Briercrest group writes a great life story in Kenya

Posted: October 19, 2010

By Mike Benallick


The men on the trip included (l-r) Rob Alcock, Anthony Henderson, Josh Richert, Dan Jensen, Zach Funk, Glenn Runnalls, and Cori Funk. The women were (l-r) Deanna Phillips, Delores Funk, Gracie Funk, Kathy Runnalls, Alisha Epp, Casey Lester, Megan Manson, and Megan Wright. Submitted photo.

onald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz, writes that “if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.”

Every morning when we wake up, God places a pen in our hands and invites us to write our story for that day. How many of us choose to take advantage of the opportunities to write a really great life story?

During the recent 28:19 mission conference at Briercrest College and Seminary, students heard from a group who know what it means to live out a more meaningful life story.

The group, made up of mostly staff members and students from Briercrest College and Seminary, shared about their three and a half week-long missions trip to Kenya this summer.

They woke up every day not knowing what to expect or where their adventures for that day would take them. They knew that they were being asked to live outside of their comfort zone and that this trip would truly teach them what reliance on the Lord was all about.

Even though several weeks have passed since the team returned home, it is evident that their shared experience in Kenya still holds a prominent place in each member’s heart.

“We went to teach, and ended up being taught; we went to share our hearts, and ended up leaving our hearts in Kenya,” Anthony Henderson, a pastor in Lethbridge and one of Briercrest’s former student body presidents, said.

Each team member agreed that as much as they went to Kenya to give, they ended up receiving much more in return.

The joy of the people they experienced there was both startling and inspiring. This was not the vision of doom and gloom that the average Canadian sees on display through various benevolent charity television commercials.

The team characterized the Kenyan people as those who exhibited tremendous love and joy and did it with what North Americans would describe as extremely simple means.

How many of us choose to take advantage of the opportunities to write a really great life story?

At the end of the weekend, the team had an opportunity to speak to a group of congregants at The Gathering, one of the churches in Caronport, about their Kenya experience.

As the service wrapped up, the team lead in a traditional hymn, complete with clapping and a congo line-esque dance down the centre aisle of the church. For a few short moments, it was as if Caronport had transformed into Kenya, and the Kenya team couldn’t have been happier about that.

The 17-person team came home to Canada with a deeper understanding that real joy isn’t found in a 50-inch plasma. They came home with a deeper understanding that real love seeks to serve and not be served. They came home with a deeper appreciation for the importance of community and the joy that is found in the seemingly simple—faith, family, friends, and a good dance.