When a Heart Breaks

Nov 9, 2018
This past week, I had the opportunity to go into one of the larger slums here in Nairobi, Kenya. What I imagined going into it was quiet streets, unhappy faces, garbage everywhere, and not seeing too many people. But I was wrong on so many levels. The streets were full of people washing clothes, going from one place to another, and talking to one another. And the kids, they were running up and down the streets playing with whatever they had. Some were playing with tires, others with a ball, some just with garbage that they found. But the thing that surprised me the most is the amount of happy people and smiles I saw. Sure there were some unhappy and sad looking faces. But a majority of them were happy. This is when my heart broke. It broke because I saw the conditions they live in. It broke because this is all they know. It broke because I know how much more is out there. It broke because I knew there was nothing I could do about many of those issues.

I was talking with my friend about this later and she reminded me of some very important things. I was reminded that I could pray for what I saw. Prayer is the most important thing I can do yet it is usually the last thing I resort to. Why is it that it feels like praying does so little when it actually does the most?

I also struggled with all that I have at home. I have all that I need plus more. These people have so little and much less than what they need. Yet, I could give everything that I have and there would still be a need in the world that no amount of money and giving can fix. But I have to remember that God does not ask me to give everything that I have, but to be faithful with what I do have, in whatever form it may take. Whether that means going overseas on mission trips, giving to the poor, housing people, or even adopting a child.

Yes, my heart broke going into the slum and yes, it broke seeing the conditions they live in. But — I know that God is putting my heart back together and reshaping it into a way that brings Him glory and honor. I am still not sure what this all looks like or if I am even ready for what it looks like. Yet, I know with God’s support and grace I can do it.


Written by: Jessica Colwell (lived in Kenya for a few months)

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