Kenya Was Calling Me

Chris Loehmer Kincaid has learned that, when it comes to God’s purposes, to everything there is a season.

Every night at the dinner table, when I was growing up, I was moved as we watched the evening news unfold stories of sorrow and poverty at the other end of the world.

A commercial for the Peace Corps would invariably play. ‘The toughest job you’ll ever love’ was the job I wanted, to travel to a third world country and make a difference.

God had other plans, it seemed. I married, became a medical assistant, had two children and took out a mortgage. That trip to a third world country became an unobtainable dream.

Until God decided it was the right time.

I was in my mid-forties, when God called me to take a trip to Africa. I baulked at the idea. I thought I was too old, I wasn’t healthy enough, I didn’t have the money, I was too shy and insecure.

God Kept After Me

Before I knew it, I was on a plane to Kenya with a mission team of fourteen others, including my daughter, then sixteen.

When I returned home after two weeks, I hated to admit how disappointed I was: I hadn’t changed the world or made a difference.

But God knew better. He had it all figured out.

Four years later, when God called my daughter to return to Kenya for a six-month volunteer trip, I felt Him calling me to start writing about my first experience in Africa.

As I wrote my memoir, A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven, I realized I had made a difference. I had changed lives, for the time I was there, at least.

I decided that was enough.  That was what I was meant to do.

God Knew It Wasn’t Enough

He wasn’t finished with me. During the writing and publishing of my book, I could feel Kenya, drawing me back. When my daughter started plans for her third trip to Africa last year, no one had to twist my arm to make me book a plane ticket with her.

It seemed this second trip to Kenya was what God had been waiting for, all along. He’d had this planned for an entire decade.

His Ways are Truly Perfect  

While in Kenya last May, my daughter and I formed a non-profit organization to help the people we had met who were living in severe poverty: Tumaini Volunteers Inc. was born.

Our goal is to assist developing communities in Kenya by providing sustainable projects to help them become self-sufficient.

In January 2014, we applied for tax exempt status and hope to begin taking groups of volunteers to Africa to work on these projects soon.

My deepest wish is that these volunteers not only make the lives of others better, but that they see this as part of God’s plan for them as well.

Because, by changing the world, we are changing ourselves.

 Chris Loehmer Kincaid lives in Wisconsin with her husband, 4 cats and a dog. She has worked in the medical field for over 25 years. Her first book, A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven, was published in November, 2012. Her second, The Christmas Story in Forty Days, was released in 2013. She has a website and a blog.

10 thoughts on “Kenya Was Calling Me

  1. What a beautiful story Chris. I love how everything came together! Sometimes it takes longer than we think, but it always works out better than we planned!

    Thank you for being steadfast, for making change, and for creating opportunity <3

    1. Thanks for asking, Margaret. When I was in Kenya the first time, we worked with orphans, AIDS victims, widows and the kind people of the Maasai tribe. We held medical clinics, seminars teaching about disease prevention, and most importantly, spent our time just sharing our lives with these people. I struggled a lot feeling as if I wasn’t doing enough, but it turns out that the best thing we can do for those with so little is to just be there for them.

      When Tumaini Volunteers returns to Kenya, we plan to complete projects such as building a greenhouse, stocking a medical clinic or a library, or assisting groups in starting their own businesses. I think I forgot to mention that “Tumaini” means “hope” in Swahili, the language of Kenya.

      I hope that answers your question.

      1. Hi Chris, Thank you for contributing to the Wednesday Testimony Shares. Your work in Kenya is so enterprising. Thank you for describing it further here. If people were interested in volunteering, what should be their next step?

        1. Thanks for posting my story, Bobbie.

          I think that everyone of any age should volunteer in some way. If you aren’t called to serve in a third world country, there are many chances to do good in your own country. Check with your local church or school to see what might be available. Do an internet check, but really do your homework and make sure they are a reputable organization before you sign up with them.

          To learn more about our organization, check out our website, tumainivolunteers.org or email us at tumainivolunteers@gmail.com.

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