Junior Goes to Africa for Mission Trip

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Upon waking up, she is embraced by the peculiar aroma of a new culture’s breakfast. Colorful fabrics and homemade accessories fill her frame of view. With a heart full of Jesus, she is ready to minister to the people of Africa. Surrounded by children of joyous smiles, she soaks up every second of her trip.

During the fall semester, junior Nakayla Hill joined her parents and ministry on a mission trip to Mombasa, Kenya. After years of seeing her parents travel the world spreading the Word of God, Hill decided to leave the United States for the first time to do the same.

“A majority of my work on the mission trip was spent in a classroom setting,” Hill said. “My individual lesson consisted of teaching mothers how to discipline and raise rebellious children.”       

Over the course of her trip, Hill realized many differences in home-life dynamics of African families compared to American families. For instance, the concept of “babysitting” was seemingly foreign to the women of Africa.

“Throughout the week, I babysat the children for their parents,” Hill said. “African women spent every second with their children which made learning or everyday work opportunities harder.”

Aside from family dynamics, multiple other cultural distinctions caught Hill by surprise. Her view of American life and perspective began to change upon her time spent with the Kenyan people.

“It was crazy to see just how different [the Kenyan] lifestyle is from the American lifestyle,” Hill said. “There are a lot of things I personally realized I was taking for granted.”

Hill recalls being served small portions of food, some consisting of roaches and porridge. Although hesitant to eat it, Hill noticed just how excited the children were for their serving.

“I was overwhelmed with how spoiled we are as Americans,” Hill said. “The children and people of Mombasa wore the biggest smiles all week, even though compared to our society, they seemingly had less than we do.”

    The Kenyan people create homemade goods for their villages as a result of Mombasa’s lack of resources. The Mombasa civilians, for instance, sew and weave their own clothing, as well as make jewelry, hats and multiple souvenirs for the missionaries and tourists.

“I think they are more joyful than Americans because they make the best with what they have, because it is all they have,” Hill said. “Ultimately there was no changing their circumstances at the time, so they saw no purpose in dwelling on the situation.”

In addition to their help in perspective broadening, the people of Mombasa also encouraged Hill to become more intentional with her worship. By being exposed to their culture, Hill was able to pick up on the relentless gratitude towards God and the selfless worship towards Him.

“Around the city, there is a bell that rings when it’s time to worship,” Hill said. “No matter what people were doing at the time, they’d drop to their knees to pray. They worshipped anywhere and everywhere, which was amazing to watch and be a part of.”

Nakayla Hill and her family plan to go back to Africa next summer to further expand their missions. Hill has considered moving to Kenya due to her love of the culture and lifestyles of the Mombasa people.

“I encourage anyone thinking of going on a mission trip to do research,” Hill said. “The reality of the Kenyan people was so different than I expected, but I would not have changed a thing about the experience and the ministry.”

 

 

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