Posted by: mckenzie | October 8, 2008

finding joy every single day.

I am back to absolutely loving Africa. We all knew it wouldn’t take too long. It’s impossible to not love a place so full of God’s love and beauty. While I was all down and out a couple weeks ago, I just started praying relentlessly that God would allow me to find the joy and beauty in every single day. I did not want a single day to go by that I did not stop and look around and remember again how blessed I am to be where I am, when I am; precisely placed in this situation by God to do all I can to bring glory to Him. He has answered my prayers and then some. In the past few weeks, I feel like God has just been throwing little ideal moments at me to remind me to be joyful always and to stop pretending like I don’t have anything to be thankful for. I’ve seen more perfect sunsets in the past few days than I have seen in my 19 years of living all together. I’ve made some incredible new friends, that I know wont be just friends in Africa, but will continue to be in my life after returning home. I’ve seen new places in Ghana, been to a completely new country (Togo), and learned bits and pieces of new languages over the past weeks. I’m in Africa for crying out loud. If that’s not something to be thankful for and excited about, I don’t know what is.

I am reading an awesome book right now (also a movie, haven’t seen it yet, heard it’s great too) called Into the Wild. A couple great quotes that stuck out to me and encouraged me…

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

“You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.”

Thought these were nice, and extremely relevant to this stage of my life. Yay joyfulness.

In other news, this past weekend was fantastic. Me and 8 other friends took a trip to another country with no plan or agenda. We traveled across the eastern border to Togo, a super skinny, usually overlooked west African country. We decided late late late on Thursday night that we would go to Togo on Friday morning. We set out with no idea how we would get there, where we would stay, what we would do, or how long we would go. Somehow it all worked out and ended up being one of the most enjoyable and memorable weekends we have had yet.

It was so crazy to see how as soon as we crossed the border of Ghana and Togo there was such a stark difference between the two countries. Different language, different currency, different forms of transportation. We were so lucky to quickly make friend with a guy named Rudolph who showed us a cheap hotel to stay at and ended up being our tour guide for the entire weekend. It was such a blessing to have him with us. It is extremely rare to meet a random guy on the street that genuinely wants to help and show us around without having other motives. But Rudolph was just truly a good guy and a good friend to us over our three day stay in Togo. We visited an island called Togoville all day on Saturday, where the primary religion is voodooism. We didn’t really get to see anything super voodoo, but there was definitely just a different vibe we got from being there. One of the best moments from the weekend was on the boat coming back to the mainland. The boat ride was just long enough to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets change into a black sky full of a million bright starts and an incredible hang-nail moon. It was perfect.

My personal favorite moment of the weekend happened on our way out of the country. We walked along the coast line on our way to the border. The sun was so hot, and the ocean looked so refreshing that Maggie and I could not take it anymore. We both dropped our bags and ran into the ocean fully clothed. We swam for close to 30 minutes just getting torn apart by the huge waves. It was so awesome to think about how I was in the exact same ocean that I spend all of my summers swimming in, only this time I was half way across the world on the directly opposite coastline. The world is a cool thing.

Oh, and I cant wait to introduce you people back home to Togolese tea. It’s the best thing since sour patch kids, you’re going to love it.

Thank you for the emails, messages, thoughts, and prayers. I can’t thank you enough. Africa is truly wonderful and there is no where else I would rather be.. except maybe on my way to Catalyst to hear my incredible Pastor speak!

Also, thank you to all my friends and family who have donated to Sarah and Mary’s education. I don’t know how I will ever repay you all for your kindness, except to say that you are all storing up treasures in heaven and these sweet girls will never be the same because of you! Thank you again, God bless!

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. -Psalms 126:3



  1. Kenz. I love your free spirit and I love your joy. Remember 2 Corithians 4. I love you so much!

  2. Hi Kenz,
    what a wonderful post. it’s so easy to get caught up in every day living that we forget how blessed we really are. Thank you for your words, through them we can take a step back and realize our wonderful gifts God gives each day. It’s inspiring to know that we feel the same sun, view the same stars, look on the same sky though for now, you are thousands of miles away. I love you.

  3. Awesome post! It was so fun messaging with you!! Miss you much!

  4. I love the quotes from the book. It helped me out so much today to be reminded to find blessings in change. thanks for making my life better kenz even if you are half way accross the world. I love you and continue to be so proud 🙂 I still don’t know, Margo. 🙂 love youuu

  5. what can I say but “WOW”..I had a great experience at Catalyst, but I think you have me beat. I love you so much….

  6. Seems to me you have encountered several angels along the way…Rudolph, Solomon, Ms. Jane, Nicole and Kirk,etc… So glad the weekend was a great one, so glad you have made great friends. Hope you have fun this weekend! We miss you so much and count the days to Dec.17th! Trying not to be too sappy for Miranda! HA HA or use too many !!!!!!!!!!!!!! for Alex Mom and Dad love you Kenz

  7. hi Mckenzie this is Mailey! hi Mckenzie this is Meade. Mailey would like to say, “be kind to one another.” Meade would like to say, “What are the kids like in Africa?”Learn to hold a basket on your head!!!! Mailey said, “God send the Autumn season to you.” Meade says, ” Nice monkey picture, it looks like you!!!!!!” HA HA Mailey says, ” We are taking care of Shasta for you, we know you miss him.” Meade and Mailey say, “WE MISS YOU!!!” See you at Christmas!!!!

  8. You didn’t think I forgot my promise about commenting on every post did you? Better late than never! 🙂 I love this post, and am proud of you for seeing beauty and finding joy in so much. Can’t wait to see you, you hippie girl.

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