Written by Megan Burns. Media by Taylor Harpster.
In 2012, a good friend of mine, at the age of fifteen, traveled with a group to Kenya, Africa. After growing up in a very strict church, this was not an easy thing to do. Much of her family was unsupportive of her decision, but regardless, she went to Africa for a week and fell in love with the people there. When she came back, it was apparent that she left a piece of her heart there. She told me stories and showed pictures, and her face lit up just doing so.
Two years later, at the age of seventeen, the opportunity to go back came up. She begged me to go with her. After turning her down, she still jumped at the opportunity and returned to Kenya. Both times, she worked with a Christian-based home for street children and orphans. After her second return, it was even more obvious that she left part of her with those sweet children. Her family, still not completely on board, made it very difficult for her to be home. She struggled to be content in the States, feeling like she could not quite relate to anyone. Many times, she brought up different people she met, and I struggled to follow her stories. At this point, we were finishing high school, and looking forward to college. By the grace of God, she found a beautiful little college, whose focus was on missions. Being states away, it was hard to see her go, but I also see that it was the right decision for her. Now, two years into her schooling, she is surrounded by others who love her, support her mission calling, and understand what she is going through.
In September of 2017, she packed her life into a suitcase, hopped on a plane, and flew again to Kenya, Africa. For the third time, she prayed for funding, prepared her heart, and said goodbye to friends and family. This time instead of spending one week, she gets to spend sixteen months in a place that fills her heart. She gets to pour into others and share the love of the Lord. She will continue to serve in Africa until December of 2018 when she will come home to finish her last semester of school. After that, the Lord will lead her, hopefully back to the place her heart belongs, to share about Him.
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There is such great power in following what the Lord has in store. He promises to guide us if we just listen. My friend is such a great example of how giving your life to Him and following His lead will result in being so very blessed. Matthew 28:19-20, often referred to as The Great Commission, says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” She was fifteen when she started out in her mission field, which is an encouragement to all of us that there are no age limitations to being a missionary. God does wonderful things with those who follow His will, so get out there and find your calling!