I’ve been home a month since my trip to Kenya. I still haven’t fully grasped the moments lived out during that trip, the relationships formed and what life has looked like since. I do know that I have been forever changed. My heart is tied to Africa forever. I have tasted the sweet life of being a servant.
When trying to figure out how I was going to put down those experiences to words, I failed. I would start to write and go off in one direction, tied together with a run-on sentence about the importance of the proper squat while in the bathroom, and then finish with swapping bible verses with one of the kids. It was exhausting, and I felt like I wasn’t doing the trip justice with my random thoughts. So instead, I’ve opted for sharing a few of the small moments that captured my heart, and have shaped my story.
I had arranged to meet Geoffrey, my compassion child, on the final day of our trip. He and the compassoin representative were to meet me at 5:30 at Kenchick, a restaurant at the airport. I was excited to meet him. A little overwhelmed by the previous first days, and trying to really understand what was about to happen. My team dropped myself and Jessica off, and I remember saying to her “What if I don’t recognize him,or he doesn’t know who I am”. We turned the corner, and it was as if my heart stopped, and started all at the same time. My heart warmed, and was filled with this overwhelming amount of joy. I saw before me, the most precious boy, and my heart knew it was Geoffrey. I said his name, and when he turned around his eyes lit up. It was then that I knew that the past few years were not wasted.
I hugged him. A giant squeeze. And he stood there with arms down to his sides. He’s still a 9 year old boy. We sat down and I start rambling on about who knows what, and he just sat quiet. Quietly staring at me. I caught him a few times, and he would just smile. He was quiet. Choosing words carefully, and speaking mostly swahili to the representative who would interpret. He spoke just a little above a whisper. The representatives told me that this was his first time leaving the village. His first time in a car. In a hotel. That when he went back to his village he would be a hero to his friends because of this trip. The representative shared that because of my sponsorship, Geoffrey is able to go to school. To go to church. To try and change the current path that so many men head down in this country. When I send my money each month, it’s not more than a numerical response to God’s calling to help those in need. But seeing Geoffrey’s face reminded me of the impact I was making.
I brought Geoffrey gifts. Bubbles for he and his family. A Georgia Tech hat which he wore proudly. A soccer ball that he never let go of. I brought his mother some kitchen utinsels and sheets. And then I gave him a bible. A bible that I had been using the past few years. My notes and highlights mapping out verses that spoke to me. I wanted this to be something he would remember me by. I asked what his favorite verse was, and he said John 3:3. We flipped to that chapter together, and there in green highlighter was the verse. We read it together. Well, I read it, he just watched my face. But it was just one of those moments that God had created just for us.
Towards the end of our visit, I had to fill out some paperwork for Compassion. I grabbed my pen and prepared to start writing, the first line was “Name”. From beside me, this sweet little voice said “Amanda Brown”. I stopped and looked at him, “what did you say?” Again, “Amanda Brown”. My name will never sound the same again. He knew me. Knew that I was there for him.
Before I left, I asked if there was anything I could pray for him for. This sweet little boy sitting in front of me asked me to pray for him to get a pick-up truck. And with that, my heart was stolen.