing, it turns out that he was having a pretty rough night.  What a joy it was to focus not on myself, but on another and encourage my friend and watch as he was filled with joy again.  

Something else started to happen.  For a while now I have felt a calling to the Nations.  I even had a tentative five, maybe even six, year plan to answer this call.  All of a sudden five years was too long.  My timing was off.  I thought that maybe, just maybe, if done at the right time, I could possibly swing a whole month off of work to go back to Kenya.  That wasn't enough.  After a lot of prayer and discussions with trusted others, I made a decision to take a step of faith.  I contacted my friend Daniel in Kenya about some opportunities that came up for me.  So, to make a long story short, here it is:

May 31st is my last day of work in West Chester.  This summer will be a time of preparation for me in a different opportunity.  Then, I will be spending the Fall back in Kenya.  What will happen after the Fall is quite honestly uncertain.  But I can say that I am trusting that the Lord will show me the next step.  I could come back to the US and stay.  Or, I could come back to the US knowing that I will be turning around and leaving again.  To be honest, this is a huge step of faith for me.  I am leaving a job that I've grown comfortable in.  I will be leaving behind some pretty good perks of this job, including my car.  But I love how Jesus said that "blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT".  Not the poor, the poor in spirit.  Heidi Baker talks extensively in her book Compelled by Love.  But to sum up what it means to me very simply:  Blessed are those who are fully dependent on God.  In our culture, we very rarely get to experience this kind of true dependance.  In a way, we don't have to.  We have everything else to depend on.  I am excited to HAVE to depend on God through this.  It's a good place to be in.  

So, what will I be doing in Kenya?  I was recently asked to think of a few things that I would like to do for the Fall.  I started thinking about why I was first drawn to Kenya.  It was about 2 years ago (I think?) during a message at church that Faith presented.  As she talked about Kenya and how we partner with Transformed International, I was drawn in by one key thing that she talked about.  The street kids.  There are thousands of boys living on the streets.  My last two trips didn't give me much time with the street boys.  I am not sure what things will look like, but during my next trip to Kenya, I desire to build relationships with the boys on the street.  I know some of what they experience.  I think that I can relate to them on a level that perhaps many others in Kenya cannot.  I know that as the time draws near, more details will come.  I know that other projects will arise.  

Although this has gone a bit long, it is still a very, very basic, watered down version.  I'd love to talk more about it in person if anyone wishes.  


-ray

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