June 2014 mission trip participant Jaley Montgomery shares a heartfelt account of her experience in Kenya:
Over ten years ago, God started speaking to my heart telling me I needed to go to Africa. Little did I know that His speaking to me had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the prayers of a widow named Josephine.
Four years ago, Josephine was doing well. She had cow, which provided important nutrients and income to the family, and a water tank that provided her with clean drinking water. Then, her estranged son returned to her home and promised to care for her. In the days and weeks ahead he took out a loan in his mother’s name and put her cow and water tank up for collateral. As soon as the money arrived, he left town. When the bank arrived at Josephine’s home to take her cow and water tank, she suffered a stroke.
For four years she has been faithfully praying to God to supply her needs. She no longer had the nutrients from the milk that she desperately needed or the income the extra milk provided, and she had to walk 2-3 miles each morning to gather her contaminated water for the day. Life was hard, but her faith persevered.
Meanwhile in the United States over those 4 years, God moved me from Indiana to Missouri. He put me in touch with amazing people with a heart for missions, and two years ago I learned about this trip and these amazing widows. One year ago I decided to go. When I asked you for support you came through in miraculous ways. I needed $4,000 to go on this trip, and with your help I raised almost $6,000. With your help, we bought Josephine a cow and a water tank. You also helped me spend a week at a school to offer music therapy to children with autism and a variety of other special needs.
On a cool June afternoon, a large group of people walked to Josephine’s home. We had arranged to have the water tank delivered while we were at the workshop making paper bead crosses. When she turned the corner of her yard and saw a water tank sitting there, this woman in her mid 60’s instantly fell to her knees and began to worship God. Soon after she fell to her knees she was on her face, on the ground, crying and shouting praises out to God. It was a moment I will never forget. It was a moment you made happen. She didn’t even know the cow in the yard that she had been caring for the last few weeks (that is pregnant!) actually belonged to her. She just knew she had clean water and for that she was face down before God.
When she stood up, we told her about her cow. She let out shouts of praise and all of her widow friends began to sing praises to God. We laughed, we sang, and we certainly cried. I told Josephine that God loves her so much that He went years before her need to start speaking to hearts, to prepare my mind, to prepare people financially to donate money to support this trip. He truly “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) and here is a cow to prove it. He knows her every need and it took many, many people (some I had never met before) to come together to meet her needs. He knew her needs and starting working years before the need was ever present to make sure that His child would be taken care of.
The next day, I watched Josephine from across the room in the workshop. She had a huge smile on her face almost the entire day. Toward the end of the day she sat next to me and grabbed both of my hands with hers. With a huge smile she said, “You are…you are my very best friend.” She told me she would pray for me and that she wanted to pray for my family. She also told me she was going to pray for each person who helped me raise money for this trip. That’s you! She said she would think of us all and pray blessings upon us often. We had a wonderful conversation, and she was so thankful to all of you. I showed her the pictures that I am attaching in this letter. When she saw them, she put her hands up to her mouth and her entire face lit up.
I cannot thank you enough for contributing to my trip through finances and prayers. I will never be able to give you back what you gave to me, but I promise to spend the rest of my life paying it forward. I am forever changed. I will always cherish this experience and the lessons learned. I will also hold in my heart (as I hope you do as well) the story of Josephine and be reminded that God goes before us and He makes a way where there seems to be no way. As my Kenyan friends would say, “Asante sana!” (Thank you very much!)
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner Jesus, has entered on our behalf.