Monthly Archives: February 2013

Confessions of a Booty Shaking Missionary

Thank God for Beyonce’! I sat down to write this blog with the intention of writing about the heart wrenching pain I experienced when I left my daughters last week in Kenya for my 2 month furlough. I was going to write about the tears and how my heart has been ripped to pieces since being away from them. I was going to detail the long  ride to the airport and the look in their eyes as they said “Goodbye Mama, promise us you’ll come back” and then I was going to go into some deep parallel about Jesus. I was then going to share with you about how my first few days here in South Africa were filled with flashbacks of horrific rape stories, paranoia, and just intense reactions from the severe trauma I’ve experienced in Kenya. It was going to be good. It was going to be deep. You might have cried… But then Beyonce’ happened… and I mean, sometimes it’s just not that deep is it? Sometimes its just not about the deep Jesus parallel, sometimes its just about Beyonce’. I mean, it’s both right?… Yes, I did just say its sometimes about Beyonce’ and not the Jesus parallel. Uh oh, I hope the real Christians don’t read this one :/

What I mean is over the past three years since Ive been a Christian whenever I come home from Africa I feel this pressure. It’s like, everyone is expecting me to be this deep Christian missionary lady. And oh God, I guess in some ways I am! But like, I’m still me. I’m actually afraid of the deep Christian missionary ladies. If they found out that im prancing about abusing their title I think they would be very sad, and pray for me for a really long time. Like today, I sat down to write this blog and I got out my ipod and realized oh no! I only have deep Christian missionary lady music! Ah! What is this?! I’m on vacation! I don’t wanna be deep. I wanna dance! So I went and got my friends ipad and turned on Beyonce. Not gunna lie, I felt a little ashamed. As if all the deep Christian missionary ladies in all the world knew that I skipped my worship time today to shake my booty to Beyonce. But as I was cooking my breakfast, Bible closed, deep Christian missionary lady music out of sight, shaking my booty and singing at the top of my lungs to Beyonce I felt happy. And I felt like my friend Jesus was happy too! So I put the spatula down for a minute and listened. And I felt God saying to me that He loves it when I let go of that false responsibility I feel to be like everyone else, like every other Christian, like every other missionary. Yes, I’ve laid down my entire life for Him because that’s what He asked for. I’m in love with Him and I want to give Him anything He asks. But the beautiful thing is when I gave Him my old life, He gave me a new one. And this new life is fun because He is fun! And yes, sometimes its deep and its about rescuing sex slaves and counseling rape victims, but sometimes its also about closing the Bible, putting the “Christian music” away and going into the kitchen and shaking my booty to Beyonce with Jesus while frying my eggs. It’s both!

That’s what this week has reminded me of. I think I got so caught up in my life and raising our girls at home in Kenya that I almost lost my uniqueness. I almost lost what made me uniquely Brittanie and I don’t think that pleases God. He didn’t save me and then make me a carbon copy of most people that live the kind of life that I do. And honestly, its hard because many times I try to be that carbon copy especially at home in Kenya because I feel like that’s what im supposed to do. Isnt that how it goes? The young single missionary goes to a foreign land somewhere, becomes a mother of many, starts wearing long dresses and reads the Bible all day? Maybe for most people, but not for me. I know Him, I know my Jesus and I know that He loves me for who I am because He created me this way. In fact, I know that He likes to dance in the kitchen to Beyonce with me because I saw Him. I see Him. I see Him in the being a mom of rescued child prostitutes and sex slaves, and I see Him in the booty shaking 🙂

This trip has been so restorative for me. My God is so good, and He brought me here to South Africa and totally spoiled me! Ive had so much fun! And its only going to get better as I leave for America today. I will be there for 6 weeks. I love how when you give your life away to Him He always rewards you even when you least expect it! I miss my girls very much of course and much of my time is spent on the phone and the computer chatting to them and emailing with them about school and swimming and what they ate for dinner. But that is my pleasure. Its what I love. I love my dinner dates being interrupted by my 13 year old yelling into my phone “Hi Mama, what are you doing? Guess what happened at school today”! I live for that. I actually enjoy having to sneak out of the movie theatre in the middle of the movie to read an email from my 9 year old because im just too excited to read it to wait for the movie to finish first. I love not buying that pair of shoes I see in the mall because I want so badly to put our girls in a better school. It actually just really brings me so much joy. And even in the missing them, in the longing for the ones the Lord has chosen to trust me with, my sweet girls who turned my whole world upside down, I am reminded of the both. I also really got joy out of the full body massage and facial that I was blessed with in Cape Town this weekend. I also got lots of joy from meeting up with old friends and laughing and sharing like old times. I enjoyed last night when I had dinner with my girlfriends and we ate dessert, drank cosmos, and talked about boys. I love that its both. I love that its not always that deep, because then when it is its an absolute joy!


“Mama, You’re Pregnant!”

Her name is Beauty. Well, not really, but we’ll call her that for now. She’s ten years old. She’s pocket-sized, cute as a button. Her waist is tiny and she dangles her skinny little legs in her blue jean skirt as she speaks to me. The moment we met she looked at me and whispered to my oldest daughter “She looks like my mom”. Her biological mother died when she was just days old. She only knows what she looks like because of pictures and because of something familiar that she saw in my eyes the moment our gazes met. I wanted her. I wanted her so bad. I said to God out loud, “Please God, give me this girl for Christmas”. My oldest daughter said to Beauty “Tell Mama what happened. You can trust her.” She looked up at me so bashfully and didn’t say anything. I reached my arms out to her and gestured for her to come sit on my lap. She came and at first she was as stiff as a board. But then she looked in my eyes again and her body melted. She leaned into my neck and she told me. She told me her story. She let me in just a little of what life as a 10 year old prostitute is like. First she lied and said it only happened twice, but the more time we spent together and the more she came to trust me the truth began to come out. Dingy hotel rooms, being smuggled into nightclubs, holding the 50KSH (less than $1) payment in your hand  after its all over. My heart absolutely broke. I looked at her tiny waist, her flat chest, her chubby cheeks and tried to imagine how anyone could ever be sexually attracted to her. She’s just a baby. She’s a kid. I couldn’t understand how a man could even lay on top of her without crushing her to pieces. Then there He was again- Hope himself. I intentionally stopped looking at the tragedy of the situation and switched my gaze back to Jesus. I told myself that I could cry about this later, but for now I had to figure out how to help this little girl, this precious little girl that started calling me Mama after just 2 meetings.

After a few meetings with Beauty my heart began to fill with intense joy. I was hoping and scheming to bring her home with me to live here at Bella House. I’d finally gotten permission from all the necessary people and I was ecstatic! I would lay in bed at night and imagine there being six  goodnight hugs instead of five, sixty goodnight kisses instead of fifty (they like 10 each). Which bed would she choose? What will her favorite color be? How many times a day would I get to tell her I loved her? What will her laugh sound like? What’s her favorite food? About two days before I was planning on bringing her home my joy was bubbling over everywhere and my kids noticed that something was different. They sat me down one day in the sitting room and asked very seriously “Mama, why are you so happy?!”. I told them that is was a surprise and I would tell them tomorrow. Then out of nowhere one of my 13 years olds blurted out in KiSwahili “Mama, u na mimba!” (Mama, you are pregnant). Then they all looked at me and it was like a light came on for all of them. “Yes! Yes! Yes, Mama! U na mimba! We are getting a new sister!! Ahhhhh!!!” Those words pierced my heart and I broke down and told them the truth, yes, in just 2 days I would be bringing a new girl home. I was in fact “pregnant”. They all rejoiced and were so excited.

Unfortunately this story doesn’t end the way I’d hoped it would. Beauty didn’t come home with me that Friday. I got the news that she wasn’t coming on Thursday after doing a final interview with her. I cant describe how that felt. Inside she was already my daughter. I loved her already. Each of my daughters is engraved into my heart forever, I felt the Lord etching Beauty’s name in right beside the other five names. I cant describe what that feels like. I guess many of you reading this will understand that because you are parents yourself. When I got the news that she wasnt coming I begged and I pleaded and I did all I could to stand up for my baby girl. But it didnt work. It felt as if someone had ripped my child right out of my arms. After the meeting I had to take her back home barely able to touch her or look into her eyes because the pain of loosing her was just too much. I managed one last glance into her eyes when she jumped out of the vehicle to go home. When I looked up I expected to see a face as sad as mine was. But instead I was met with a huge smile and an excited wave goodbye. I promised her that I would pay for her to go to school and help her grandmother start a business so they could have food everyday without her having to sell her 10 year old body. Then I did the only thing I could do: I left and kept loving. This time choosing to keep loving really hurt because it looked like letting go. It looked like walking into our huge, beautiful, safe, house where we eat three times a day and former child  prostitutes spend their time studying and worshiping Jesus, where we have three empty beds waiting to be filled, and knowing that my Beauty still lives in a small mud house, sleeps in a small bed with four other children, and chances are that she’ll still go out at night and sell her 10 year old body when the food runs out and she remembers what she can buy with that 50KSH (less than $1). I considered just trying to forget her. I considered just throwing some money at the situation and running away from the relationship because I didn’t think I could bear it because I love her so much.God has given me this crazy supernatural love for my girls that I just cant explain. But, as I was considering running away from love I felt Holy Spirit asking me that same question He’s been asking me since this all began. What does adoption look like? Family is forever. You can’t be un-adopted. As I was thinking about this I was shocked at my selfishness in wanting to run away from a child that I know God has given me as my own, weather she lives with me or not. I was shocked at how quickly I would choose abandonment over love. I’d rather abandon her to keep myself from hurting than give just a few extra hours per week to going to her home and loving her anyway. Loving her even though it hurts, loving her even when I see her hurting, loving her even when I already know the answer to the question “what did you do last night”. I don’t want to love with a wimpy love. I want a “love anyway” kind of love. The same love that saved me. The same love that loved me anyway. The same love that continues to love me anyway. I’m such a mess, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes I forget to buy food for breakfast and I burn lunch, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes I pretend to be checking my kids’ homework, but really im just staring at the paper and daydreaming about eating a brownie or drinking a momosa, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes i’m impatient and have to count to 10 quietly in my head before answering my 13 year old when she asks me for the millionth time “Mama, when you go to America are you coming back?” or else I will explode… but He loves me anyway. He even loved me before I came home into His heart. He loves me weather I live in His house or not. Little Beauty will not be coming to live with me in Bella House, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s my daughter and just like I pour out my life for my other girls, I want to pour out hours and hours and days and years of my life loving her anyway….
For Love’s sake

To help me send Beauty to school and help her grandmother start a small business to feed the family please click the “donate” button.