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Seeing the Person in Front of You Sarah Kanoy, August 2018

So he (Zacchaeus) ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus, for he was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. Luke 19:4-6

Two simple words describe the month of August for me: renewed joy. The past few months have been very busy and filled with many challenges. I’ll admit, I had gotten discouraged, overwhelmed, and frustrated at times. God’s grace for me this month came in the way of several ministry opportunities. To begin with, I traveled to Malawi for the first time. I did some health teaching at a women’s conference for the Confessional Lutheran Church—Malawi Synod. This precious time with the women was filled with singing, dancing, and praying together. It created an abundance of joy in my heart. This joy continued as I served alongside a Mercy Medical Team here in Kenya. Together we shared healthcare and the Gospel with the Samburu people. As I prepared our team, I kept encouraging and reminding them: “I don't care how many people we see this week. I care that you see the person in front of you.” Little did I know, God was using my own words to teach me the same lesson. Allow me to share just two stories of the people God chose to put in front of me.

Singing, dancing, and rejoicing with our sisters in Christ in Malawi.

Sisters in Christ in Malawi

During my time in Malawi, I taught about how God has created women’s bodies and how they work. We also discussed God’s value of women. However, I think the countless questions that I was able to discuss with the ladies was the greatest part. The relief and joy that crosses their faces when I tell them that they are normal and their body is working just as it should, is undeniable. I marvel at how blessed I am to have this job!

My first lesson with the ladies in Malawi was a devotion focused on God's value of women.

My coworker Shara talked about the roles of women in the church.

Eventually, we worked together to discuss and learn about how God has created the female body to work.

After the lesson, I welcomed the ladies to ask any questions they have. The questions were many, but it was my joy to discuss their concerns and do some teaching!

Yolona and Her Family

Fast forward a bit to the Kenya Mercy Medical Team. One of our patients was a 6 year old girl with severe cellulitis of her hand from a knife wound. The team saw her every day to monitor her condition. The time, attention, and love that was shown to little Yolona by the team was beautiful. God graciously allowed me to assist in her care and the teaching of her parents. At week’s end, she had improved, her beautiful smile replacing the looks of fear and pain on her face. Thank you Lord for allowing us to be a part of Yolona’s story.

Dr. Don LaBarge gently examines Yolona's hand with concern.
Team member Lisa LaBarge uses all her best distraction and motherly comforting tactics, including showing videos on her phone, as we prepare to do a procedure on Yolona's hand.
Yolona and her mother are all smiles on the last day after hearing that her hand had greatly improved.

Seeing with the Eyes of Christ

Luke 19 tells the story of Zacchaeus, who didn’t want to miss Jesus, so he climbed a tree. Despite the large crowds, Jesus saw Zacchaeus, invited him down from the tree, and they were united joyfully as friends. Jesus’s example, of seeing the person in front of Him, is key for all Christians. I could share many stories of the people that God places before me, the question is, how many times do I not notice? Join me in praying that God would open all our eyes to sharing His love and grace with every single Zacchaeus that He places in front of us!

Snapshots from the MMT week in Samburu, Kenya.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for strength, courage, joy, and patience as I serve the Lord in East Africa.
  • Thanksgiving for an incredible team of Americans and Kenyans who worked together to care for the bodies & souls of the people of Samburu County.
  • Pray fervently that my Tanzania work permit, which has been submitted, will be approved in God’s timing.
  • Thanksgiving for renewed joy and strength this month.
  • Pray for the people God placed before me: the women of Malawi and Yolona.

The team of Americans and Kenyans who partnered together to make the MMT possible.

Celebrating a great week of providing healthcare and sharing the Gospel alongside my dear friend and coworker, Shara.

Contact & Support Information

I would love to hear from you! You can reach me at:

If you feel God is leading you to pray for me and/or help with my support you can:

  1. Give online: www.lcms.org/kanoy
  2. Write a check with "Kanoy--Kenya" on the memo line and mail it to either of the following:
  • Mission Central: 40718 Highway E-16 Mapleton, IA 51034
  • The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod PO Box 66861 St. Louis, MO 63166
Thank you for all who have helped make it possible for me to serve the Lord in East Africa!

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