Invited Into God’s Extravagant Love

Stacy Mallard

Stacy Mallard

Clarkston Campus Admin
“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious, but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG

Long before I’d ever heard of the Pokot people in Kenya, I remember listening to a song called “Two Weeks in Africa” about a young girl who traveled there on a mission trip. The lines in the song tugged at my heart every time. “He doesn’t need us, but He lets us put our hands in, so we can see His love is bigger than you and me.” God already gave me a passion for this people group—precious people who are living in some of the harshest conditions on earth—long before I heard the countless emotional stories of life-change and hope that were told through the lens of people who were forever changed by encountering them.

I was so ready that when Peg Ohman, who led the women’s trips to the Pokot casually asked if I wanted to go to Kenya, I immediately said yes.

The Women of Pokot trip focuses on coming alongside the Pokot women, sharing that while our circumstances are different, in our brokenness and need for Jesus we are alike. We are sisters in Christ. We taught them tangible skills like small business training, and we encouraged them to continue to study the Bible, lead their families and support each other. Although we shared our hearts with them, the lessons we learned from them were truly life-changing for us. Witnessing their authentic joy and faith in God’s provision in the midst of the hardships they faced daily was deeply moving. In their prayer requests, they did not focus on what we thought were the obvious needs—their lack of clean water, food, shelter—but they instead asked us to pray for their husbands and children to know Jesus, for their children’s education, and for peace in their homes.

Their selflessness forced us to ask ourselves what we are praying for each day. Are we putting other’s needs first? How often do we let our circumstances rob us of joy and peace?

Those lessons I learned on my trip to Kenya didn’t stop once I returned home. Through the women of Pokot prayer partner ministry, I had been corresponding with Monica, a mother of eight, for a couple of years. Her letters were full of hope and love for Jesus. Before my second trip to Kenya, she shared that her young, unmarried daughter was pregnant. She asked that I pray she would have a safe delivery and that she would continue her schooling. I prayed for her often, knowing that having an education makes a tremendous difference in the future of a girl in Kenya. Girls that stay in school are less likely to be married off at a young age, less likely to undergo the terrible cultural practice of FGM, and often return to their villages to be teachers or doctors, giving back to their communities.

On my second trip to Kenya, I walked toward the shade of a small tree behind a dining hall, where Monica greeted me and introduced me to her beautiful daughter, Josephine, and her adorable new grandson, Herbert! With Josephine interpreting, Monica told me that both were doing well and that she would be taking care of her grandson so that her daughter could return to school. She thanked me for my prayers and gave me a gift—a large jar of Pokot honey that she harvested! After we said our goodbyes, I walked into the dining hall and broke down. Weeping, I thought of how God had invited me to share in this moment. He didn’t need me, but He let me “put my hands in” and be a part of this family’s story, inviting me to observe how He loves, and how— literally—sweet His gifts are to everyone who trusts Him.

I’ve been fortunate to return to Kenya three more times, and each time I hear God reminding me to love like He loves. I was able to talk to Monica this past February, and she let me know that Josephine is now in college and that Herbert is a thriving 3-year-old. God’s love is truly extravagant. I want to love like that.

Short-Term Trip

Learn about the Kenya Women’s Ministry trip and many other opportunities to serve and love people around the globe at kensingtonchurch.org/go.

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