Tori Greave’s Intern ReflectionsFebruary 24, 2014 by Diana Coombs
Tori Greaves served as a a children’s home intern in Ilula for two months in 2013
When I first came to Africa five months ago with a study abroad program in Tanzania, I had my life all planned out. Well, not entirely, but I knew exactly what the next two years would hold. I would come back to America, find a paid internship for the summer, and jump back into school with new ideas and experiences that would help me then to figure out the rest of my future. But before I knew it, Africa began to surround me and to seep inside of me. Living in a place where people can hardly plan for tomorrow, let alone the next month or year, is a reminder that it is God who really does, or should control your life and future. It is then that I began to pray some dangerous prayers.
“God, I want you to lead me. Teach me to follow, to surrender.” I still remember sitting out by the river near our campus offering up that prayer. I also remember the curious, but tentative email I sent out to Amy Rogers just to see if maybe, possibly (but probably not) God wanted me to stick around in Africa. Two weeks before I was supposed to board my plane flight to America, His answer was a clear and terrifying, “Yes!”
So I traveled to Kenya, afraid and alone, to be a Children’s Home intern for two months in Ilula. But it did not take long for God to banish the fear and the loneliness, replacing it with the loving and joy-filled relationships I would find in Kenya. During the next two months, I would plug into a family in the home, gaining twenty-nine crazy and excited brothers and sisters. I would work alongside my “Mama” daily, laughing and praising God for the simple joy of our work. I would travel with my “Baba” (father) to his church in the community, where to be a “guest” means that you are welcomed like royalty. Also, I would venture out with the other leaders from ELI to see the incredible ministries out in the communities, and how God is using them to truly empower lives.
As I was leaving, I began to see how my own life had been affected, how I had been empowered as well. It is not only the East Africans who are impacted through ELI, but every person who is blessed to come in contact with their ministry. During my two months, I had been filled with joy, with new ideas, and especially with a growing and powerful sense of who God is. Though my “Bye-bye” ceremony was emotional and hard, it reminded me again of just who had led me there in the first place – who had blessed and filled my time. The last song we sang together was in the local Kalenjin language:
“Ndoiywa, ndoiywa” or “God, lead me.” It is the prayer that lifts me up and gives me hope as I travel back to America and into the bright and beautiful unknown ahead of me.