Friends

“It’s apparent that the future is completely dependent upon the quality of the people you call friends.” A quote from a young woman with wisdom far beyond her years. Let me tell you about Emily…

I was introduced to Emily through my friend Chao. Chao was a student here in the U.S. but returned to her home in Nairobi, Kenya after receiving her education. She and her family run a marriage and family ministry which is shaping the future of their country through making marriages strong and families even stronger. Chao learned about SaveOne while she was here in the states and contacted me. We discussed how we could get this Bible study into the hands of the men and women of Kenya who are suffering after abortion.

As the discussions continued, she had an unlikely volunteer…her sister Emily. Emily understood the need for such a ministry in her country, so she volunteered to translate the English women’s SaveOne study, to the language of Swahili. If you know anything about translating text, you know this is not a simple job, even for the most able. But Emily worked on this study for months and accomplished the task. I was so incredibly excited because at the time SaveOne had only been translated in to Romanian, Slovene, and now Swahili.

Chao took that translation, had it bound, and has used it to further the gospel in Kenya. Actually, we’ve had a hard time with really getting going there and keeping a facilitator for the course. But after my last Skype session with Chao, I feel God’s timing is NOW and SaveOne is about to open wide in that region. (If God is leading you to donate about $4000 to SaveOne to send us over there to teach a training, that would be the bomb!)

But back to the subject. Not long after Emily translated the book, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya on a missions trip. I had emailed with Emily a couple of times thanking her for her service, but now was thrilled at the thought of getting to actually meet her! I had heard through my friend Chao that her health was not the greatest due to a debilitating illness called Lupus. I had no idea to what degree Lupus had tormented her.

The day arrived and our team was at “The Java House”. If you have ever been to Nairobi you probably know this place. Great french fries, and even greater coffee. My husband and I were waiting with anticipation for Chao to arrive with Emily and finally the car pulled in the parking lot. Chao said I would have to come to the car because Emily couldn’t get out. I walked to the car and saw through the open back door, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. The radiance of Jesus was saturating through her smile. Her small frame was in the backseat under a blanket. Without going into too much detail about the condition of her body, I want you to know, to me she was suddenly perfect because all I saw  was a beautiful child of God. You see, she was not trapped by her circumstances, but rather declared victory over her life every day; volunteering for nearly impossible assignments, and never being defeated.

As I sat on my knees in the doorway of the car I started trying to tell her how thankful I was for all the work she did on the translation. She listened to me and then told me she had a gift for me. FOR ME! Those of you who know me, know how easily I cry over stuff like this. Well when she wanted to give ME a gift it was almost more than I could take. She had laying on her lap a beautiful piece of red cloth and she asked me to lay it out so I could see what it said. There in white letters were the words, “KIDOGO CHANGU POKEA NA DUA NJEMA NAKUOMBEA” She told me those words in her language meant, “What little I have I give to you.” Not only was I a puddle in the parking lot by this time, but I knew this was a woman I wanted to keep as a lifelong friend.

That cloth is now stretched across a board and hangs in my office. photo

I’m not sure if Emily can even hold a pen in her hand or type on a computer, but she has just written her second book. The first entitled, “Outside the Window” I read a couple of years ago and was profoundly moved by it. I now have the awesome privilege of reading through her second book, not yet published, and offering my feedback. This book is entitled, “Love Songs” and is simply her journal entries over the years. I’m getting to read quotes like the one above, and learning so much from her. Here is another that stood out to me…

“He created me because He wanted my beauty to be evident in the way I live and breathe. It is not the desire for my outward beauty but more the desire to be captivating in the depths of who I am.”

There are so many more, but I realize this blog post is getting very long! I don’t have enough words to tell you how special this woman is to me and how her life sings! She is truly captivating.

Proverbs 13:20 tells us to “Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.” I feel much wiser for keeping company with Emily. Let’s all strive to not let our circumstances keep us from whatever task is at hand, but rather declare victory over every aspect of our lives, just as Emily has and continues to do.

So there’s my friend Emily. I think I will have her write a guest post on my blog very soon so you can get to know her better. The world needs to read her words and experience her beauty.

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