You just can’t make this stuff up…
In 1990, my newly married parents lived and worked at Tenwek Hospital, after my dad’s internal medicine residency and before his gastroenterology fellowship. My mom’s journals from their year in Kenya are a true treasure to read, as she recounts how she felt and what she experienced living in a new and unfamiliar place. Fast forward 12 years and 5 kids later, my entire family traveled to Tenwek for an 8-week short-term mission trip. My dad worked in the hospital and my mom homeschooled me and my brothers and sisters. I have distant and fond memories of the daily rain storms, drinking chai, the bumpy car rides, passing candy to patients in the hospital, playing with the kids in the orphanage. Ever since my family spent time at Tenwek, Kenya has pulled at my heartstrings.
My parents took us on a handful of other short-term mission trips during my childhood. I can’t imagine what it was like packing up five kids and all their stuff (esp me – I LOVE my *stuff*), but I’m really thankful they took the risk because it was incredibly formative: God has used that exposure to this big globe and the colorful people and poverty and weird food and adventure beyond my own backyard to mold me into who I am.
After I graduated from UT in December 2017, I actually applied for a job at Tenwek Hospital and planned to move to Kenya but felt a strong pull to stay in Austin instead. I started working for a small business, cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit in me. The startup didn’t grow in the ways my boss planned, so I lost my job 10 months later. Disappointing, yes, but I like keeping my options open anyways 😉 , so I started to pray and get excited about the ideas still simmering on the back burner of my brain: particularly the idea of living internationally.
I felt like I was at a crossroads: I could search for jobs in Austin or pursue a scary, but long-time desire of my heart – living in Kenya. God was opening and closing doors in his perfect timing. I diligently prayed for a green light on the next best step, then again applied for the Friends of Tenwek ambassador position at Tenwek Hospital… and was accepted! I want to stop and express in this little corner of the internet a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s goodness, for he has intended we seek after Him and feel our way toward him and find him—for he is not far from any one of us (Acts 17:27). The fact that I’m moving to Kenya could seem a bit random 🙂 but it’s not. He has completely led me to this place and I’m so EXCITED to be here!!!!
God has planted in my heart the love of travel, adventure, meeting new people, exploring new places and a particular excitement for the nations of the world. I’m eager to see how God cultivates these passions during the next year in Kenya.