Why So Surprised?

Short post today, but I’ve just really gotta get this off my chest.

Very few things upset/disappoint/sadden me as much as my fellow Christians exhibiting outrage when persecuted. There is no humility in outrage. There is no love in outrage. There is no witness in outrage. The only times outrage was clearly justified within New Testament Scripture were when God’s Church or temple were defiled (when Christ overturned the vendors’ tables in the temple, when Paul called Christians to excommunicate those among them bringing evil into the Body, etc).

People, this is what we committed to when we chose to walk with Christ. Christ warned us time and time again that, hey, if you choose to walk with me you’re gonna have a tough time at points. It’s to be expected that people who don’t know Christ will act as, well, people who don’t know Christ (1 Cor. 5:12). So why do we act so surprised and angry when we get some flak?

I yearn for a day when Christian culture in America realizes that we have no greater opportunity to be a witness for Christ than to respond to all forms of persecution with the love, humility, and grace first shown to us by Christ. Please, I implore you today to dare to try to be like the Lamb who didn’t even begin to protest when falsely accused, tortured, and crucified. Let’s show the world something radical: an unnatural love it cannot know outside of Christ.

My Second Meaningful Encounter at One Simple Old Stoplight

Yesterday, I had my second meaningful encounter at one specific stoplight in Seattle. Some of you know about the time I was blessed by a stoplight that skipped me three times and allowed me to talk with an incredibly kind homeless man, reminding me that things we view as inconveniences are sometimes God’s way of telling us to slow down and look around.

Yesterday afternoon, I met a man named Doug at that stoplight. I pulled up and saw a homeless man with a sign that summarized a life-changing episode, saying, “Laid off, now homeless, need work.” I looked around my car to see if I had anything to give him real quick. Nope, nothing. Then I remembered that I had some extra snacks that my boss let me take home from work today.
“Hey buddy,” I called and signalled him over. “How’s it going?”
“Eh I’m alright, how about yourself?” he replied.
“No complaints here. Hey, what’s your name man.”
“Doug.”
“Hi Doug, I’m Christopher. I just wanted to let ya know that I’ll be praying for ya. Also, I work at a cafe and have some snacks from work here. Would you like them?”
“Uh, sure,” he said, seeming kind of startled. He probably didn’t expect to encounter a guy with a little pink cardboard box offering some strange looking South African treats.
As I handed him the treats I told him, “You know, I was almost homeless once. Just last year.”
“Really? What happened?” he asked, obviously surprised.
“Lost my job, just like you. I was just kinda lucky that my parents and roommates could spot me money for my rent for a couple of months. I understand how difficult of a time it can be though, not knowing where your money for life will come from. You’ll be in my prayers man.”
Doug then reached into his pocket and pulled out the white slip that I’ve included a picture of.
“Here, these are thank you notes of sorts.” After he said this he took a bite of the spinach and feta roll I’d given him. “Wow, these are really something! Thanks!”
His face lit up just a bit and suddenly my insignificant gift was actually worth something. I hope I brightened his day at least a little.

After that my light turned green and I had to drive off, but I would like to try to do a little more for Doug. You see, his note shows that what’s happened to Doug could really happen to any of us. He has a degree in CIS and has had work his whole life. Right now he’s just hit a hard time, as many of us will at some point. So I need your help. If you know of any opportunities for work for Doug in CIS somewhere, please let me know. Or if you might know anyone who might know someone, please share this with them. Help me to make Doug’s day even better.
God bless you all.

I’m In Africa!

Wow. I’m actually here. I keep re-realizing that I’m finally in Africa. For the first time in five years I’m actually back in the place that I feel God ultimately calling me to in my career. Every time that I re-realize that I’m really in Africa, that I’m really here on this adventure, I honestly can’t help but get the biggest smile. I love it. It just feels me with the greatest joy. I love Africa and I seriously can’t wait to begin my career here whenever God allows that.

So, right now I’ll tell you a bit about the start to my time here in Nairobi. Working with Africa Inland Mission, I’m with a pretty diverse group of people from all over the world. It’s been pretty neat interacting and talking to people from Canada, the UK, Germany, and other parts of the US here in Kenya. Right now I’m at a guest house going through orientation and training in Nairobi before going to our ministry location elsewhere in the city.

Some things about my experience in this temporary living situation:
I have an awesome British roommate who is thoroughly entertaining. His name is James King. He told me this morning that he has the most biblical name. There is the book of James, the books of First and Second Kings, and the King James Version of the Bible. I must say, he does have a good case made. Hahah. In conversation today and last night I have learned the following phrases from him (and more):
The Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys – The French. This one made me laugh soooo hard. “We whipped the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys in the Battle of Agincourt.”
Risk it for a chocolate biscuit – If you wanna risk something for a big possible gain. “Yea, the bloke decided to shoot on goal instead of pass to a teammate on his free kick. I guess he wanted to risk it for a chocolate biscuit.”
Lovely jubbly – You might use this expression about a drink or food that you really enjoyed. “That dinner was just lovely jubbly.”
I could murder that – If you really ‘fancy’ something. “Oh I could murder that pint of ale. It was so good.”
Yea, this guy is pretty great. Haha. He’s going up to serve in the north of the country though, so I won’t be with him after today. But my time with him has been fun.

I’m also rooming with my ministry partner Jason Lambert (from my mom’s land down south, Georgia). I think we’re going to get along really well. From what I’ve seen so far, it seems we have some really complementary strengths and characters. We move into our place tomorrow. We’re super excited to just start living life alongside the guys we’ll be ministering to. Jason’s interested in working in business with a positive social impact, so it’s been cool hearing some of his hopes for that since it’s a common interest of ours.

During our training, the missionary’s kids were out in the backyard playing. He mentioned that they were chameleon hunting. As soon as he said that, I wanted to go out and chameleon hunt with them! Who wants to study cultural sensitivity when you can be chameleon hunting with a 6 and 8 year old!? Lol. What’s funny here is apparently Kenyans are like deathly afraid of chameleons. They look at PJ (the missionary) like he’s crazy for letting his kids play with chameleons. Apparently there are some beliefs that they’re incredibly venomous. There is also a proverb/belief type thing that once one bites your hair it will never let go. Was pretty funny to me. I’m sure we have pretty funny fears in the U.S. too though that foreigners don’t understand. Who knows what they are though. Lol.

I had tea today with a German woman ministering in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (where I’d like to work in my future). The first awesome thing for you to note in that sentence is the tea part. We have a morning and an afternoon tea every day here. IT’S AWESOME! I feel like I’m in Hobbiton having first and second breakfastes. Pippin and Merry would love it here. (I dearly hope you understand my Lord of the Rings references…Lol) But besides that, I was able to speak a little bit with her about the DRC. I was able to actually learn from someone who has seen the damage done by rebels and the LRA firsthand and who has seen things improve in some ways from previous points. I was also able to discuss some development things I’ve studied and hear what she sees a need for in the society and what the failings in the area have been. Toni (the German) has been in the DRC for over 30 years. She was there when it was still Zaire. This time was awesome. Toni was awesome. God is awesome.

Ultimately today, in the words from LEGO Movie, everything is awesome. I’m so grateful that God has brought me here in this moment and that he used you people to supply my every need in preparation for this trip. Life is good and, I must say, I am incredibly happy. This is most definitely where I am supposed to be right now.

I’m Going to Kenya!

Dear Friends & Family,

I hope this letter finds you well!  Life has been full of a lot of things for me lately.  I’m currently in my junior year at SPU as a Global Development major, serving as the administrative assistant on the Sharpen ministry team at SPU (Sharpen is a hospitality ministry tasked with creating opportunities for community for off-campus students at SPU), working as a barista at a South African café by the name of Cederberg Tea House (Come visit me at work for some good eats and drinks!), and now preparing to serve with Africa Inland Mission this summer in Nairobi, Kenya!

 

I have a strong love for the people of Africa, their unique stories, and their cultures.  At this time it seems that God is allowing me to serve in Africa for my second time before I’ve begun my full career.  When I was in high school I had an opportunity to serve on a team with Adventures in Missions in Swaziland.  Now I’ll be serving in Nairobi with Africa Inland Mission alongside local missionaries and one other short term missionary from the US.

My primary ministry will be taking on a discipling and mentorship role for young men going through a vocational training program put on by the Africa Inland Church.  For many participants, this program is the only chance at a life outside of poverty.  Also, many of these young men have aged out of an AIC orphanage and struggle with identity issues, having no family or tribe to identify with.  Not only will I provide companionship, discipleship, and counsel, but I’ll also learn plenty myself from these men.  This will be an opportunity for me to grow and learn alongside young men whose own spiritual and physical conditions are also being nurtured.

My secondary ministry will be serving in the Kibera slum alongside the organization Spur Afrika.  My tasks will likely vary widely, but I will likely be working with youth primarily (through sports if I’m lucky!).  Kibera.org says of the slum, “…money cannot help without people to direct it – all the organizations require assistance.  They all need intelligent, keen, willing, and compassionate people to help…Many could work in Kibera, where they would achieve a real sense of doing some good.  Kibera is crying out for people to help.”  I hope to be able to fill some needs in whatever ways God leads while I’m ministering in Kibera.

 

As I prepare for this trip, I have needs that I would appreciate your assistance in!  For one, I could definitely use your prayers!  Please pray for the following:

–          That God would prepare me spiritually, physically, and mentally for ministry in Nairobi.

–          That He would guide me in my preparations for the trip and keep things smooth as I take the necessary steps to make this trip happen.

–          That He would prepare hearts and minds for the works and words that my mission teammate and I will bring.

–          That He would teach my teammate and myself many things before, during, and after our trip.

–          That He would open hearts and bring all of the financial support needed by myself and my teammate.

–          And that He would make his name glorified through us.

 

Also, I need to raise $3,600 more by May 2nd for this trip!  Two weeks to go! Whew, we’re on a crunch! If you have even $5 that you can donate I would greatly appreciate it. You can donate to my trip and help establish God’s work by going to aimint.org/usa/, clicking on “Online Giving” under the “Giving” tab, and finding my name under “Missionaries (from USA)”.  You can also give me a written check or cash to put towards my funding.  All donations are tax deductible; and all checks should be made out to Africa Inland Mission. Please do not place my name anywhere on the check – instead use the included form. All checks should be sent directly to me, so that I may record them and then pass them on to AIM.  All donations will be incredibly appreciated and will be blessed by God above (2 Cor. 9:6-15).

I will periodically provide updates on my preparations and then hopefully on my trip itself on my blog.  I hope you all have a pleasant spring and remember me in your prayers!

 

Sincerely,

Christopher Haylett

 

 

P.S. Some fun facts about where I’ll be serving:

  • The 14th largest city by population in Africa, Nairobi is known by much of the world as the hub of East Africa.
  • A neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, the Kibera slum is the second largest in Africa, with anywhere from 200,000 to one million residents.
  • The Economist published an article in 2012 suggesting that Kibera “may be the most entrepreneurial place on the planet” and that “to equate slums with idleness and misery is to misunderstand them”.