Saturday, 10 August 2019

4 sleeps to go


Here's a blog I shared with the team at Mercy Ships so I thought I'd share it here too.
4 sleeps to go… and the best is yet to come
We talk a lot about transformation at Mercy Ships, don’t we? I think it is one of the big reasons I find myself here. Transformation represents the heart of God, it gives hope for the future, hope that a different reality is possible and hope that good things can be birthed through dark and painful times. It’s about more than meets the eye. It’s rooted in grace and rests in goodness. It is wrapped in mercy and nestled in the richest of love and it calls our name.

Transformation is a story that we are used to when it comes to our patients. We’ve seen countless precious lives transform for the better. We’ve seen downcast spirits come alive again and we’ve rejoiced together when we’ve seen tumour free faces smile, when we’ve seen bent legs run and dance and we’ve wept together as we’ve watched those once rejected, be embraced by love. It’s a thrill to witness and it makes our hearts beat. If we think about it, I would suggest many of us are united in this work by a thirst for transformation, a hunger for justice, and a longing for Heaven to come here on Earth. I can’t wait to see all those things here in Senegal.

But this story of transformation lives within our Mercy Ship story in multiple other ways too.

This Advance adventure is one of them for sure and I feel like I am watching an emerging butterfly! Deep within this chrysalis, there is life. It has not always been evident and there are some hard outer layers to pierce through, but the hope of emerging beauty is sure. It is why we are here! We are calling Heaven to Earth and His Kingdom to come. Relationships are so key and in a country where we are less well known and perhaps ‘less welcomed’ by some within the medical community, we sometimes find it hard to see the beauty. I have often felt more as if I am in a boxing ring, if I am honest! I have felt myself on the defence, justifying and sometimes desperately grasping at opportunities to agree and countless hours spent preparing for difficult battle and yet more hours trying to rise up from them again. It has not been easy and I have found myself questioning why God has me here. I’m too soft for this! Some days have felt unnecessarily complicated and my desire to build trust has felt lost and bewildered under shaky foundations.  
 
It has made me reflect on the patients’ lives and what it means to be out of hope. I cannot say I have felt out of hope! But in some moments my hope has been challenged and it has caused me to grieve for a people who really must feel out of hope. People who really don’t know where their answers will ever come from, who never have or never will know a life without pain or what it means to be loved and accepted. That feeling of hopelessness, the feeling of no matter what I do, I can’t seem to change anything and the feeling of having to pick myself up after the most frustrating of days to keep on walking, again and again and again. And yet I always have hope! I have a ridiculously blessed life where I am literally never in want. How and why, I will never know.

And so we have to continue to believe that this is exactly why we are here. To build the foundation of trust, to keep on hoping and to keep on believing for those who literally cannot. To believe that this butterfly will fly and that one day these wings will soar. To trust that at the right time, the chrysalis will crack and its true beauty will shine. Oh how I long to see hope and light overwhelm this nation! For lives to be transformed and that those who can never even dare to dare, would know the life they were created for.

In this transformation process, I’ve been challenged to die to self. To let go of what I want and need, to let go of thinking it’s about me and what I can achieve, and to let go of the opinions of others – here – or within our organization. All I have and do will never be good enough, and for sure, I do not feel good enough. Transformation necessarily takes us out of our comfort zone. If it didn’t, we’d stay the same - safe in our little cocoon. I do none of this for anyone but Jesus. In the words of George Muller, ‘There was a day when I utterly died. I died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will. I died to the world, its approval or censure. I died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends and since then I have studied only to show myself approved of God’.

Here’s to months ahead full of transformation – in our patients lives, the people who we train, our partners, our day crew and our very own crew as well!

There are only 4 sleeps to go and the team is bursting with excitement to reunite with our ship family again! I talk about the challenges because it’s the reality, but I talk from a place of hope, a place that has not even one doubt that God has called us here. Transformation is at the heart of all we do. It is never ever the end of the story and it is a privilege to live and work knowing that, knowing that hope is present and knowing that the best is surely yet to come. We are grateful for the physical manifestations of this truth and we trust God for all we are yet to see in this beautiful country.
Here’s just a few transformations we are witnessing here:


 
This is the HOPE Centre, based at SIL – a Christian mission who were not using the building. It’s around 15 minutes from the Port and will house 250 patients and caregivers.

This is the Dental Clinic based in Sangalkam, about an hour’s drive from the Port. The team will live off ship to facilitate their travel and as a result, a more rural population will be served. <<photo>>

 

 
Some of our 250+ Day Crew at the end of the orientation and contract signing! <<photo>>

 
This is the Advance Team! An incredible team of dedicated people, gifted in unique ways to prepare the way for the ship. We have had our own transformations going on; learning to let go and trust God like never before, learning to walk in grace and love and understanding in a tight team house; learning to trust God with our futures beyond this season, learning to believe that, with God, we are enough… I could go on...

 Let's keep on longing for transformation. With so much love, KWW

 

 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

met by love


It’s a hot day, warmer than the ones of the last 2 months and I’m realising I’ve been lulled into thinking I didn’t need to break a sweat here. The fresh breezes have dropped, the air feels more humid and the rains are on their way. The roads are lined with stalls selling mangos – more varieties than I’ve ever seen - sitting in pyramids that look like they might topple over, and as I sit in yet another dented taxi, the street children cup their hands at my window and ask for something small. I want to smile at them but always feel this tension that a smile might give the hope of money and whilst I’d be happy to give, it’s not the answer. I have heard many people outside of Senegal ask why we are coming here – isn’t it so much more developed? There are paved roads and supermarkets and some nice fancy private hospitals, sure. But access to surgery is complex and you can’t make a judgment from a quick google search or from the impressive 3 lane highway that runs from the airport to the heart of the city. What percentage of the population can pay the tolls and use it anyway? Spend a few hours in this huge bustling city, listen to the stories of the locals, step beyond Dakar, and it soon becomes clear; the need is real.
 
 

I arrived here on April 14th and it’s been a busy 2 months. It’s an immense privilege and I find myself doing things that make me want to pinch myself. Be it a couple of meetings at the ‘Presidency’, or many many days spent collaborating at the Ministry of Health or even the chance to celebrate the Queen’s birthday at the British Embassy! It’s fun, but aspects of this journey are hard. My heart arrived full of desire to build trust, to collaborate, to find mutual understanding. In some areas it’s going well but in some I’d say it’s a big struggle right now and that makes me sad. When you want to serve and pour out love, that’s just hard to swallow and I wonder why they put this softie in as Country Director. As I was reflecting on the challenges of building trust with people who don’t know us, who come from different backgrounds and even those with different goals, I was reminded once again that at the end of the day, all we can do is love. It’s love that unites us all.

 
 
 Surprise birthday celebrations for me!
 
My hard days far out number the easy ones but the depth of love interwoven through them all is a precious gift to my tender heart. As a team, every Thursday morning we gather and share all the ways we feel God has ‘winked’ at us throughout the preceding week. Thankful Thursday is medicine to the soul and food for the faith required to continue climbing the mountains before us. We have 3 huge big ‘magic whiteboard’ sheets on our lounge wall that capture the moments that have filled our hearts. So often we have been met by people who just want to help us and encourage us. Sometimes we meet people who have worked here for years and I marvel at the commitment and faith and pure endurance to battle systems which are sometimes slow and heavy. There is one pastor who we have connected with in particular who blesses me so much. His quiet humility, his love for God, the sense of the Spirit that He carries and his solid faith that continues to believe for his nation, touch me every time. And sometimes it’s the opportunities to swim and sink our teeth into a crusty baguette. I am thankful and reminded so often that at the end of the day, we have been met by love in countless ways.
 


 
 

In the last few days, our Patient Selection team started a 4 week trip around Senegal; it’s time to spread the word that an opportunity to have free surgery is coming. A team of 4 have embarked on a journey that will take them to each of the 13 regional capitals to begin building relationships with key people there before the patient registration weeks start towards the end of July. If you’re interested in finding out more you can take a look at www.mercyships.sn where all the specific related information for Senegal can be found. Pray for them and for all our future patients.

Other members of our team have embarked on interviewing 400 or so of the 1500 applications from those wanting to join our team of local volunteers. It’s coming together! 3 new vehicles have arrived and are out of the Port (that’s big!) and all sorts of other plans are coming into place. We are on a constant journey of letting go of our own timelines and learning to trust that things will work out. The balance between blind trust and what wisdom looks like isn’t always clear, but…. we are learning. We have 2 renovation projects for our Dental Clinic and HOPE Centre (which will house around 250 patients and relatives before and after surgery here in Dakar) that need to be ready in 8 weeks, for example, and no work has yet begun. I won’t bore you with the details but a certain number of somersaults and hoop jumping has already been done and there are a few more back flips to go before we can sign contracts next week. But at the end of the day, all we can do is love, right?

 
I wish I could get that right and not be so focused on my lists and to just let go… to let go of all sorts of offence and injustice and of plan A or plan B. Just keep on loving. Just like the One who loves me unconditionally, day in day out, regardless of my attitude or heart. At the end of the day, the answer to anyone wondering why we are coming to Senegal is simple. We are coming as an expression of God’s immense love for this nation. To a nation that is around 94% muslim, to a people who are in need, to people who need hope. When I look at it like that, I wish I could steer the ship home and pour out some love there too. Lack of access to surgery is huge and something we so desire to help, but we all need love wherever we may be.

I’m so thankful to have been met by love and I so desire people to feel they have met with love when they meet with me or with one of my incredible team.
 
 
 

May you be met by love too. Love always, KWW

 
From ‘met by love’, United Pursuit:
There is none, none like you
Who can know my heart like you do?
For all creation sings your song
I will join with time, declaring your glory…
want to keep on trying
We can run straight into your arms, unafraid
‘cause every time we meet you, we’re met by love
And we can lift our hands to Heaven. Full of faith
‘Cause every time we worship, we see your face
 
 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

another opportunity to trust


Socks and shoes and learning French season is over, but amongst the apparent chaos of the streets of Conakry, Guinea, there is deep joy! Even the drive back from the airport tells the story. It thrusts you from a world that felt so much calmer, one where I was deceived into thinking I was in control, to one that is noisy, and dusty and stinkin' hot and one where traffic comes up the road the wrong way towards you and leaves you in a spin; but one that fills my heart with joy.
 



I’m back. Somehow home but yet the transition this way seems harder than it was the other way. Home home is home and despite its craziness and all the parts that feel a little unattractive to me, it’s home. But I missed this crazy beautiful place. What a naïve statement to say about such a vast continent that is so varied and for the most part, I do not know! But somehow I love what I find here, and yet it challenges every part of me and often pushes my patience to the limits. The blaring taxi radios and the dust and furnace like heat don’t exactly fill my heart, put it that way. But the people do, of that there is no doubt.

… 2 weeks later and I’m waking up in Dakar, Senegal in a guesthouse found in the middle of an industrial zone not too far from the port. Even the leaves of the trees are coated with dust and each excursion leaves me with a layer of dirty sand all over. My hair has found new ways to stick out at awkward angles as the dust carefully attaches itself to every strand. I guess we are near the desert! The dappled sunlight landing on my bed and the chirps of carefree birds bring rest to my soul. It’s been a busy first 2 weeks as ‘Country Director’ – our first task, ‘to prepare the way for the ship to arrive in 4 months time’. It’s a ridiculous title for someone who has little clue of what they are doing. You have no idea how many times I have thought of, and clung onto, the stories of how God uses the weak these last weeks. I’ve pictured myself as Gideon facing big giants and known that this is just how God seems to work. It’s senseless, but somehow it brings me strength. I know my heart is good and I know I am willing and I know I can be brave and I know I have good experience to bring to the table. But who would have thought that this 4-eyed little girl would have rocked up here?
 
 
dusty leaves!

 

I'm always hungry to be in situations where I can see God’s power at work, to look up at mountains and know that if they move, it’s only God who can make them move, and even the quote on this very blog, ‘life is meant to be an adventure, when we cease to reach out and stretch ourselves, something in us dies’ reflects the longings of my heart. But this stretching is hard! I felt I was drowning at French school and I have felt way in above my head in previous mercy ship roles and I feel those familiar feelings all over again. Forcing myself out of bed and reaching into the depths for my brave face, believing – every day – I am where I’m meant to be.  I landed in a Country I don’t know, with a team that I haven’t worked that closely with before and am working in a language I am understanding well but still am slow to speak in professional settings. I’m learning about the need for a ‘ship consigner’ and ‘shipping agents’ and all sorts of other terminology like ‘bill of ladding’ that I have had no need to know before now. I’m letting go of the beauty and comfort that surrounded me these last months in France and at home, and I’m letting go of the myth of being in control and finding it’s once again, another opportunity to trust.  

And yet in between the long long days, the twinkling sunlight and sweet birdsong call my name. I think I can honestly say that I’ve felt God closer than ever before these last 2 weeks. It’s not from anything I have done, but my eyes just seem to be open and I guess my desperate cries for help have had Him running. We have an amazing team of 6, which will grow to 12 in June. The welcome here has been warm – from the Government and even the Minister of Health himself, to generous expats sharing their experiences and time, to locals sharing their hearts and skilled taxi men who brave ridiculous traffic every day. Last week I was at a meeting of local Pastors and throughout the meeting, one man caught my eye. He had been silent throughout and right before the end of the meeting, he began to pipe up. He had been a patient on one of our ships in 1993 and had a facial tumour removed! He spoke of how his life had transformed and how the burden he had carried around for years was lifted. He spoke of the freedom he had found and the new future he had walked into. He summarized our message of hope and love better than I ever could. Once he had finished, I had to give a response, but how could I? Humbled by this man, humbled by the experiences of so many who don’t have access to the care they need and in awe of a God who cares. Privileged to be a part of bringing hope, knowing that all I have to bring to the table is crumbs but that my God would multiply them and prepare the way for many more like this man to know His love. There are moments I would jump on a plane and come home tomorrow and there are others I would lay down my life forever, and this was one of them. I’m so grateful for the small glimpses we see of God’s heart and the sheer privilege it is to walk with Him.
 
Our former patient friend and Pastor here in Senegal
 

The task ahead of us is huge. It’s tough, it’s messy, it is overwhelming and there’s a whole load of sticky situations to sift through in the coming months in order for the ship to arrive safely and for all our programs to be ready to start in full swing. I suspect sleep will get cut short and there won’t be so many mountain views, and I’d like to say there’s no place I’d rather be... but it’s not totally true! It’s a choice and a sacrifice but I can say I am very happy to be here, but I won’t pretend it’s comfortable. It surely is another opportunity to trust again and be reminded I was never in control anyway, even if I thought I was. And it surely is yet another time to appreciate the depths of relationship and the rich culture that I have only found on this sweet sweet continent.

I’m already looking forward to seeing the ship sail in and I’m praying every day that light will shine into every nook and cranny of this nation and that hope will be birthed in so many people’s lives and in ways that we wouldn’t even dare to dream of.

To Him be the glory.

Letting go of control, trusting and believing. Love always, KWW
 
 
Senegal Advance Team
 

 

Thursday, 31 January 2019

snowflakes

I felt a nudge to go out for a walk, with a conviction that God wanted to tell me something. The timing didn’t exactly fit with my overflowing day, but it was a nudge I couldn’t ignore. And it was walking down this hill that He whispered it to me, ‘are you beginning to understand now that I really do care about the details?’. And my eyes welled up, because how could I deny it?




I’ve always loved snow. And snowflakes. And sledges, since the beginning of time! I can still almost feel the red snow suit that I wore at maybe aged 3, and the feeling of being pulled along on a wooden sledge that my Dad made (I think it was him!). It’s partly the playful joy that it calls out of even the dreariest of days (or people!!) but it’s also the exquisite beauty that captures me. The pure, brilliant white, impeccably detailed, floating pieces of magic that dance down from the sky, simply capture my heart. They speak of the glory of God, and yet, they are only a mere glimpse. 







Last week as one of our first ‘real’ snow days set in, I sat like an expectant child waiting for the world to transform. I was doing homework but I couldn’t help keep on bobbing up from my seat to see if it was settling, to see if the grass was covered yet and eventually, to see how deep it had got. Would there be enough for a snowman? Would it stay? I waited as the blanket of white would gradually somehow blot out all the ugly bits of the landscape and turn it into a breath-taking winter wonderland. Only the God who created me knows how much I have missed winter and how many times I have longed to see scenes like this. Breathe. He is the God of detail….





He’s also the God who knows how much I miss Africa and how even writing that sentence fills my eyes with bulging tears…. I miss it more than words! I needed a break and I needed to breathe and I needed to learn a million things about humility and patience and trust and my God of detail…. but I’m ready to go back. I’ve decided to leave French School a little early (in 2.5 weeks time!) in order to take on the role of ‘Country Director’ for Mercy Ships in Senegal. The role starts the first week of March and I’ll be in Senegal full time sometime in April. The ship will dock in Dakar for 10 months starting this August and my job will be to head up the team before the ship arrives to arrange all sorts of logistics, as well as to continue to hold the baton, nurture relationships and evaluate what we have done programmatically after the ship has left. I’m thrilled. Senegal, we're delighted to work with you.


There are a million details to come together, but I ain’t gonna worry about them…. Beauty takes time and I’m just gonna keep bobbing up and down in the expectation that comes from knowing I have a Daddy I can trust… who has all the details in His hands and who transforms everything into a glimpse of His glory. May it be so…. 

Love always, KWW



Saturday, 15 December 2018

justice and love





If you only had two words to communicate in another language, what would you want them to be? 

Thankfully I’ve grown to beyond two words in French, but this last week I was deeply touched by two comments my teacher made. It feels like he never gives me much of a clue of how I am doing (and my marks are not always that impressive) and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wondered if he’s secretly wishing he had put me in a lower class - such is the power of insecurity, comparison and my imagination. But this last week he made two comments that caused tears to well up in my eyes. They were just in passing as he was explaining something else but they stood out to me. The first was, ‘… as we know how much Kirstie cares about justice’…. and the second, ‘… and as Kirstie is often reminding us, what does love look like?’. You know, there have been times in these last 3 months when I have literally wanted to walk out of the class in a flood of tears, when I have thought the mountain is way too high for me and that it really would be OK to give up. We speak French 100% of the time in our class (and even at break times), to the extent where I spoke in English to my 2 classmates a few days ago and we giggled at each other’s English accents as we had no idea what we sounded like in English until then! It’s exhausting and sometimes it feels like I spit out absolute nonsense, a jumble of words in a fearful attempt to break the silent, inquisitive, and yet, patient stare of my teacher who is waiting for me to contribute something to the debate. So when I heard that he knew I like to fight for justice and that I often want to ask what love looks like, I could have cried. If I have learnt to communicate nothing more than my love for justice and the power of love, I am satisfied! I am learning so many lessons here, not least that I don’t need to be perfect and I’m learning that compassion doesn’t get lost in my misplaced pronouns or my confused tenses.  Phew. 

Here are some other lessons I’m in the process of learning (in French, when you are in the process of doing something you say, ‘en train de’)… so I like to think I am ‘on the train’ of learning’ - It’s a journey:

-      I’m never alone, even if I feel like it
-      It’s no coincidence that this school is surrounded my mountains. I can look to them and be reminded where my help comes from every day - the maker of Heaven and Earth
-      You never know what God might be waiting to say to you. Make space for Him
-      I can do nothing in my own strength. Don’t even try
-      Patience + Trust = Peace + Joy. Without those ingredients, you will never find peace and joy. Fear and control are the usual contaminates. 
-      ‘you know your mind is renewed, when the possible looks logical’ Bill Johnson
-      Sometimes you just need to go outside and look at the stars
-      Are my language skills for my own glory or His? If not mine, then failure is merely an act of learning and not a statement about my identity
-      The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and when I don’t discern those things, I mustn’t align with what I see
-      Live generously. It’s always worth it
-      Friends are extremely precious
-      Grace and love for myself. Loads of it. (the train journey for this one seems longer than others)
-      Above all, worship our all-powerful, sovereign God. Start everything from that place and it changes everything. 


The view from my bedroom


 I’m so grateful for this season of language learning, but more than that, the opportunity to ‘renew my mind’. It was when I was reading an article a few weeks ago about the impossibility of learning a language if you’re over 30, that I realised something. I instinctively closed down the article half way through. I didn’t want to fill my mind with that! I find science fascinating, but who is to tell me my brain isn’t capable of learning anymore? So often, we are trained to look through our human eyes, to see what we can understand, and I’m sick of it! What’s the point of saying I believe in a God who can move mountains and that I can do even greater things than Jesus did on Earth and then settle for filling my mind with what I can understand? I’m not playing that game, sorry! I am realising I was made for a different reality.  

It’s so good to be on this 'train of learning'. It’s really, really good. It’s a gift and one that is preparing me for what is next. Plans are still forming with Mercy Ships but for now, I will be patient and trust and believe that all these lessons, as well as the French, will be put to good use one day. 

Sovereign in the mountain air, sovereign on the ocean floor,
With me in the calm, with me in the storm… 
Whatever comes my way, I will trust you. 
All my dreams, all my fears, held in your hands.
All my life, all of me, held in your hands. 

(Sovereign, Chris Tomlin)

May your lives be marked by justice and love as we celebrate the Prince of Peace. Emmanuel. 






Happy Christmas and so much love, KWW


Sunday, 4 November 2018

eternity's love

I’m a little bit lost for words at the richness of this season I’m in.  Whether it’s the gift of time and space, for the peaceful pull towards His heart, for wisdom out of nowhere, for clear night skies when I feel delightfully small and am reminded that my God is infinitely big and infinitely able, for dancing snowflakes that tell me He cares about the details too, for the colours of autumn tumbling down the mountain side, for birdsong, for fresh vegetables that I can create all sorts of things with, for majestical sunsets, for faith filled friends, for the things that are starting to make sense in French, for all the rich opportunities I have…. I could go on and on. I’m so surprised by this season of joy. 





But on top of all that I just got to spend a few days at Taizé – a community of a 100 or so Brothers who seek justice and unity. It all started with someone called Brother Roger in the 1940s and ‘The story of Taizé’ is well worth a read if you want to know more. During the second world war where Christians were killing each other, as well as being moved by the disunity amongst Christian denominations, Brother Roger writes, ‘I wondered if a way existed by which one person might understand another completely. I made a decision to assume that way does exist… it needed to begin with myself, to commit myself to understand everything of every other person and it would involve constant return…. I would try and understand everything, rather than try to make everyone understand me… it would involve a lifetime of kindness and mercy…’. 




Brother Roger believed that everyone is sacred, especially those in need. He set up the community in the village of Taizé because it was extremely poor – he believed Christ was closest to the poor and committed himself to a lifetime of poverty. He started alone, knowing he couldn’t force others to see the same way he did. The community now hosts thousands and thousands of visitors every year – 90% of whom are in their teens or twenties. 

Why am I sharing this? I guess because this place really touched me. To see the commitment of these brothers, to take part in their times of prayer, to witness and to join the singing which felt like it came from Heaven and touched my deepest parts and to be reminded that my life is not my own. 

Here are a few of the beautifully simple songs they sing:

Jésus le Christ, lumiére intérieure, ne laisse pas mes ténèbres me parler. Jésus le Christ, lumiére intérieure, donne-moi d’accueilir ton amour. (Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us. Let not my doubts or darkness speak to me. Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us. Let my heart always welcome your love)

Fiez-vous en Lui, ne craignez pas. La paix de Dieu gardera vos coeurs. Fiez vous en Lui. Alléluia, alleluia. (Trust in Him and do not fear. God’s peace will protect your hearts)

Veni Sancte Spiritus, tu iamoris ignem accende. (Holy Spirit, come to us, kindle in us the light of your love)

Ubi Caritas et amour, ubi caritas Deus ibi est (Where there is charity and love, God is to be found)




After several years working away with Mercy Ships and in this season of abundance, it’s tempting to feel the draw ‘home’. I miss my little flat, the independence, friends, family…. all those things. But at Taizé I was struck as I reflected on my motives. What is my life purpose? Brother Roger talks of Christ’s secret: that He loved us first and that the meaning of our life is therefore, ‘…to be loved forever, to be clothed by forgiveness and trust so that you can then take the risk of giving your life’. One visitor to Taizé talks of discovering, ‘… the deep significance of reconciliation, that living force of hope called forgiveness – not just words, but the means God gives us to live together in peace and understanding’. Taizé has been described as a, ‘springtime for all who are searching for true life’.

And suffice it to say, I found life there. More so than in the entangled thoughts of what the world might ‘owe me’ for my work the last 12 years, or the comforts I might be deserving of, given the sacrifices I had made. It all feels like such nonsense. Tempting, but nonsense. The devotion of these brothers truly touched me. They live out a ‘parable of Community’, not to draw attention to themselves but to point to something beyond themselves. 

I want to live a life that reveals something beyond myself. I want to joyfully use my gift of life for others. I can do that anywhere and I will try. But the subtle pull towards home, which represents ‘comfort and ease’ (for me) is nothing more than that. I’m not saying it represents comfort and ease for everyone – far from it, so don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I just want to do what I was created for and not get distracted by other ‘good things’. I want to use my life well and this visit allowed me to reflect a little on what that might look like. 

‘If a trusting heart were at the beginning of everything, you would be ready to dare a ‘yes’ for your whole life’ (Brother Roger). Trust reminds us that we are not the ones who have to accomplish everything ourselves and it was a reminder I needed. 

Life in Albertville continues until Easter and after that my plans are still unsure. I am inspired by Brother Roger’s lifetime commitment to kindness and mercy. I hope to keep working with Mercy Ships, but for now I’ll stick with receiving these abundant showers of love so that I can take them wherever my Jesus leads. 

Love forever, KWW x


From my bedroom window

Saturday, 29 September 2018

cliff jumping

4 weeks in and I’m thinking how interesting it is that you so often feel the weakest in the places you were created to be the strongest! There’s an enemy out there who opposes the will of God and he does anything to make us weak. I’m realising that this language learning thing is about so much more than just language. It’s taking so much courage to literally jump off the cliff everyday and it takes every ounce of my introverted spirit to interact ALL day long, to create opinions about things I don’t care too much about and to put all the theory into practice. 

I’m not unhappy – far from it – but I’m very aware that I’m on a journey. I need to overcome a lack of confidence and believe in myself. The fear of getting it wrong or the fear of sailing out into the unknown is real and it makes me want to stay on the safety of the shore. In those moments, I forget the goodness of God and I try to stay in complete control. I wait to hear the cheers that help me feel believed in before I make the jump – but I realise, I need to believe in myself. And it’s hard. Sometimes I’m not sure I can do it. I want to learn quietly in my own room and not out there where everyone can see and hear me. They might realise that I’m stupid after all! It’s a journey of self discovery; I don’t believe that I’m stupid – but somehow I fear, that maybe I am. Control and fear keep me silent and I have to generate the courage to jump off the cliff again and again. And I do. I’m jumping. But it’s taking all I’ve got. I’m realising how much I need to believe in myself so that courage would simply flow… I want to stop making myself small. But for that I need to let go of control. I need to trust that it’s going to be ok. 

Proverbs 31: 8&9
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy’.

It’s a braver journey than I had realised and I’d only do it for Him, for them, for the ones who need a voice. Something deep inside me believes that I was created to speak up for the ‘poor’ (I don’t like that word as most of the people it refers to are so rich in my eyes… but that’s another story…) and so I have to jump off this cliff. Everyday. I will not be made weak where I was designed to be strong! Give me strength to believe in myself, clear away those repeating lies. The ones that tell me people think I’m incapable, the ones that somehow get lived out and end up with an ugly twist of self prophesy. I want to believe in myself. I want to be all you made me to be. I need you to be strong where I feel weak. 

I’ll keep on jumping. I’ll do it for you and I’ll do it for them. I’ll do it for eternity, so that I, in turn, can believe in others. So that armies of those who have been silenced by poverty would rise up and be heard and believe that they have a purpose in this world too. May their passion erupt, may their joy and hope be complete. May the world be lighter because of it!

Proverbs 31: 25
‘She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come’. 

May it be so. 

Let my life be a song, revealing who you are… *

Courage and peace to you. Believe in yourself. 

Love always, KWW

(There's no doubt that it's a gift to be learning these lessons in such a beautiful part of the world….)










* from the song ‘Salt & Light’ by Lauren Daigle

Oh the beauty of the King
You make righteous those who seek
You have written and redeemed my story

Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are
For You are salt and light

Oh the love that set me free
You bring hope to those in need
You have written and redeemed my story

Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are

For You are salt and light
You are love's great height
You are deep and wide
A consuming fire

You are salt and light
You are love's great height
You are deep and wide
A consuming fire

Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are
For You are salt and light
You are salt and light
For You are salt and light
For You are salt and light