When I was young, growing up in the church, missionaries living in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia would often come to my church, telling us amazing stories about remote villages they were living in and about people being introduced to the Gospel. For years, I saw this as what a missionary was, and for that reason I determined that “I am no missionary!” With that as my definition, it never even dawned on me that I could be a part of Global Missions. In fact, for most of my twenties I was the guy happy to write the check that enabled others to go, but was never really open to going myself. Then, in late 2009 a colleague and friend approached my wife and I about going to Kenya and Tanzania in the summer of 2010 with New Hope Initiative. She had been to multiple developing countries on similar trips and was very enthusiastic about missions. I took the information in and tried to get past the idea of giving up my vacation time and the thought of getting sick in country. I considered going, just this once, so that I could check the box and move on. That was my intention, even as I stepped on that plane for that first trip.
In retrospect, the process leading up to the trip, the trip itself, and surprisingly, the time of reflection after the trip, all worked together to change my marriage and my life. Since that first trip three years ago, we’ve been in a process of getting more and more involved with the works there, from leading a trip the next year, to sending trips, to raising money, to working with NHI’s leadership to set the direction for the organization. As cliché as it sounds, it all started with one step. Going on that first trip was my first step to “All In”.
This October I completed my third trip to New Hope Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the trip was to take my leadership experiences in Corporate America, University, and my local church to train and equip New Hope Leaders to have the right strategies and tactics to take on their current leadership challenges. The trip was an amazing experience, where I took the things I have learned over the years, built interactive training modules and delivered them just as if I were in the States. And from that experience, I already have several ideas of other things my wife and I can do to strengthen and support our partners in Africa.
Maybe you’re reading this having never gone on a trip, but always had interest in doing so. Or maybe you sponsor a Penda student and sometimes think you’d like to visit them. Or maybe you joined us on a trip and can’t help but occasionally think that maybe you should get more involved. There is so much good work going on through New Hope Initiative, but there’s always so much more that could be done. After all, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Usually the first step to getting involved is to go and see the works. I needed to do that in order to see how I could fit in. So I’d like to encourage you by saying that God has a plan and you can be part of it. He’s looking for people who are available and open. I’d encourage you today to take your next step toward “All In”.