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

Getting started and settling in

It’s Day 3! I am headed out this afternoon to a discipleship group with the children on The Mountain, as Tim and Jill call the Love and Care outreach ministry for children. (It might be called something else—I’m still learning all the names!

This is my first time of ministry in Uganda, and I’m excited! My heart’s been for and towards the people and this season of time for so long. I’ve prayed in the spirit in much anticipation! It feels like I’m meeting folks that I already know, if that makes sense. They’re already in my heart.

Now begins the process of getting to know those I’m serving and learning the culture. As you think of me in the coming days, please pray for this time of cultural learning, especially as I leave for my first trip into western Uganda on Tuesday. You probably won’t here from me much next week for that reason. I’ll be gone from Tuesday to Saturday. BUT I’ll write in my journal and catch you all up once we return!

Next week I’ll also be teaching for the first time. I haven’t heard what section of the training I’ll be covering, but it’s going to be awesome! This morning I have some time to read and catch up on the training book Tim sent me. My expectations about reading on the international flight were quickly adjusted because my seat mates slept the entire time…and the reading light was over their heads! Lol.

Anyway, I’m so excited to finally be here. Things are revving up, and my prayer is to be faithful to serve as I’m needed. I’m going to get off for now…talk soon!

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus! I loved my cookie cake from my party. Probably the coolest one I’ve ever seen or had! And behind me is the Ugandan flag.

To the graduating class of 2017

Pastor Hagin often says, “Ministry is spelled W-O-R-K!”

And he’s right. Our upside down kingdom requires work—most unseen and unknown to others—from its citizens.

Public teaching and preaching is the fun part of ministry. However, there’s a lot that happens from week to week. Walking alongside others through the mountains and valleys of life is an endless, and often thankless, task. My dad is a pastor and it’s often hard for him to describe his work to others.

Graduation is less than two weeks away, which is why my thoughts are drifting more and more towards this idea of life and ministry.

Many think of the two areas as separate—this is my life and this is my ministry—but there really cannot be a line of demarcation.

My friends who are leaving Rhema for the great wide world are faced with this reality. I understand their conundrum because I’m staring down the barrel of the same gun—I just have a little more time to think about it since I don’t graduate until next May.

Thankfully, our instructors have been pointing us in this direction all along. Our launch date into the great race of life, the passing of the baton, is never far from their minds.

These are men and women are Rhema alumni. They’ve been on the mission field, served/are serving in the local church, and brought their families along for the ride. I am thankful for their willingness to teach us not only biblical truths but also practical life applications of the truth.

I have no doubt that my friends are leaving Rhema prepared.

Their hard work started the moment they moved to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, flipping their entire lives upside down to follow God. Most of my friends have worked odd hours at two to three jobs for the opportunity to study God’s Word in order to become fully equipped ministers of the gospel.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

Go into the world and teach people about faith and what it means to follow Jesus. Know that those went before you and those who are coming behind you are cheering you on!

Faith is a lifestyle

kenneth-e-haginKenneth E. Hagin’s testimony is the reason Rhema Bible Training College exists. It’s hard to fathom sometimes the deep, unwavering commitment Bro. Hagin had to the Father. Of course, we all know that to those whom much has been given much is required.

My favorite Bro. Hagin stories are the ones where he was just living life—paying bills, running errands, etc. I was recently reading The Midas Touch for a class and came across this statement “I was putting on my socks one day and the Lord spoke to me…”

I had to stop reading for a moment. Wait a minute. Bro. Hagin put on socks?!? Then I started laughing…of course Bro. Hagin put on socks! He was a man, right?

Rhema’s goal is to train ministers of the gospel, men and women who follow God in everyday moments and also in extraordinary ways. We are repeatedly told that the stories shared in classes are for us to see that God will move in our lives.

This is the main reason I was drawn to Rhema. I didn’t want to go to a college that only dealt with hypothetical situations.

rbtc-sealI wanted to go to a college that not only challenged me but also equipped me to walk out my beliefs.

I wanted to go to a college that encouraged me to start living out the truth on the job, in the grocery store, and running errands.

Bro. Hagin’s mandate from God was to “teach my people faith” and his legacy continues through the thousands of Rhema graduates around the world.

If Father God is calling you into ministry, you need to check out Rhema Bible Training College. Come and see what He is doing in the student body’s lives. A great way to do that is during our Spring College Weekend. For more information please visit, www.rhema.org/rcw

Thanksgiving Blessings

rbtc-sealThanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

It’s a great time to reflect on the blessings of being in Christ—He’s given us everything!—and to recall all the ways His hand is moving in our lives.

Did I mention that turkey and dressing is one of my most favorite meals?

There’s nothing like a good pan of dressing (or stuffing as it is known by my friends above the Mason-Dixon Line) to make the heart happy.

And while I am thrilled that my family is invading Broken Arrow to visit me, I was reminded that many of my fellow Rhema classmates will not be sitting around the dinner table with their natural family.

The good news, though, is that no one will be alone because the Rhema family is huge—and worldwide!

Many graduates add extra dinner plates to their tables.

Many current students bring a passel of people home with them for the week.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

I am so thankful for the friendships that are burgeoning this school year!

My more extroverted personality makes me a social butterfly, so leaving the place where my roots run deepest was a challenge for me.

Jesus’ promise, however, remains a source of constant comfort and encouragement.

I have sat around numerous tables with new friends, both students and alumni, since moving to Oklahoma. Every single person has told me the same thing:

If you ever need anything—and I mean anything—do not hesitate to call.

This one statement illustrates the Rhema family at its best. And it’s one of the many reasons I give thanks for Rhema Bible Training College.

Rhema College Weekend

I knew it was time for a change and I prayed for six months with no clear direction as to what I needed to do.

My answer came in an email with this subject line:

It’s not too late to go to Rhema

And I remember thinking, “It’s not too late! Going to Rhema is something that I’ve wanted to do for 5 years…maybe the time is now.”

I told my dad and stepmom what the Father was laying on my heart and, of course, they both said, “Sounds great to me! You need to go check it out.”

My parents are both Rhema graduates, but they never once said a word to me about attending Rhema. It’s their desire for all of their children follow God and be led by Him.

My dad and I drove out for College Weekend and we prayed a big prayer:

Father, we’re believing I will have a place to live and/or a job by the end of this weekend.

I knew immediately Rhema was truly the next step for me.

From visiting classes to the session with Dean Tad to the current students I met at lunch—the entire weekend was awesome.

rhema-pic

We can’t wait to meet you!

And guess what? God answered my prayer!

I met the sweetest woman at church who offered me a place to live on the spot. It was a total God connection because she was a family friend who my parents hadn’t heard from in many years.

This was the first of many moments where God cleared the path for me to become a student.

If God will do it for me, I know He’ll do it for you!

I encourage you to make the trip out for College Weekend. If there’s a stirring in your heart to attend Rhema, you need to come.

Click here to sign up!

High Expectations

There is a high level of expectation and excitement at the beginning of the school year. Students are pumped and you hear things like: “I’m following Jesus, baby! Nothing will slow me down!”

You can feel the energy in the air and it’s quite electric. Girls and guys look their best, act their best, and say their best.

Imagine a diamond ring in a display case. Everything about it sparkles and glimmers. 

I think this is awesome! Students should be excited. In fact, they should come to school expecting great things to happen.

Miraculous events take place all throughout the school year at Rhema and I truly believe it’s because there’s a multiplied level of expectancy.

It would be harder for me to believe that 300+ faith-filled, Spirit-filled Christians are hanging out in one place and God didn’t show up on a daily basis.

However, I am always a bit skeptical for the same reasons I get excited…

Being overly emotional leads many Christians astray. The need to be “spiritual” is dangerous.

rbtc-sealI often wonder how we can be any more spiritual than “I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body.”

So what’s with the need to be more “spiritual”?

I believe it boils down to a misplaced sense of what it means to be significant, yet trying to gain significance by impressing others leads many Christian leaders down a road of empty accolades.

True significance is only found in Christ. No man or woman can meet that need.

As the school year progresses (or you’re preparing to come to Rhema next year), here’s my encouragement to you: 

 Always be excited.

Always be real.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Walk in the reality that you’re approved by God and called into ministry by God.

And know that you’re a vital part of the Rhema family, a part of Brother Hagin’s God-given commission to “Go teach my people faith.” 

 

Because we’re family

The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom from beginning to end.

And I struggle as a young person to wrap my head around these upside down commands because nothing about our world is about putting others first.

The worlds says, “Me first!” and the Kingdom says, “Me last!” 

Check out Romans 12:10 in these 3 translations:

NLT: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

ERV: Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself.

MSG: Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

We are to love everyone like they are our brothers and sisters. This makes sense when you think about it because there are only two types of people in the world: Those who are already our family in Christ and those we want to see become our family in Christ.

My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:16. 

 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!

Evangelism is not about us versus them. Outreach is not about being a bully and forcing Jesus down someone’s throat.

I can’t get away from these thoughts…

I am not sharing the gospel to get ahead.

I am not seeking a platform to build “my ministry.”

 Evangelism has absolutely NOTHING to do with my advancement and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with showing someone else the path to redemption. 

The path of humility is all about taking jealousy and the need to get ahead off the table.

We’re on this journey together.

We’re growing together.

We’re serving together.

You’re not more important than me and I’m not more important than you because we’re family. 

 

 

 

Just keep asking

“I’m just going to keep asking if I can help. Who knows? One day the answer might be yes.”

After the Boiler Room I was teasing one of my friends–a mom with two young kids–about her not accepting my requests to help ferry things to her car. 

She’s never really needed my help because her husband is great at taking care of that kind of stuff–which is awesome btw. 

It got me to thinking…

There’s nothing wrong with sticking your neck out after being turned down by whoever you’re trying to help. 

Just keep asking. 

Just keep being a friend. 

I truly believe that’s one of the biggest reasons most Christians aren’t making disciples like we should be. 

Most of us give up way too fast on people. 

Most of us have bought into the lie of microwave evangelism when evangelism and discipleship is more akin to a crock pot. 

It takes time. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in different communities where trust is everything. 

You have to show up and keep your word. When you don’t, you better fess up fast because the people can smell a phony a mile away. 

This kind of intentional lifestyle of service is refining; think about it like sand paper that takes off the rough edges. It demands absolute sincerity. 

And it’s truly the most worthwhile way to live. 

I am a better person and Jesus follower because of this demand to slow down, to take off my mask. 

Going back to what I said earlier, never stop asking how you can help. 

Being available to serve is a foundational teaching within the gospel. If Jesus’ mission was to serve and not to be served, then that’s our mission too. 

Be unrelenting in your pursuit to help, to pray, to encourage. 

You might get turned down 9 times out of 10. 

You might get cussed out. 

You might be misunderstood. 

Just keep asking. 

Because your quest to serve will provide opportunities to share the love of Christ in ways you could never orchestrate on your own. 

Powerful Prayer

Can you please pray for me?

My answer is always, “Of course! What do you need prayer for?” And then I pray for that person right there. 

I don’t wait until later (though I do pray on my own later) because there’s something powerful about praying together. 

Read through the Book of Acts. 

You’ll quickly notice that mighty things happened when the Church prayed together. 

Jesus told us that He’ll do anything we ask in His name. 

Jesus told us that praying in faith can move any mountain, any obstacle. 

Jesus taught us how to pray and Paul laced his letters with prayers. 

Talking with God is vital to our Christian walk. (We’ve talked many times about prayer.)

The Boiler Room taught on prayer tonight. 

Following the teaching we prayed for our church community, for the necessary transitions to better serve the poor. 

I walked away reminded that “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” is not possible without prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life.