Exciting News to Share

“Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you” (Isaiah 55:5).

Marion and Phaisa are the babies of New Promise Home, and they love to be with Aunty Audra

I moved to Kenya two months ago, and from day one I just knew this is where I’m supposed to be. In fact, my desire for Kenya woke me up most mornings I was living in Uganda. It was a crazy experience to be so plugged into life and ministry, forging new friendships, and having the time of my life while carrying around a burning desire for somewhere else.

There’s not enough time to tell you all the ways Father spoke to me about this new direction. In the span of six months, I’ve received so many prophetic words and signs of God’s faithfulness and just an overdose of the peace, love, and happiness that is found in being right where Father’s called you. And what’s even more incredible is that I know this is only the beginning!

The excitement in my heart for this new season and all of the wonderful ministry opportunities unfolding before me can only be described as “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

Heaven invades earth when you and I walk in our divine destinies. Eternal life and all of the incredible benefits of salvation are for today, right now, and not just for the life to come.

I was recently informed by another missionary that “this is not deepest, darkest Africa anymore.” It was meant to be a warning to me in regards to not seeing people as backwards and needing a white person to be their savior. I looked at this man with such a confused expression on my face. I didn’t come to Africa to be anyone’s savior. Last time I checked, that’s Jesus’ job description.

However, there is still room for the kingdom of God to grow in Kenya. There is still a need for sound, biblical teaching accompanied by the power of God seen in signs, miracles, and wonders.

Kenya is a developing nation, but it’s the fastest growing nation in East Africa. I’m writing you on an iPad from a home with running water (including hot water) and electricity. My hosts own a television. Everyone owns cell phones, and many people have smartphones. And yet, witch doctors are still a major influence on communities. There are areas of Kenya where I was told to never, ever eat or drink anything because there’s a possibility someone will try to poison me. Each day I see poverty and impoverishment that shatters my heart. A widow who barely speaks English called me on the phone asking for money because there was no food and she was hungry. Most orphans are poverty orphans. Mob justice is still prevalent. Tribalism influences every level of society.

So while I must agree this is not deepest, darkest Africa, there is work to be done. And I know that I have a part to play in the expansion of the kingdom in Kenya.

My friends, Pastors Benjamin and Kara Diaz, invited me to serve with their ministry, New Promise Homes, which is a children’s home for orphans. Currently, we have sixteen children in our care, with plans to build at least two more houses in the next year. My role is to help the Kenyan directors, Pastors David and Selina Walukhu, oversee the ministry and its expansion.

These boys and girls have come from hopeless situations, yet their hearts are so innocent and hopeful. The way these kids respond to God’s love for them, how thankful they are for the opportunity to live in a nice home, to receive an education, to have food and clothes blows my mind. The capacity of a child to adapt and overcome, to thrive, is truly why Father God calls us to have a childlike faith. It’s the ability to see beyond the current circumstance and trust that God’s future for you is better and brighter than your wildest dreams. This is why New Promise Homes exist.

On top of working with New Promise Homes, I also have the opportunity to help with church planting with Nehemiah Ministries, a local church network. Right now, I’m on the church planting team for Kipkaren, Kenya. Our small fellowship meets on Wednesdays, and we will be meeting in a building by the end of the year. The team is planning evangelism outreaches, and we are actively raising funds to buy chairs, sound equipment, and to pay rent for a building.

In the days and weeks to come, I will be sharing more about the ministries where I’m serving. This post, however, is to officially announce that I will be staying in Kenya as a full-time missionary. I know Kenya is where I need to be serving. Maybe this isn’t a surprise to you, but I wanted to wait and see before I went public. In other times of my life, I’ve come forward too soon and found myself getting ahead of God. If everything goes according to plan, you probably won’t be seeing me stateside until some time next year.

To those who’ve supported my trip so far, thank you so much! I’m here because you believed in me and the calling God gave me. Your financial support and prayers mean so much to me, and I am more thankful than can be adequately expressed in this post.

In light of my decision to stay long term, I am asking for your continual support of my ministry. My monthly expenses are about $850. This amount will cover my stateside expenses as well as my in-country living expenses. Whether you choose to give monthly, quarterly, or simply as you feel led through the year, I want to thank you in advance.

My giving information is:

PayPal: @agkenn
Venmo: @agkenn

Checks can be mailed to:

1711 Greenbriar Drive
Fultondale, AL 35068

If you have any questions, feel free to private message me on Facebook or Instagram. Or you can leave a reply below this post. You can also email me at: audragkennedy@gmail.com

Much Love,
Audra Kennedy

On my silence

I’ve taken somewhat of a sabbatical from blogging the last six months or so. (With the exception of posts for Rhema every now and then because I’m the student blogger.)

Writing everyday was supposed to help me find my voice. And it did a great job of developing my follow through muscles, which were disgracefully atrophied at the time. 

I am truly grateful for that sweet season. It was necessary and life-giving and a ton of fun. 

 At almost 27, though, it seems that the journey to find my voice, my path, has me in the thickest patch of woods right now. All scratched up, running into branches and scary spiderwebs (the kind you don’t see until it’s too late). 

And whenever I write, I have this habit of spinning things to show only the rosy side of life. I discovered in one of my classes this year on personality types that  this trait is quite common amongst folks with my personality type. 

It serves me well 90% of the time. I can’t help but see the good and in this dark world that’s a true gift. 

However, when your own path is dim and you can’t find your way, tripping over your own feet, it’s hard to add a positive spin. 

Not just hard but exhausting. You feel dishonest and unsure what to do with yourself and words that are rosy but not really true. 

So I took some time off. This summer I want to hop back in to more frequent  writing. 

Still not sure what it will look like but I didn’t know the first time around either! 

Thanks for sticking around and understanding. Ready for a new adventure? So am I. 

Farewell to 25

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new adventure–Year 26.

I’ve already shared my goals with you, so now I just want to recap what happened last year:

  • I was working as an office manager
  • Serving the deaf at 2 churches and a school
  • Making the decision to leave Alabama again to head out to Rhema
  • Falling in love with missions
  • Writing for this blog everyday
  • My heart was steadily being changed by this radical notion that following Jesus was never meant to be a Sunday only affair 

I am so blessed and humbled by everything that happened which brought me to right here, sitting on my couch, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. 

25, you’ve been good to me. Now it’s time to start out on my next adventure. 

Helping with Media

I got to run camera for the first time today. The media department didn’t really teach me to swim–they just threw me into the pool! 

And it was awesome!

I observed Sunday morning and evening. Someone showed me the basics of how to run the camera before the evening service, but that was it. 

Today the supervisor walked me through step by step–through my headphones–how to set up the different kinds of shots.

What was strange was to look up at the big screens and see that my shot could be seen by everyone…

Whoa! 

Plus, I did a lot of zoom shots (kind of like panoramic action shots) which was seen by everyone on watching online. 

I look forward to learning more and more about running camera because it’s a valuable skill that helps ministries get the gospel message spread around the world.

Remember what I told you a few days ago? 

I’m not against the use of technology in the church.

Just go to church and get involved yourself! 

Then listen to podcasts and watch the sermons again on YouTube.

I listen to teachings all the time at work. And today I paid particular attention to the quality of the video and the kind of shots being used. 

Kinda cool to think that one day a sermon that I helped record will be online for someone else to watch.

No one will know it was me who helped, but I’ll know. God will know, too, which is all that matters anyway. 

 

 

This Ordinary Adventure

Aren’t we all afraid of being normal? 

If someone calls you normal, they might as well say, “You are the most boring person I know.”

At least, that’s how it feels because who doesn’t want to be known as a wandering, wondering, unpredictable world changer?   I just finished This Ordinary Adventure by Christine and Adam Jeske, which answers that question. 

Adam and Christine served as missionaries to Nicarauga, China, and South Africa before moving back to Wisconsin with their 2 children. 

They wondered if moving back to America was “settling” for a mediocre life. 

I enjoyed how the book switched back and forth between their two perspectives. 

If you find yourself struggling in this area, I think this book will be helpful. 

Fun Family Visit

I had a good time visiting with my dad, stepmom, and the kids today.  

They came to town for a funeral and we spent Monday night and Tuesday afternoon together. 

Our friends, Tim and Carolyn Clark, ate dinner with us on Monday night and then spent spent time with us before they headed to the airport. 

When the Clarks left, us adults hung out and talked before surprising the kids with a trip to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda 3. 

After the movie, we enjoyed a quiet dinner followed by more talking and some family worship around the piano. 

I was sad as I said goodbye to everyone. 

However, I know in my heart that I’m supposed to be at Rhema. Tulsa, Oklahoma is my home for now, and I am excited about all that is ahead of me. 

This knowledge doesn’t make me any less sad–I miss my family and friends back  in Alabama–but it definitely helps me keep going in the midst of bittersweet moments. 

I came home at the end of the visit and looked around at my new reality, the path that is mine and mine alone to walk. 

Good things are ahead. 

I am so thankful to God for this journey. 

And I am so thankful for family and friends who encourage me to go on great adventures with God. 

When everyday is an adventure

  My dad comes home tomorrow!

We’re all so excited to see him and hear about his adventures in Mexico. 

My dad’s taught me a lot about the spirit of adventure. He’s the kind of man who sees life as the greatest adventure of all. 

And this attitude goes beyond the mission field:

  • Running errands with him becomes completing a top secret mission. 
  • Working in the yard is like hacking through the bush. 

His ability to make mundane tasks fun is the reason big projects aren’t a chore. 

I’m trying to be more like him in this area. My “hurry up and mark things off the list” mentality can keep me from enjoying my work in the process. 

My dad’s company–even when he’s not directly helping me–brightens my mood while I work. 

There are many reasons I miss my dad, but his fun loving attitude about everyday tasks is one of them. 

Hurry up and get home, Dad! Nothing’s the same when you’re not around. 

I know where I’m going

IMG_1694Many times the Lord gives me direction through dreams. I think of it like a road map.

“Audra, this is where you are headed.”

With a dream, though, comes the knowledge that staying stuck is not possible. You cannot decide to camp out on the side of the road when you need to be moving forward.

I find myself facing some situations where running away would be so easy. (I think by now my vulnerability issues are well known.)

During these tough times, I yell–I mean, pray–to the Lord.

He’s given me permission to be 100% honest with him. His exact words were, “I know your heart anyway, so stop hiding.”

God has seen the angelic side of me and the grumpy side of me. My prayer is that as I follow Him, Angel Audra shows up more and more. (Think halo not being held up by horns.)

Do you know where He takes me at the end of each conversation?

My dreams.

Remember, Audra, where you are going. Don’t settle for anything less than where I am sending you.

All of my tantrums are ruined by God.

I am pouting and angry and God just laughs. And HIs laughter is like a whack from a belt.

Then I remember my dream.

I’m such a hard headed brat……..

When God shows you something don’t let go. Take it and run. Let that hope be an anchor for your soul. Nothing will motivate you more than a glimpse of where God’s taking you.  

And no worries if you find yourself camping out either. God will help you pack back up and keep moving.

Birthday Wishes to a Great Friend

bffl faveI’m going to do something completely cheesy today.

This blog post is dedicated to my friend, Bethany Fletcher, in honor of her birthday.

We met in college and became friends instantly….NOT!

In fact, I remember the time she told me that the first time we hung out in a big group she went to her room and cried. She also used to lock the door on her side of our Jack and Jill style bathroom suite.

Eventually, though, she and I realized (and began to appreciate) all of the individual qualities that make us both awesome. christmas friends

Bethany taught me about many things, but for some I am eternally grateful:

  1. Fashion–thanks for helping me get past dressing like a granny.
  2. Music–my previous musical tastes involved a lot of Reba and Patsy Cline. I’m still their number one fan, but my musical taste has broadened–a lot.
  3. Blogging–if it wasn’t for Bethany, I would not be a blog lover today.
  4. Encouragement–this chick has walked with me and encouraged me through some pretty dark times. She’s also slapped me back into reality, but it’s always followed by a hug.
  5. Jesus–Bethany’s friendship with our Savior is out of this world. Seriously. I’ve always looked to her example in how to live, love, and serve Jesus.

Bethany, I hope you’re okay with me dedicating a whole blog post to you. It’s just that you know I’m horrible at sending out cards…..but I do want you to know that I am thankful for your friendship.

bffl pumpkinHappy Birthday, BFFL!

I hope that your 26th year is awesome.

Know that my thoughts and prayers are always with you and, of course, Mr. Fletcher.

Faith adventures are the best

Provision follows commitment. 

I am a firm and faithful believer in this truth after this weekend. 

  God has answered my prayers about many of the key aspects of my move to Tulsa in January. 

It’s been so cool to see how His hand and influence has guided me-in many unexpected ways-to the answers I needed. 

There’s so much more that I want to say, but I want to use today’s post as a way of saying thanks to God. 

Living by faith is a great adventure. 

I want to leave you with three recommendations:

  1. Be as specific as you can be in your prayers. 
  2. Ask others to stand in faith–meaning they pray in agreement–with you. 
  3. Don’t be unwilling to share what you’re believing for when it comes up in conversation. Who knows if the person(s) you’re chatting with could be the answer to your prayers?

College Weekend gave me a small taste of what is to come. 

I can’t wait to see how this faith adventure unfolds!