I am trying to be a bit more vulnerable in my blogs. I want you to know more about what life is really like in Kenya. Well, my life anyway.
I love my new role with Oasis for Orphans. It’s been an amazing opportunity for me to grow in both my strengths and weaknesses as well as to expand my ministry tremendously. The new relationships I’ve built with the kids, staff, and leadership is really something special.
But with every new journey in life comes sacrifice… and sacrifice is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. And it doesn’t always benefit the people we love and care about the most. Ask my parents or my brother or my sister.
Just as I left my family & friends for Kenya, I’m now leaving my boys for “work.” At least that’s how they see it.
I got a call Sunday night as I was working about 300 kilometers from home. I had been gone for a few days. One of my boys had left… as in, ran away. On my wardrobe he left a note that read:
“For my dad, (Thank you) Matt for everything that you have done for me and my family. I think it is time for me to live with my family. And God bless you so much. I love Dad. I will miss you so much Dad. Please don’t worry about me and please take care of the family. Tell (the other boys) I love them. My mom will be with me. Please I am going to leave for good. Maybe I will come to visit the boys. I LOVE DAD. I know you love me as your son. I love you as my dad. I will miss you every day.”
I was devastated.
I didn’t sleep and left before the sun rose to get back home. The drive was long but I could use the time to think. Why would he leave? I’d do anything for this kid. Does he not love or care about me? Was I being selfish? I feel selfish. But I think I have a right to feel selfish… this is my boy.
My thoughts were like punches I couldn’t get away from. They were exhausting.
Wait… God was trying to speak to me through the insanity.
Why are you here? Why did I send you? To rescue and restore. That’s the Father’s vision for these kids… even mine.
hen I got home he was there with his mom. I was a mess and asked if they could please come back later. I was glad he was okay but I had a decision made that I needed to come to terms with.
If your mom is ready to take you and you’re ready to go then I have to bless this and know that my work is done…
With every new journey comes sacrifice… and sacrifice is hard.
When I invited them back to the house I simply was in a place where I was reciting what I knew I had to say. It didn’t feel right… it didn’t feel good… but it was right, and it was good… so I did it.
There’s no perfect ending to this story. At the end of the day my boy, my son, was dealt a shit hand at life in a broken world and whatever road we turned down at this point he was being forced into making sacrifices he didn’t choose to make.
I guess you could say it worked out in my favor. His mom is not ready or able to bring him back. And for him, it wasn’t really what he wanted either.
It turns out it isn’t who he needed… me or his mom. It’s what he needed. Love. Attention. Time. With my life suddenly becoming more busy I had neglected him. Whether intentional or not – he lost some prioritization. All of a sudden it was just a reminder of everyone else who had come along then left him… so he did what he and many other children in his position have learned to do, run.
For me… I must become intentional. I have to put my phone down when I’m home. When he and the other boys walk in that door – work is over.
For him… this is what I told him. You are special. We have something that is unique and it’ll never ever ever change. I am here because of you… You’re irreplaceable. You’ll never understand how much I love you. That being said… there are 2.4 million other kids out there who need us. They’re a lot like you used to be. I need you to make a sacrifice for them. I need you to show them that they too can be loved and are worth being loved. I need you to show them hope.
In a perfect world these kids… all of these kids who I get to love, educate, empower, and restore will be reunited with their biological families. I hope that’s the case… even for my boys.
Until that day comes its my job, along with all followers of Christ, to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
“The church absolutely MUST be the leading way in orphan care. It’s not negotiable; it flows from the reality of the gospel.” – David Platt
If you’d like to be a part of rescuing and developing orphaned children, click here.
Learn more about Oasis for Orphans by clicking here.