It’s Not About Me.

May 13th, 2014 by Brain Bytes Creative

The first time I heard Steve Kasha speak about Kenya I knew I wanted to be there. But I was still in high school at the time, so it ended up being two years of waiting before I was finally on that plane to Africa. Now looking back to my trip two years ago, I realize how much of a pivotal point it was in my life.

I was home for Christmas my freshman year of college when Steve found me and said he was taking a youth trip to Kenya that summer. I was immediately all in. This is the trip I had been waiting for. Little did I know, it would be one of the hardest journeys of my life. I spent six months fundraising, traveling back and forth from college to make meetings and speak at churches. I was balancing a growing passion for missions, a lack of excitement for school, and friends who did not really understand. That June school was out, the funds were in, and the bags were packed, I was ready to FINALLY be in Africa.

But, as it turned out the Lord had a little bit of a different plan for our trip. Our flights got delayed, we spent two days in the Chicago airport, were re-routed to London for a day then to Kenya, about three days behind schedule. I was furious.

I just wanted to be in Africa, why would God put me through so much difficult preparation then delay my trip? When we made it to Nairobi, we were driving through the city and it was nothing like I was expecting, once again, I felt let down by God. We had just started out trip and I was already discounting the whole thing.

The next day we went to the Kibera Slums to deliver school supplies to a local school there. We stopped on the way to picked up loaves of bread and juice to give the kids because it could be the only thing they get to eat that day. I walked through one of the largest slums in Africa, still angry at God, when we get to the school and start handing out the bread to a group of children.

My heart broke because we were just giving them slices of white bread but they were reacting as if it was the best gift they had ever received. And my frustration shifted from God, back to myself, because I realized none of this is about me, and yet the only thing I had been focused on was me.

This day, this trip, this life, is NOT ABOUT ME.

This was only the start of our time in Kenya, and I can tell you it did not get any easier. We ran into troubles at almost every turn. But I can tell you that when I released the control and just took heart that The Lord has already overcome the troubles of this world (John 16:33), it did not matter what trials we went through. God was and is still faithful, he will always be sovereign and we have the promises of scripture to hold on to.

I mentioned earlier that this trip was a pivotal point in my life and here is why. I left Africa with a new view on not only my life, but the world in general. I saw how incredibly small I truly am, even though I had only ever seen myself and my ‘needs’. I experienced a whole new culture of people and fell in love with a home that is not my own.

I heard a call on my life to keep experiencing this world and leaving the love of Jesus everywhere I went. People are searching everywhere for something that will satisfy and make them feel loved. I know what that is, it is Jesus.

So, once I returned home I knew I had to go again, but not for just two weeks and not necessarily to Kenya. I wanted to experience life without control, loving people, and their worlds. I decided I was going to take a year off of college, leaving a life I was only living because society told me I had to, and run after the call on my heart for missions. I signed up for the World Race and left the next summer to travel to 11 countries in 11 months, in hopes of loving people the way Jesus did. That is where I spent the past year. Traveling the world, spreading His love, encouraging missionaries, building community, and continually realizing how it is not about me.

SERV International played and continues to play a huge role in my life. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of north Georgia, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic. They love well and want to see people experience the love and life of Jesus.

What is the God given passion you need to run after and what do you need to let go of to get there?

Shelby Thayer

One Response to “It’s Not About Me.”

September 01, 2014 at 2:52 pm, Roy Prather said:

It is awesome to see a young person who have such a passion to serve God. Shelby you are are a great example of what God can do when we turn our life over to him. Continue to run the race that God have put before you and be blessed in all that you do.


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