I woke up this morning from texts from my sisters. My dad called, then my best friend Jade. They all had one question: “Are you still going?”
“What?” I responded, “what are you talking about?”
“There was a terrorist attack in Kenya, 147 killed.”
My heart sank. Tears formed in my eyes. So many questions raced through my head. Where was the attack? Who did it? ARE MY KIDS OKAY? I quickly grabbed my computer and googled “terrorist attack in Kenya”, a search term I dreaded typing with every keystroke. My heart pounded as I considered all the possibilities. The thought of terrorism was hitting more close to home. I quickly scanned through the articles looking for anything familiar. I mapped out the distance from the attack to the school I’m planning to move to. I looked for any familiar names or faces. Those faces I did not recognize, but my heart still ached for a people I consider my own.
Three years ago, I made my first trek to Kenya, 1 year ago I went again, and 5 months ago I decided to move there. Unbothered by the threat of disease, unmoved by the “potential” risk of terrorism. Unfazed by the distance from home, the limited internet, and the lack of modern conveniences. My resolve never changed: “I’m moving to Kenya. My heart is already there.” It had become an automatic response anytime anyone questioned my move or my motives. The Lord is calling me there, surely I can face any of these “risks.” Surely, right?
This morning my resolve was shaken. My once automatic response replaced with an unsteady unsureness. My faith tested. “Am I really brave enough?” I asked myself.
The articles I’ve read about the attack say they separated the Christians from the Muslims, then executed all the Christians. These young students gathered for morning prayer and killed for their faith, for their belief in the one true King, killed for their devotion to the Father. Could I be that brave?
Probably not. But thankfully I don’t have to rely on my strength and courage. As Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Dying is not the end, it’s the beginning of eternity. To be sure, I am filled with fear at the thought of moving to a country privy to terrorist attacks, but am I still going? Yes, I am still going. Of course, I am still going. Aren’t my kids still there? Is not my heart already there? Have I not been praying for this move?
Putting my life on the line for Christ just got more real for me. But isn’t that the way it should be. Shouldn’t believers of Christ be considered the crazy ones, the bold ones, the daring ones? My prayers aren’t that the Lord would keep me safe and comfortable while I am there, but that I would be poured out for Him and be used to spread His message and give Him glory. I’ll let Him figure out the rest.
“Kristen, did you hear what happened? Are you still going?”
“Yes, I am still going.”