I wanted to share with you a message from our AFM missionary Stephanie Bys who is in rural Bungoma, Kenya. I believe it is a good word for us all.
“Missions can be hard, discouraging, needy, exhausting, unpredictable, frustrating and a whole host of other emotions. I think it can be easy to show some struggles and victories, but I also sometimes find it hard to share the things we do right. For me that comes from a place of not wanting to brag, but also I’m too often focused on things we need to change, things we need to improve and ALL the (million) things that need to be done. While I completely LOVE my life, I often don’t take time to just enjoy it. I get bogged down by the daily needs, wants and the constant go, go, go.
“While I’m definitely not bragging or saying we now have it all figured out, I do want to share an area with y’all that we are consistently seeing improvement. Over the last year or so we have really focused on our employees loving kids. Probably to most people it is a no brainier that to work with kids you have to love them, but different cultures do things different ways and sometimes a job, is just a job. Sometimes you need to provide for your family and so any job will do even if kids aren’t your thing. More and more I’m seeing loving, gentle, and patient interaction from our staff. I can clearly see that we have moved out of a state of toleration and more and more into love and care. We’ve moved out of “the boss is watching so let me smile” and into enjoying being with our children. I’m not saying we have had a harsh staff, I’m saying I see a natural loving gentleness that hasn’t always been there.
“Today when I saw Zekie out planting with Fred and several older boys I could have focused on all the needs. I could have focused on how we aren’t where we want to be, but I took a moment to watch, smile and enjoy. I got to watch Fred (and the boys) let Zekie help them plant. Fred could have just done it and done it way faster, but he sat there and allowed Zekie to be part of what they were doing. Today I saw progress. Today I was forced to enjoy. Today I focused on the good change instead of what still needs to be done. Today I started counting the ways I’ve noticed our staff enjoying being with our kids lately and it did my heart good.
“I feel like I’m headed into a season where I need to acknowledge the positive changes big and small while still trying to tic things off the never ending “to do” list. It is almost like I feel like we’ve come far enough to stop all the stressing (focusing on the negatives all the time) and enjoy some. Again, not that we have it all figured out, we don’t, but God has this and He didn’t bring me here and expect me to just work a list and try and perfect everything. While it is easy for me to enjoy my kids it is also easy for me to get wrapped up in the needs and not enjoy my daily life which is crazy beautiful! So I’m going to purpose to enjoy the beautiful life God has given me. 💜”
Stephanie Bys, AFM missionary in Kenya.
Learn more about Jeff and Stephanie at https://afm.ngo/
Also, be watching for the soon to be released book, “One Man’s Walk With God: preparing for trials and fears“. Jeff wrote the forward for this book and all proceeds will benefit the mission work in remote Kenya.