As most of you know, Pathway Church established a global partnership with the church and community of Orkarkar in southern Kenya three years ago. You may also know that I recently returned from there with our short-term mission team that went to serve our Maasai friends. I have been asked numerous times for the highlight of the trip. That is an impossible question to answer, because there are dozens of highlights. However, I took on the challenge of narrowing it down to a top five. Truth be told, I’ve changed the list several times already, and I’m wishing this was a top 20 instead. Here goes …
5 – Amos’ Desk: Amos is the headmaster of the school in Orkarkar and is a humble servant and fervent lover of Jesus. It came to my attention at the end of our trip that Amos needed a desk where he could work and lock up some valuable files and materials. So with the odds and ends of what was left of our lumber and our time, I set out to provide him with something that could serve his needs. I will never forget the look on his face or his deep expression of gratitude when he was presented with the desk.
4 – Fence Line Sunrise: The activities in Orkarkar started early every morning, but before they did, I enjoyed sneaking out of the tent as quietly as I could (my tent-mates might tell you it wasn’t very quiet) and walking the fence line that surrounded the hope center site. It was a marvelous time to just be quiet with God, to thank Him for the people of Orkarkar and to pray for all the activities that would happen on the site that day and for all the days to come. There was the added benefit of being able to watch a beautiful sunrise each morning.
3 – Serving with Our Team: It was a tremendous blessing to serve alongside our short-term team. Each member worked hard, served selflessly and made a huge contribution to all that was accomplished during our time in the village. Even when the unexpected twists and challenges sprang up, like personal luggage arriving two days late, or being assigned a tent with a snorer(!), everyone made the most of it.
2 – Looking Back: One morning during my daily fence line excursion, when I looked back at the buildings we have constructed to this point, I was overwhelmed with the sight of it all. I’m not sure I understood all of what was hitting me in the moment, but I believe it was a combination of being able to be a part of bringing hope to such a remote and needy part of the world, the progress of the partnership with the Maasai that has resulted in so much so quickly, and the heart of the people of Pathway Church — for their willingness to pray and sacrifice for people on the other side of the world they may never meet.
1 – Advancing the Gospel: This particular moment of advancing the gospel was given expression all week long through the children’s Bible school, women’s Bible study, men’s Bible study, and during individual conversations. It culminated on Sunday, our final day in the village, as we worshiped alongside our Maasai brothers and sisters in the Lord, most of whom have come to faith in the past year or two. How exciting it was to sing and pray and preach in that context. I will NEVER tire of the sound of worship being raised to God, out of hearts that have come to love Him through the advancement of the gospel.
So there are my top five moments. I’d encourage you to talk to some of the other team members and ask about theirs. Then, why not sign up for the next Kenya trip and establish your own top five?