Update January 28th Saturday
Today is day 20 in Kenya. We started out this adventure with almost 30 hours of travel time. Two stops, in Montreal and Frankfurt and finally landed in Nairobi two days later. From Nairobi 8 of us took a safari through Tanzania. The roads were comically bumpy but we saw a lot of animals close up. We basically saw almost every African animal (lion, cheetah, ostrich, giraffe, and rhino) but my favorite of all were the elephants. We happen to see a family group with a 2 day old baby elephant. I can’t do a justice describing the beauty and majesty of this animal; we sat in the buggy silently in awe of this family group. Adjusting to the climate, water and plus the jet lag I was sick for most of the safari but since then I’ve been fine, except for strange large red spots on my limbs (Seth says its leprosy, I say it’s probably the heat). One thing I found nice about the culture here is that they think and refer to the animals as people; using “he” and “she” or “this family” of lions protecting “their” home. This is a respect that we don’t have much of in Canada.
We finally reached pavement to all of our relief and got to the orphanage on a Friday night. The weekend was hard because we all weren’t sure what to do. The orphanage kids seemed distant and were very shy. We know better now not to waste valuable down time, soon came Monday where it was food, work and sleep. Since then it has been very, very busy. The days are long with a lot of hard work. I haven’t yet figured out what my job description is here so I have been part of the building team. We are building a dorm from scratch, with nothing but shovels, wheel barrels and hand tools ( its hard work (I don’t like hard work)) So far iv dug holes the height of me, paled cement and moved a gigantic pile of boulders. Hopefully I’ll end up with some muscles at the end! My only saving grace is a litter of 5 puppies on the compound. I know dogs are dirty here but I think God put them here just so I could feel a little more loved.
Imagine the noises of roasters crowing, chicks peeping, puppies whining, cars honking and kids crying constantly. That would only be half of the commotion that starts at 6:00am. Now that our group has been here for a while the kids are starting to warm up to us. They will stop watch on their bathroom break to see what we are up to. After school they come to help with whatever we happen to be doing. This Sunday we had a mob of orphanage and community kids coloring. 2 twelve foot tables littered with coloring pages and scattered crayons everywhere. The older boys were outside drumming on 5 gallon pales because my brother brought tons of drum sticks. The drum beat set the tone and we colored all the way till supper. My absolute favorite of favorite time here has been what I call “Africa Walmart”, this basically means we went to a store like Walmart. I enjoyed it so much because it is civilization – air-conditioning, real food, ice-cream, clothes. I have never been so happy to go shopping in my life!
Stay tuned for the rest of my little journey- this week we are getting dresses made for us, planning the amazing race for the kids and hopefully going to African Walmart again. Please send snacks.
Recently I came back from a canoe trip in Ontario and in my opinion I did not have that great of a time. I wouldn’t say it was bad but I was cold, worked really hard and had very little down time. Sometimes I need to learn that It’s not all about me. Wait. . . Everything’s not about Robyn Pruden! What’s going on!
I have been taught as a leader to do a “check in” to see how the group is feeling emotionally. We do this at the beginning and end of each day, calling it First and Last Lights; A simple number out of 10, a low light and high light. As we were doing the final Last light, the trip summery. I heard two people comment about how the trip would not have been as good if I hadent been there. Here I felt so miserable about my trip and thinking that it was a failure, and they said that it was important that I came. I just wanted to go home but God had me there for a purpose. To speak into a respectable, influential man’s life and to show love to a 10 year old. We see life so much from our perspective when maybe we should be thinking and being thankful that God’s perspective is the one that wins.
I wanted what I wanted. This trip was not for me to be nurtured, but for me to do the nurturing. To my embarrassment, I ask myself why It took till we were going home for me to figure it out. Thank God for grace, that allows us to be used even when we don’t know it.
Let me then ask you, Is there something in your life that He is trying to use you for? Maybe you aren’t reaping the seeds that you have sowed right away but you will eventually harvest them.
To continue the story. Ever since I had done a Dts with Ywam 2015 (Youth with a mission), it was always my desire to go back and have some time with one of the families in Ontario. So when God told me to go back because i wouldn’t have time later I hardly even gave it a second thought. I jumped on a plane one week later. Have you ever experienced those people who just make you glad you’re alive? The Chimaican (Chinese + Jamaican) mother of this family one day was talking to me about doing missions in Africa, and something about Africa hit home. I didn’t want to get too excited that it might be the where I had been looking for. I needed more conformation. God reminded me a couple days later about a painting I had done a year before (see adjacent picture) that I until this point had not known why I painted it. Jesus said to me “That painting is a picture of you in Africa. I had you paint it for this moment” I was astonished at how God uses things in our past to bring clarity to the future. That is when I knew my where. My heart became filled when i Started to pursue information and look at pictures of the country. My mother-friend questioned me as to where in Africa i would go. I had no idea, and still don’t. I’m trusting in God to show me the specific place but am grateful and thankful for the country.
I can’t help but praise the Lord for the call from small-town country girl across the world to a place with some parts with no running water. I really believe this might have been the reason that I have dreadlocks. God is always preparing us for what is next.
You must have figured out already that I want to go Africa. I have recently figured this out to so were pretty much on the same page, this is the beginning part of the story.
This summer I served at a camp leading canoe trips. This was a big step for a small town girl but I knew this is what God had me doing. When I finished all the trips and looked back at the experience I saw so many things God had brought out in me. It reignited my love for teaching young adults and the outdoors. I gained some valuable tools but said to God that I did not want to go back to my normal boring life. A short while later He answered my plea to not be average.
Some people are taken aback by my outright trust in what I hear from the Lord. I have mentioned this story to a fair amount of people and I usually get the response “well okay then” in that lovely sarcastic – you’re insane -kinda voice. But its honestly not that big of a deal. So I wanted to do something useful with my life besides the normal ‘Thank you, come again’. So I asked. God responded with a word that made me excited but impatient. He said “I will take you somewhere but I won’t tell you where or when just be ready”
How excited can I be about something that I know nothing about? A few weeks later nothing had come about, so I started to get discouraged; maybe I heard wrong. I decided to go to a worship and teaching conference because surly I would hear somthing there. After the conference had finished I got a call from my mom. She gave me a plethora of information for a job working outdoors with youth. I had a job number, telephone number and a contact person. This seemed like a golden nugget but so outta-the-blue. I was following up with the job untill I heard God say that this job wasnt for me. This job was only to be an example that God can make something outta nothing, So I wasent to lose heart about the words He spoke. I was encouraged but getting impatient, I wanted to know what was next.
Lesson learned in the first part of the story was to not doubt when God says something. I know that God wants to give us the desire of our heart but sometimes we need to be ready for them.