BC Juniors Global

Join Barclay College students as they learn about Christian life, service, and leadership in the global classroom.


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The Word as a Gift

Last Christmas, I received a gift that was almost against my entire Quaker testimony of simplicity: a $75 chronological study Bible in the New King James Version – complete with full color pages and golden edges. That Bible has helped me in my preaching more than any other book. I never realized how blessed I was to have something like that until today.

Our housekeeper and cook is a Sunday school teacher who has not had the easiest life, but her testimony and faith is extremely evident. We were at lunch today and I brought out a Bible that had dual languages: Swahili and English. She looked at that Bible and said that she  was going to save up for something like that.

The Bible itself was $16 American dollars, which is a lot for someone in her position. I suddenly felt compassion that I’m convinced was from God and I went up to my team member, Faith, and we both decided to split the cost of buying her a new Bible. Here’s the crazier part: I had exactly eight American dollars left in my wallet. I don’t travel with much cash because I am paranoid it will be stolen. As it turns out, that money in that wallet was specifically for our housekeeper who needed a Bible for her ministry. What was later revealed after she got her gift was that she felt God was calling her into some type of ministry and she was waiting for some type of sign that she was being pushed in this direction. We had no clue that she was going through this with God. It ultimately added to the crazy synchronicity that God loves to work with.

I disagree with the theology that says that God doesn’t care about our happiness. He does care. It doesn’t mean that our feelings have the final say in what He does with our lives. He knows more than we could ever know and I imagine it breaks His heart when He has to do something that will hurt us in any way. Ultimately though, it is to help us get closer to Him. Occasionally though, God will shower us with a big physical blessing that we didn’t expect. That Bible was our housekeeper’s blessing and I feel incredibly joyful to have been a part of that. The look of happiness on her face gave me a great glimpse into what it will be like when I cross over to the other side after I’ve passed on.

To echo Jesus’s own words: “Be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven.”

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Slivers of Grace

I’m a few days into my trip and I’ve already encountered some pretty life altering events. 30 hours of travel was well worth the journey and it has given me a lot to think about.

Today, I blessed a mud hut that was built a year ago. The widows were happy and smiling at the sight of us. I even danced a little bit with them. Their smiles and prayers made me laugh and smile with them. I thought things were definitely looking up.

Later on, I went to the marketplace nearby and I witnessed firsthand a lot of poverty. There was a woman who kept following us around begging for money. She had no shoes and no apparent means of getting income elsewhere. After meeting that woman, I talked to one of our guides, Mama Karen, and she said what we were doing was just a drop in a bucket. The needs of the poor and the hungry were not being dealt with for the most part by the Kenyan Church. I ended up becoming a little angry at God. I wondered if what I was doing in Kenya was truly worth the effort.

The Lord then reminded me of two seemingly unconnected books that I love: The Road by Cormac McCarthy and the book of Ruth. The Road is about a father and his son wandering through a dystopian America after it has been wiped out by an undescribed disaster. They live day to day on little scraps of food and barely any energy. They are dying from malnutrition. The book asks questions about humanity, about God, and about whether or not God is guiding our steps or if it is just random bursts of luck when good things happen. The conclusion of the novel doesn’t offer answers to the questions it presents and it leaves the ending thoughts up to the reader.

The book of Ruth is interesting because it discusses the ordeals of the marginalized in the middle of chaos. Ruth takes place in the middle of the book of Judges with the warfare and the extreme situations. It discusses God’s work in the margins that often go unnoticed. I call these types of moments “slivers of grace.”

I have seen slivers of grace in Kenya, but that does not necessarily change the political or social climate to allow widows and the poor to find some way out of their situations. If you were to ask me if God is in Kenya, I would answer with a resounding, “Yes – but probably not in the way you think He is.” God is walking with the widows and orphans here and changing their lives. We often assume that national change and revival happens with a grand spectacle – but it mostly happens on smaller levels at first, with people. It is in those slivers of grace that we witness in the lives of the marginalized that truly pushes the winds of change.