Have you ever felt like you were exactly where you were supposed to be? It doesn’t happen often, but I surely felt it this weekend.
If you follow us over at our Facebook page, you would have seen me post a link over to Kristen Welch’s blog We Are That Family this week. For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you know I love Compassion and Mercy House Kenya, a ministry that Kristen started after her first Compassion blogging trip.
Well, my friend Jenny saw my post and tells me that Maureen, the co-founder of Mercy House, was scheduled to be in my town speaking in just a few days. I could not believe it.
My sister joined me and Jenny Saturday to hear Maureen tell her story and the story of Mercy House. I have heard the story of Mercy House many times, as I’ve followed Kristen through the years, but I had never heard all of Maureen’s.
Maureen was rescued by Compassion from the slums of Kenya. Her house was made of mud. She couldn’t sleep on rainy nights because of the muddy floor. She sometimes wouldn’t eat for 3, 4, 5 days. They had no sanitation. Many girls were forced into prostitution—by their mothers.
Compassion breaks in at age 7 and begins to help her family with food, rent money, school fees and of course shares Christ. She gets her family out of the slums, goes to University and is in the Compassion leadership program. Eventually, her story collides with Kristen when Kristen takes a Compassion blogging trip to Kenya and Maureen serves as their tour guide.
It’s just an amazing story of God’s redemption.
We sat listening for over an hour and it felt like we were the only room in the world. I could have listened to her all day telling stories of the women in the Mercy House and the ways God had moved.
I took away a few points from her talk and thought I might share them.
Be a Vessel of Honor
We were pretty much wrecked from Maureen’s opening prayer.
There have been few moments in my life where the Holy Spirit has moved so quickly and powerfully in just a few sentences of a prayer. You could hear her reverence for God and her faith. It truly brings me to tears just thinking of it.
She prayed one sentence that is still sticking with me. In her Kenyan accent she prayed, “Oh God, make me a vessel of honor.” A vessel of honor. I don’t know if that hits you like hit us in the room, but that prayer will always be with me.
Your Past Doesn’t Define You
As she spoke about her past, she shared something someone told her and it is, “Poverty shapes you but it doesn’t define you.” We all have things in our past that could define us. We easily label ourselves as broken, cheaters, liars, poor, etc, but our past does not define us. It simply shapes us. Of course Maureen is impacted by the slums of Kenya, but I can tell you first hand she is not defined by the slums of Kenya. She is free, grateful and joyful.
Find God In Your Dreams
I know this is an odd one to include. We know God spoke so many times in the Bible through dreams. I’ve personally had at least two dreams I’m convinced was God speaking to me. But there was something about hearing Maureen speak about how God had spoken to her through dreams that confirmed it for me.
Say Yes First
As she was sharing her story, she knew that God was calling her to ministry before Mercy House was even a thought in anyone’s mind. She didn’t know what God was calling her to but she said she told God “yes” before she knew what it was.
So many of us get this backwards, including me. We want the plan, the name, the vision, the dream—all of it—before we weigh the risks and decide to say yes.
I think we need to say yes and THEN God will show up.
Be The One
If you ask Maureen, she traces back her rescue to one person that chose to sponsor her through Compassion. One. It only takes one person stepping out and making a difference in someone’s life and you can impact an untold number of others. Be that one.
If you need an idea, support a child through Compassion.
When the speaking was over, I was able to talk with Maureen. She immediately recognized my necklace as a Mercy House Shop necklace and wanted a picture to take back to show the girls someone wearing it.
Even in that, I was reminded that this is the real deal. It’s not the latest Internet fad to support. There are real girls with real babies that are really being rescued. And they need our support.
If you can support Mercy House, please do so. You can become a monthly supporter for just $3 a month or support them through their shop. 100% of the funds go to the girls making the products.
Maureen prayed Saturday to be a vessel of honor and her prayers were surely answered. Thank you, Maureen.