When I first felt called to be a missionary in Kenya I wondered if I could truly impact the lives of those around me. After all, I wasn’t a gifted speaker or a theology major. I was just a guy who was eager and willing to serve…ready for God to move.
In 2016, I did long term mission work in a rural part of Kenya. While I was there, I worked as a teacher for students who needed extra help with English and math. The school hosted about 300 students, around 50 were orphans who lived on the campus where I stayed. By day, I taught in the school. By night, I served as a house parent for all the boys living on campus.
It was at this time that I came to realize how God would use this regular guy in ordinary moments. In this remote part of the country, the ground was dry and dusty. Our feet would be smothered in dirt by the end of the day. Every Saturday morning, I would bring out my water bucket to thoroughly wash my feet.
One Saturday, I went over to the boys housing area of the campus and found two boys, Salem and Moses, both with their buckets out and washing their feet just as I always did. No one told them to do so, but apparently, they witnessed me doing this each weekend. They emulated a seemingly small gesture that I didn’t even think they noticed. Looking back on it now, I realize God was using me to make an impact in these children’s lives; not by my words, but by my example.
1 Peter 5:2-3 says, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”
My parents were amazing and faithful mentors in my life. They taught me the true meaning of these verses. They modeled for me how to work hard and serve others well. They shepherded me. They did not teach me solely by their words. Rather, they were ordinary people whose Christ-centered actions deeply influenced me, and I wanted to follow their example.
To come full circle, as I look back on my mission work, I see that my actions—when I thought no one was watching—made a lasting impact in the children’s hearts…not my words. I tried to be an example to the flock given to me. Just as Jesus Christ was the ultimate shepherd to my parents, my hope was to be a good shepherd, and a great example to, the flock of children in Kenya I was given.
It’s a myth that extraordinary people are the only ones who can make an impact on those around them. But, coming from this ordinary guy, I see that you can influence others through small actions. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to come on board to work with Bright Hope. I was so inspired by the stories that I found on the Bright Hope website and loved how this organization creates opportunities for regular guys like me to get involved.
I was especially inspired by Bright Hope’s care for vulnerable communities across the globe. The impoverished, starving and marginalized can often be an afterthought, but through my own mission work I learned that these communities can never be forgotten.
Because Jesus has never forgotten them. Bright Hope keeps this in mind as they continue to advocate for good living conditions and strong education for impoverished children, among other things. When in Kenya, I always held the idea that I was teaching today’s children, but they were tomorrow’s business leaders, educators, doctors, engineers and pastors. And now, as a part of Bright Hope, I am proud of the work we do and happy to help with my skill set to still be reaching these vulnerable populations.