The Road to the Valley

By Sarah Portis, 2013 Core Team Member

Let me set the layout for you a little bit so that you can better understand where my heart is coming from, because this might not be an easy post to read. It sure wasn’t an easy one to write.

We are staying at a really nice house in a relatively safe and comfortable town called Kijabe. Most of the places and organizations that we work with are ‘down in the valley,’ as we like to call it, or we work with a few places that are further up the mountain as well. So most days consist of the 20-30 minute drive down or up the mountain to see all of our friends, of course to be followed by the drive that it takes to get back to our ‘home’ at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong, there is need, and a lot of it right here in Kijabe…and a lot of people are called to serve right here. As a matter of fact, most people, myself included, have given up a lot to be here and life still isn’t close to the comfortable that we are used to in America. It just doesn’t compare to the need that we face every day in the valley.

While this has never sat just right with me, it has become increasing harder for me to drive away from all of the need that I see. The ride up from the valley seems to get a little longer every day. How can I stare their need in the face, tell and share with them God’s love and then go back into my little comfy safety zone? I don’t know about you but I take the verse quite literally when God says that if I have two coats and my neighbor doesn’t have one than I should give him one of mine. I know what a lot of you would say to me because you have said it before…and I have tried, almost daily, to say it to myself as well. I would argue that I could run myself ragged. I would say that I need to be a good steward of my money. I’ve even heard the ‘if you pour everything that you have out, you won’t have any more to give.’ Burnout is simply too easy and risky if you were to station yourself in the valley. I don’t say this to make any of you feel guilty or upset about thinking that way…it really is only natural to say and think those things. While it truly has been nice to stay where we are living here in Kijabe this summer, and I wouldn’t trade this time for anything, I have applied this line of thinking to my own life back in America. How easy is it for me to take the ‘road to the valley’ thinking in almost every situation I face? Living in Nashville, I pass countless homeless people every time I decide to leave the comfort of my campus. I can give them some food, maybe buy one of the papers that they sell and then take the road right back to my little comfort zone without every really connecting with one of those people personally. Or even if I do make super good friends with one of them, as I have here, I leave each and every evening for the comfort of a good meal with a bed and running water.

Another question that I can’t shake from my mind is what kind of impact is this making on those in the valley? They see me come in and spend time with them and then go back up the mountain, without being gracious with the things that I claim a gracious God has given me.

So where does this leave us? I understand that not everyone can move to the valley (though it is my hope and prayer to be there very soon, and I truly believe that many or you will be called to move to your own ‘valley’) nor is that what I am asking you to do. I have simply written this post so that you can ponder these thoughts with me. Luke 12:38 tells us that “to whom much has been given, much is to be expected.” What have you been doing with what you have been given? Are you taking the ‘road up the mountain’ or will you join me in camping in the valley for a while?

Read more from Sarah here: http://sarahportis.wordpress.com

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