Editor’s Note: Deb Ralph of Oakhurst UMC in Seminole is leaving for a mission trip to Kenya, where she will work in discipleship and assist Bishop Justus Bundi Miriti with the project for disabled children. She has made several missionary trips to Kenya. This one could last for up to five years. Here, she explains the inspiration for this work and how God has guided her.
I went through a lay minister course when God put on my heart that I was called to be a missionary. During the course we answered questions to reveal our spiritual gifts. My predominant ones were Missionary, Evangelism, Apostleship, and Serving.
I remember telling the group that I knew that I was called to mission work in another country.
|Deb Ralph with the project leaders for the boarding school/home for disabled children.|
In November 2016, the Holy Spirit started to put Africa on my heart, and I began to talk about it with my closest friends and pastors. I kept seeing Africa everywhere I went.
A few weeks later, Pastor Rick Warren told the story on his podcast of a British man who God called to be a missionary in Africa, but he only had funds to get to London.
A friend stopped by to see him and said, “I thought you were going as a missionary to Africa; why are you still here?”
He told him he only had funds to get to London, and his friend replied, “Then that’s where you should go."
He had no money when he arrived, but God asked him what he would do if he had money right now.
The man thought, "I would go to the dock and buy a ticket on a ship to Africa."
The Holy Spirit nudged him, so he lined up to get on the ship. He was almost at the ticket kiosk and thinking how crazy he was when the man in front of him suddenly turned around and said, “I can’t do this, I’m not doing this.”
Then the stranger gave his ticket to the man.
I cried, prayed, and thanked God as the Holy Spirit helped me know for sure that I was to go to Africa, even if it seemed impossible.
Over the next six weeks, God put on my heart to get my finances in order, sell my home, sell everything I owned, and be ready to go!
My husband also had this on his heart as the right thing to do.
By mid-January 2017, we received an offer on our villa from a Christian couple, and the gentleman shared with me that God told him to DO it! The sale was to close on May 22, the day before my birthday. God had put on my heart two years earlier that when I turned 60, my life would change, and I would be traveling and happier than I have ever been
|Bishop Justus Bundi Miriti of Kenya|
My first trip lasted two weeks and involved spending time at the clinic their church had built. It was a perfect introductory trip for me. I met Reverend Susan Mukiri, and God just put us together. I accompanied her to services and learned a little about the way their church worked in the area.
I came home with my heart on fire for these people. They have few material things, but they are all so happy and so very close to God.
In January 2018, I went on my own for three weeks and stayed at Reverend Susan’s apartment and learned more about their culture and the day to day difficulties. They lack running water and electricity, and red dust covers everything. Getting anywhere is difficult and accomplishing even the simplest task can take much longer than one would think.
After another trip in January 2019, the Holy Spirit placed a burden on our hearts for a boarding school/home for disabled children. That is what I am headed back to Kenya to help accomplish.
I am praying that God will provide the means to accomplish this.
We know it will be a real blessing to the children and their families.