By Casey Milleson
This past summer, I traveled to Kenya and had the best month of my life. I loved everyone I saw. I didnt worry about anyones past, but simply loved them for being who God created them to be.
I was the most tired Ive ever been, but I had an overwhelming amount of energy and desire to make the most out of every opportunity. I didnt use words to preach the Gospel. I spoke the language of love through my actions.
I went into the markets and learned about peoples lives, and we dove head first into the common misconceptions between America and Africa.
I didnt disassociate myself from non-Christians, but loved them because of our similarities. Several years ago, I was at the same point theyre at in their lives. As I look back at my journal from Africa, I notice a powerful statement that I wrote after I had been home for 24 hours:
My life was simple for an entire month. It was me and Jesus walking through the streets of Karatina and Nairobi.
Now that Im in America, I see people engrossed in themselves and I dont want to return to being the person I was when I left. I want to be welcoming and loving like a Kenyan. Please give me a heart like yours, Jesus.
Here I am, back to the person I didnt want to be. Ive allowed myself to return to the American culture, becoming too busy to notice the subtle things that God is doing in my life. Ive become judgmental again, Ive allowed my love for orphans and homeless people to be dimmed. I pass by homeless people on the street and wonder what put them there, but I dont want to stop and talk to them to find out their life story. Ive become a person that I dont like.
Why? The only thing that can explain why I have let all of these things go to the back of my mind is that I am sinful in nature. I am not good. I always want to do the wrong thing, but I have to fight to do whats right. I agree–its not a good excuse. Thats why Im bringing it to my own attention. I need to purposefully become who God wants me to be–an individual who doesnt judge people, but loves them no matter what. Thats what Jesus did and thats what I want to do.
Also, I need to listen for Gods voice rather than becoming so busy that I cant hear him. I need to be intentional about it. I cant just hope for time to come along-because it wont. I have to carve out a particular amount of time to spend with Jesus-the lover of my soul. Its ridiculous that I have allowed things that are fleeting to gain my attention rather than allowing the lover of my soul to capture every piece of me.
God whispers. The Creator of the Universe who is larger than life, whispers. He doesnt usually yell to get our attention. He waits until we are still enough to hear his small voice.
With that said, I challenge you. Think of a time when you were closest to being like Jesus. Remember the great feeling you had when you helped others. Now-act on it. Dont allow it be a memory-make it a lifestyle. People everywhere can use your help. Go. Feed homeless people, play with orphans, pray for a neighbor, bake a cake for a new momthe possibilities are endless.
Do something that Jesus would have done.
Casey is a sophomore at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has a passion for the outcasts of the world and hopes to visit every country of Africa as well as every continent in the world. This past summer she traveled to Kenya with a group of college students through BigStuf’s Journey Internship. There she visited markets, the Pan-African Girls School, played with street kids and worked with students at the University of Nairobi.