Photostory: Always a Reason to Seek
A Kindred’s PHOTO STORY
ALWAYS A REASON TO SEEK
Three Weeks in Kenya
BY SHELBY BAUER
Wave after wave of emotion washed over me as I immersed myself in the culture for three weeks; I felt sadness, incredible joy, heaviness, elation, awe, and hope (to name a few). My experience in Kenya challenged me in innumerable ways and broadened my perspective of what it means to have a relationship with God.
I saw God move and I saw people respond.
Visiting churches, staying at an orphanage/school, and interacting with locals opened my eyes to the kindness and deep hurt of the people here. However, it is because of this hurt, poverty, longing, destruction, and brokenness that they have such admirably firm faith. They rely on God for their next meal, they rely on God for a roof over their head, they rely on God for income, they rely on God for medical attention — and miracles happen. The people in Kenya are incredibly near to God, and God reciprocates through healing people, providing in the most desperate situations, and working through the churches in the area to spread the Gospel. This forced me to realize how little I “need” to rely on God for; back home, I have a roof over my head that will withstand a storm, I am blessed with an abundance of resources, and I do not have to worry about where to seek out medical attention in case of an emergency.
There is such beauty and joy in Kenya’s brokenness, though. I saw some of the biggest smiles, heard the most joyful worship, and listened to so many locals share about God’s providence in their life. They are broken but filled with hope, they are malnourished but still on their knees praying, they quite literally shout to God in worship, and they are stronger in community than I have ever seen. Even if we feel as though we do not “need” to call on God daily, our hearts, souls, and communities need to constantly seek our Father.
1 Chronicles 22:19 tells us, “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God,” and this is exactly what the people I met in Kenya are doing. To have a heart and soul devoted to seeking God means to put God at the center of your life. I constantly wonder, does everything I do point back to God? If not, why am I doing it? Who or what is it honoring?
Psalm 63:1 paints the most accurate picture of what I witnessed in Kenya: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”
The people in Kenya truly long for God amidst the challenging situations they are faced with. While I have not experienced half of the hurts of the people in Kenya, this does not mean that I cannot be seeking God just as fervently as they are each day.
Faith is more than a “set of rules,” or a “way of life.” In Kenya, I saw faith beautifully demonstrated as a constant hope and conversation with the Father. If my faith is such a huge part of who I am, why am I not letting it affect every area of my life? Why am I holding back when I could be growing with my Father? God is waiting for us to call on Him and seek Him with all of our heart, we just need to respond. During my days there, I learned I always need God no matter what my own self would like to believe, and I can never reach the “end” of my faith; there is always something new to learn about God, there is always something new to learn about myself, and there is always a reason to seek.