Hello My Old Heart – by Angie van Broekhuizen
I am excited to share with you a few stories from my experience in Kenya. First off, let me begin by introducing myself. In 2007, I was blessed to gain a wonderful roommate who happened to be the daughter of two incredible people, Merrell and Cheri McIlwain. Merrell is the Chairman and President of the Board for Possibilities Africa here in the US. Through the years, Merrell has given me the opportunity to design PA newsletters, promotional materials and now the new website, as well as videography and editing work. I was thrilled when he asked me to join him and his small (but amazing) team from South Carolina on the mission trip this past July. With my experience in graphic design and videography, I developed a plan to capture the visual story of PA. With the PA staff’s assistance, I was able to capture 17 full interviews, over 1000 photos and countless ideas for future designs and stories. Not too bad for ten days!
That being said, the technical aspects went very well and I accomplished my “mission” so to speak. Thanks be to God that there was also a spiritual impact on my personal life. It would be most honest of me to say that I went into the trip without trusting God for much, but He still showed up in spite of my weakness. Due to years of pain and various struggles within my family, my heart had become callused and I knew it all too well. The first day we were there, I felt led to ask God to open my heart up to His plan for the mission trip and His plan for my life. I asked Him to tear down walls I had created and cried out for Him to use me, even though I was just the videographer. As Matthew 7:8 so clearly states, “Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” God answered, and softened my heart for the people of Kenya, for the staff at Possibilities Africa and for the future of Africa. It is amazing how God shows up, when we ask and even when we don’t.
Merrell made a comment in one of our first meetings, that will stick with me forever. He basically said that God could have done a million different things to make transformation happen, but instead, God calls us, his weak human followers to witness to other children of God. In that moment, I remembered who I was created to be…a witness of God’s unfailing love and mercy, and a witness of His greatness and his compassion. Before that moment I was having a hard time “hearing” my heart. There’s a song by a group called, The Oh Hellos, that sums it up well:
Hello, my old heart
How have you been?
Are you still there inside my chest?
I’ve been so worried
You’ve been so still
Barely beating at all…
Needless to say, the mission trip, the Possibilities Staff members, and each and every team member on the mission trip, contributed to God showing me my “old heart” and His heart for his people. I failed to express all of my gratitude to the whole team, because I was led to tears when I tried to explain what God had done in my heart. Therefore, in dedication to our wonderful savior and in thanks to the beautiful people that I was able to serve with, I write this short post. It is true that a mission trip will change your life, this one has made a huge impact on mine.
Peace in Christ,