Good morning from rainy Kenya! It’s Thursday today, our departure day from Kwale. Our time here has been amazing and God has blessed us immensely.
We have been talking a lot about expectations. What were our expectations of missions in Africa? What was the expectation of what we would be doing? What would my expectation be of the time in Kwale? To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations of Kwale. The words that people used to describe this place were so unfamiliar to me. Witchcraft. Coastal town. Muslim. No electricity. Unreached. Living in a major metropolitan city like Chicago, expecting or picturing a place like this was hard for me. So I came with little expectations of our three days here.
One thing I could not have expected was my task on Monday. We visited the Dima Primary School and our mission was to wash the feet of all children with jiggers, apply a treatment, and give them new TOMS shoes (so for those who wear TOMS, please know they do actually send a pair to a child in Africa!). Jiggers are a type of parasite and burrow in to exposed skin and remain there for a few weeks while developing eggs. During that time, the area swells dramatically; causing intense irritation and growing very large. If not treated, the jiggers can cause an infection that will cause the toe to fall off completely. As of Monday morning, I didn’t even know what jiggers were. As of Monday evening, my team of five had washed over 75 feet, worked for at least six hours straight, and handed out shoes to the entire school.
With the first little foot I saw come to my station, a huge rush of emotion came over me and I had to fight very hard to hold back tears. This experience was humbling in a way I have never experienced. My thoughts immediately rushed to Jesus and his time washing his disciples feet. Not only did he wash all of his disciples’ feet, but he also washed the feet of the man who would betray him. One of his disciples, Simon Peter was so confused as to why Jesus was washing his feet, but Jesus replied, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash the one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Jesus paved the way for our team to be able to do this difficult task. Without Christ’s example in my life, I’m not sure how I would not have been able to complete the task. I started praying for each child while washing which distracted me from the feet and shifted my focus to God. I reminded myself that God created each of those ten little toes perfectly in His image. And He loves them immensely. Even with the language barrier, I hope that the children felt His love through our action, smiles, and occasional tickling of their feet! I truly thank God for blowing my expectations out of the water with this opportunity. He brought me to a place of extreme discomfort until I had no choice but to completely surrender to Him. But He met me there, and will continue to meet our team throughout the last few days of our trip.