Since that announcement and writing that post, I have received prayer, donations, words of encouragement, and an even deeper desire to go on this trip. I want to love the children of Swaziland until I literally can't anymore. I want to hold them and snuggle them and adore them in a way only my heart can. I want to experience their giggles in real life. I want to sing "Jesus Loves Me" in the hot sun. I want to do God's work... And I want to watch my heart burst at the seams as I do so.
While I am beyond gracious for the funds that have already come in, I haven't quite reached my goal of $3500. Originally, I had planned for this money to come in before the end of May - and while that isn't exactly looking to happen, I know Jesus has His own timing... And His promises never fail.
Sunday afternoon was my last shift at Starbucks and I worked with a girl I'd never met before. Right before I left, her and I somehow got on the topic of running and I mentioned that I was diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis at the age of 14. She responded, "WHAT?! Me too!" We went on to share our entire diagnosis stories and what medications we're currently on. When I told her how Enbrel has basically given me my life back and reignited my passion for running, she said, "Kenzie, one day I hope I can say the same." I left work that afternoon with so much compassion on my heart. Casey hasn't left my mind once this week.
Following that shift, I attended a worship service at my church on Sunday night. I was praying over the travel expenses I have yet to fund for my trip to Africa this summer. I was asking God HOW the money was going to come in and WHY He has called me to this trip... Every time I tried to argue, I heard the same thing over and over: "Have faith child, I will provide. I have called YOU and I shall sustain you."
Moments later, my pastor spoke over the microphone and asked if God had spoke to anyone in the moment of silence that we took. I had just about mustered enough courage to go to the altar and share what God had spoke to me, but I saw another young woman stand up and briskly walk down to the microphone first. It was then that this young woman spoke into the microphone... She said...
"God just told me that someone in this room is going to be a missionary."
Instantly, tears started streaming down my face. I couldn't contain my excitement or the blessed reassurance I felt in that moment. I knew - 110% - that God had just used her to speak to me in the most realistic way possible. I attempted to ignore what He was telling me - and He made me understand it even more clearly.
Even further, my pastor then looked over at me. He looked me in my tear-filled eyes and he said, "Is that for anyone tonight? Did that just entirely blow someone away?" Without thinking for a split second, I stood up. Before I knew it, I was standing at the altar speaking into the microphone. I shared how stressed I have been about funds coming in for this trip. I shared my heart for missions. I publicly announced that I recently switched to a double major in missional ministries and social work. And, well, I cried. Because God had just spoken to me and I knew I was going forward even more confident in that calling.
Last night, as I was out for a run, I prayed the e.n.t.i.r.e. time for Casey and this missions trip - two things that have clearly been heavy on my heart for so long. As I was praying, I came up with an even greater challenge to put two of my biggest challenges to work... Together.
And THAT's where @SuperNannyKenz #RunningForSwazi was born!
Basically, for every $100 donated towards this trip (from this point forward) I will run one mile. The goal is to raise $2500 by May 31st - exactly 2 months from the date which I will be returning from my 2 week trip to Swaziland, Africa. Yes, you read that right. I could potentially be running 25 miles in less than 3 weeks. All donations will do directly towards my travel expenses.
This is a challenge I am more than willing to take on for the children of Swaziland. If you are interested in helping me get there, donate below + spread the word by tagging me (@SuperNannyKenz) and also hashtagging #RunningForSwazi!
Luke 4:18 - "...He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, and that the oppressed will be set free."