Tom on a Mission

April 19th, 2014 by Brain Bytes Creative

I traveled with SERV International in October of 2013 for my first ever mission trip. But four months earlier I didn’t know if I would go, much less even come up with the money to make the trip. But thanks to the amazing generosity of friends and people I didn’t even know, I raised a couple of hundred dollars more than I actually needed. All because people gave.

We all have a need to give. As a matter of fact “a survey at forty-four major Universities revealed that giving protects your overall health twice as much as an aspirin protects your heart against disease. Dr. Stephen Post who conducted the survey says “Giving is the most potent force on the planet and will protect your whole life.” The benefits of compassion to your physical health are so strong that if compassion wasn’t free, pharmaceutical companies would herald the discovery of a stupendous new drug called ‘give back’ instead of Prozac.’”*

When I arrived in Kenya after 17 hours in the air I realized so much more than I anticipated. Tears flowed down my face countless times. From the moment I sat down on the plane in Atlanta to the return home, God revealed himself at every turn. The 108 degree temps during the day and 85 at night didn’t seem to matter. Yes it was a little uncomfortable but seeing the people in Lodwar and all throughout Kenya with smiles on their faces I knew that God was present in their lives. But what I realized even more than before is just how blessed I am. I am truly grateful for every moment of my existence here on earth. My trip to Kenya showed me grace and even more compassion for people who have so little yet have so much. I saw people walking 2-5 miles a day each way for water and not complaining about it. (And now at home I turn the water off constantly…washing dishes, brushing my teeth and remind friends to do the same.) I saw people brushing their teeth with hand carved sticks yet their teeth are so white and beautiful. I saw children with eyes that told a story of depth and understanding well beyond their years.

I’ll always remember our first full day in Lodwar driving through the blazing hot sands of the Sahara on our way to a village 10 miles away from any civilization. When I got out of the Land Cruiser I heard music and singing. I thought “wow, someone has a radio on.” But through the curtain of a thatched hut built with hand cut and carved log beams were glorious faces of villagers all dressed in magnificent beads of every color and fabrics that sang of their heritage and culture. Their voices all in unison and radiated a light like I’ve never seen. Tears of joy flowed down my face as I witnessed their joy celebrating our arrival.

Our journey to the SERV International “House of Hope” orphanage with 40+ children reminded me once again of purity of spirit and a never ending need to be loved.

So love and gratitude do reign supreme. Thank You for giving. Thank You for sending me on this journey. Thank You to SERV International for putting Life change into action. I am healthier because of it! Please enjoy more of my pictures on my website,

– Tom Sullivan

*From “The Word for You Today” daily devotional. May 25, 2014.

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