Accept my Joy and my Sorrow

I’m torn.  I don’t know what to write you.

I want to tell you all about life in Kenya . . . about the day we made chapati for 130 people at the Kipkaren Children’s Home . . .

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Or the day all 42 secondary students from the home and a few of the house fathers climbed a mountain to see the most breath taking view of Kenya . . .

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Or the sweetness of sharing uji, one of my favorite treats in Kenya . . .

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But then I fear the picture I’m painting is not real. That life in poverty still looks joyful and hopeful and manageable.

Sometimes it is.

Sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes life in poverty is overwhelmingly heartbreaking and full of lies.

Have you ever had someone lie to you?  And you try to let them know that you’ve confirmed their lies but it doesn’t help. They are too scared to tell you the truth wrongly assuming their mistakes are somehow worse than yours.

And this person, the one whom you suspect is lying to you, is a beautiful 17 year-old girl and you adore her.  And after spending four full days with her you are reminded about her smile, her joy, her strength, her potential.  You are also humbly reminded about the lies you told at 17 and some of the horrible decisions you made.  You are reminded that God’s grace has been extended to you over and over and over again.

And you have vivid memories from two years ago when you first met this beautiful 17 year-old girl in the slums.  You remember her cries and how she begged for you to give her a chance to go back to school.  You remember the palpable joy when you told her she had a sponsorship.  You remember all the hopes and dreams you had for her life.

You believed education was her ticket out of poverty.

Sometimes it’s that simple.

Other times it’s not.

Other times your golden ticket is right in front of you and even though you see the gold, you taste it and you want it, you are used to dirt.

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You are used to poverty and hunger and abuse and lies and so are all the people around you.  And the gold . . . you love it and you yearn for it . . . but deep down you don’t think you are worthy of it.

Life in poverty is full of lies.

Kampi Mawe Turbo

My beautiful 17 year old friend is fighting the lies she has learned living in an alcoholic-ridden, impoverished slum environment where robbery, abuse, and seduction of children is everyday news.  But God has miraculously spared her life and I believe her desire to return to seventh grade after a year hiatus speaks to the light, hope, and faith that still live within her.

Please, friends,

accept my joy

and

my sorrow.

And pray . . . pray for the light, hope, and faith to overpower the lies.

With love and gratitude,

Colleen

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Comments

  1. Joy and sorrow as in life but magnified! You have been there for her in every way possible as have others. Her story continues to be written. I pray for her everyday. Oh, and for you. 🙂 Much love!!

  2. Joy and sorrow as in life but magnified! You have been there for her in every way possible as have others. Her story continues to be written. I pray for her everyday. Oh, and for you. 🙂 Much love!!

  3. Kathy frost banks says

    Colleen, you are a powerful spokesperson and advocate, and a realist who refuses to give up. God bless you. Love, “frost”

  4. As always, thanks for sharing Colleen. Every time I read your blog posts it re-ignites my desire to go back to Kipkaren. The picture of the high schoolers made me exceptionally happy. They’ve grown so much, and I miss them so. =)

  5. Kaitlin says

    Just reading this again and wow Colleen, you are so gifted at writing and your message is always so beautiful and powerful and real. Love you sister!

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