Finding my lost identity.

I went on a mission trip to Kenya back in April of this year. I went with an excited and expectant heart to minister to every woman, every girl, and every child that my eyes laid on. I had a heart full of love to pour out onto any soul who stumbled along my path.

I prepared, I fasted, and I prayed to see God move in remarkable ways in the lives of those who had little to cling to. I was ready.

What I did not prepare for was what it would be like to return home.

I went with a team of other women who are just remarkable at children’s ministry. Our hearts were aligned with one mission in sight. Together, we held a children’s ministry conference for over 100 girls with over 40 dedicating their lives to Christ admitting that Christ’s love is powerful enough to forgive them and lead them, we visited and loved on babies at an abandoned baby home, and we did ministry at an orphanage with girls and boys aging from 2 to 18.

We were living and breathing the mission field. I mean, we do every day no matter where we are, but we got to do the dirtier work of it all.

The thing is… I have been out of the country doing mission work before and came home, sad, but nothing like this.

Ever since I was a little girl, sitting at the Pilgrimage Conference, God spoke to me. He TOLD me that my life was not meant to be lived lavishly. That my feet will one day wander into something bigger than my body could handle. That my feet would land in Africa and a child residing there would become my own.

Sounds crazy to you. But for me my heart has clung to it wondering when it would happen. Praying, hoping, expecting – waiting.

When Pam, our conference girls director, invited me to go on this trip I was absolutely terrified. I had let fear of war, famine and disease infiltrate my mind that I almost said no.

But Pam didn’t know the desire of my heart and the promise that God made me. In my decision, I was more fearful that I wouldn’t allow his promise to become a reality.  Before I lost my courage I quickly told Pam……YES!

Christ was powerful. He worked in all those kids lives, but most importantly He worked in mine.

I was not prepared for the amount of emptiness I would feel once I got home. I felt AT home in Kenya. I could have stayed my whole life – right there. I wouldn’t miss a single thing that America called a “comfortable” lifestyle.

I don’t need a fancy car, I don’t need a large home, I don’t need a big paycheck, I don’t need designer clothes, or a protected life. i’m simply joyful with being alive.

I just wish I could have given more and stayed longer there.


It has taken me a long time to write this because I wasn’t sure of who I was when I got back. It was difficult for me to write something so sensitive. I felt so lost because all I wanted to do was get back on a plane to Africa.

When I got to my apartment, the night of my arrival to America, I went straight to my bed and cried myself to sleep.

I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to be there.

Today is much different than that first night back. During a prayer night at Elevation Raleigh my pastor called for a night of prayer rather than a teaching.  He had no idea how much I needed it.

God knew what I was struggling with, and behold, an older woman who had been in similar shoes prayed with me and helped me understand that I wasn’t alone in my loss and suffering.

I was finally able to breathe again, but I had to decide who I was, and what God’s plan was going to be for me that moment onward. What did HE want for me?

Ministry is at the heart of who I am and all that I am. I can’t breathe unless I am being a servant for Christ. I am no one unless Christ gives me his commands to do his work. The mission trip REMINDED me of my mission (both here and there – local and international).

I wasn’t giving enough while I was serving in America. And, I am desperate to serve more with every opportunity God gives me.

My heart is full and expectant – I have so much for me to pour out.

And God’s promise for me will prevail. He only gave me a taste with my visit. Kenya, currently, does not allow for international adoption, but one day one of those children at THAT orphanage (which will remain unnamed) will call me mommy <3.

Jennie Laureen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

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