Finding Common Ground in Kenya: Guest Blog by Betsy Vaughan

On February 12, 2012, our team departed for mission trip to Kenya.  This was my 6th time visiting/teaching the people among the tribes of Kenya.

We taught in each church for two days.  On the first day our pastor’s wife (JoAnne) and I taught on the stories of the Woman at the Well, the Woman with  the issue of blood, the Shunnamite Woman, and the Good Samaritan. The next day four of us went in to the desert to evangelize.  The first community we came to was very poor and all were very undernourished.  You can usually tell they are not getting enough food by the color of their hair, which will be brownish-red instead of black.  The ladies were all believers and were very happy to greet us.

We invited them to ask questions.   Someone asked, “What would you do if your 16-year-old daughter came home pregnant?”  What a profound opportunity I had!   So I shared with them the story of my own daughter who became pregnant at the age of 16.  She remained in our home where we loved her unconditionally, continued to take her to church, and supported her.   Our church family accepted her and loved her through this trying time.  Our first grandson is almost 30 now!  The ladies in Kenya were so glad that I do not believe in abortion but very sad to know that abortion is legal in America.

The third day JoAnne and I taught the same lessons at another church.  The ladies asked us to teach on marriage upon our return next year.  They want to be better wives, even though many of them have to share their husbands with other wives.   Many of them also have been abused and mutilated.  It is sad, but very true.  It is so amazing to see the joy they have in the Lord under those circumstances!  They love the Lord and their desire is to please Jesus and learn more about Him.  Most of them cannot read, but the ones who do share the Word with others.  The Bible (in the Maasai language) is a very valuable possession and is treated accordingly.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think about these beautiful women and how they love our Lord and Savior and treasure His Word.

Their final question was “Do men in America abuse their wives and abandon their children?”  I thought wow, if you only knew!  Then God urged me to share what happened to me as a child.  God wanted me to share about how my daddy had abused and beaten my mother and abandoned us.  Usually when I am talking about this, I am somewhat angry.  However, the Spirit came over me and caused me to cry.  Suddenly all were crying.  I thought I might be kicked out of Kenya!  As it turned out, the tribal pastor’s wife, Alice, had experienced the same thing.  It was very emotional for her and all the women who loved her.  This is how God works when we allow Him to work in our lives.   Alice needed to hear that this had happened to someone else.  Someone on the other side of the world knows what it is like not to have a daddy.  We comforted each other and loved on each other.

Another way that God used me was to encourage two young ladies on our team who had never been out of America or on a mission trip.  At different times, God seemed to bring Scripture to mind that fit the particular circumstances.  How thankful I was that God allowed me this wonderful opportunity.

Yes, I would have to say this was a very special trip. It is so amazing how God can use each one of us, no matter our background.  The important thing for us to remember is to always be available for God’s purposes

Betsy Vaughan has been married to husband Joe for 50 years and were members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham, NC, for 32 years.  Since moving to Clayton, NC in 1999, they have been members of Hocutt Baptist Church.  They have two children, 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren that they simply adore.  Betsy has been privileged to go on joint mission to Kenya 6 times with her church and Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh.

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