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  • Writer's pictureChristie-Lee Spinks

Why I came to Kenya.

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

I was raised in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk within England, alongside my elder sister and younger brother. I was a total mummy’s girl and honestly never saw myself too far from my parents. My family would be classified as ‘unbelievers’, so-to-speak - no faith, we attended Church once a year with my mum on Christmas Eve, but no real belief - that was until God showed up in our lives and changed everything. That's a story for another day.

During attending our first ever Christian youth event alongside thousands of other teens looking for God to show up, I strongly felt God plant Africa in my heart. This mummy’s girl from Suffolk was ready to go! If I’m honest I didn’t know, or even really care, whereabouts in Africa I would be led, as long as I was led there.

I felt torn. My heart longed for Africa and yet my current life status told me no. That was until I finished my schooling aged seventeen. Being apprehensive to go alone, I somehow convinced a friend of mine to look for a way to make Africa possible with me. We discovered an organisation, ‘Changing Worlds’, taking volunteers to countries throughout Africa, and signed ourselves up. Not long after, we received a large booklet in the post containing all information regarding the different African countries they could take us to. I’m still not sure to this day why Kenya stood out like a literal sore thumb, but it did, and it was supposed to!

Not long after we attended a team-building weekend, along with a handful of other girls our age who would also be traveling to Kenya with us, we were off. Six months of Kenya here we come!

I was placed within a Kenyan host family’s home with one other volunteer girl who I had only previously met once at the team building. She quickly became my best friend. She was everything God wanted me to be living with for six months, and more! We weren’t shy to share our faith, or our prayers, with each other, and God was so apparent within our friendship.

Upon a truly life-changing experience, the time was up and it is was time to head home, to England, although I was certain from that point on that Kenya was my real home. While I was filled with unbelievable excitement to see my family and friends again, every piece of me yearned to stay in Kenya. I didn't want the experience to end.

After six months back in Suffolk I left for my choice University, the University of Chester, a five-hour drive from home. I was placed in a beautiful large home among other girls who had traveled equally as far to be there. I made lifelong friends and was once again completely blessed by the gift of friendship that God provided.

But my heart was torn once again.

No matter how happy I was, my longing for Kenya wouldn’t budge. I had to get back.

Low and behold I saved up my student loan and as soon as the long summer holidays arrived, I was off! This time I managed to convince another University friend of mine to come along with me - not much persuading was needed! - and we left. I organised for my new-found best friend, the volunteer I was originally placed with, to come with us. Sadly she was unable to stay throughout but she joined us at the beginning of our trip. We arranged to stay with our previous Kenyan host family for the 2 and a half months we would be there and I felt the pieces of my heart returning again.

A small part of me was concerned that I couldn’t ‘relive’ the original Kenyan experience and that my longing was for the past experience, not for Kenya itself. I was wrong. I was falling in love all over again.

Upon our arrival, we discovered an orphanage on the outskirts of Nakuru owned by an Australian couple, and we felt compelled to check it out. We made our way there, public transport style - a matatu (small bus) and a Piki (motorbike) - delivered us there safely. As we arrived within the baby nursery of the orphanage we knew this would be exactly where we would spend the next 2 and a half months. And we did.

Just a few weeks before our time was up we decided to check out a cafe in town that attracted most of Nakuru’s volunteers. We wanted to see what the fuss was about! Whilst stuffing our faces with chips, an Australian, Ben, approached us asking if we wanted to attend a party in the lounge bar, owned by him, next door. We politely nodded, however knowing we would be ‘working’ the next day we decided against it. We were however intrigued and when the weekend arrived we headed out to meet some 'neighbours'. Later I was told that it was at this point, Ben, the owner of the lounge bar, upon seeing me walk in, told the friend he was standing next to, ‘I’m going to marry that girl'. In a twist, unbeknown to both of us, it turned out that he was the son of the Australian couple I had been volunteering for! It turned out the cafe we were in was owned by their daughter.

I spent my last couple of weeks in Kenya getting to know Ben more, either side of the orphanage work-like. At this point, I knew we would always be friends. Little did I know what was to come.

It was time to head back to England once again and I relived the pain of not knowing when I would return to Kenya again, although I knew I wouldn't be away for long.

I spent the next six months at University continuing my studies and Ben and I continued to get to know each other over long-distance chatting. It was after six months that he messaged me saying that he was going to fly me and my friend back to Kenya, and when we reunited we made our relationship official. Exactly one year later he proposed on the beach of Diani. Just seven months after that I walked down the aisle in front of family and friends who had traveled overseas to be there, and we said our forever ‘I do’s’.

My longing for Kenya to become my forever was finally my reality.

God never abandoned my mummy's girl heart and He, too, led my parents to Kenya where they now live just a twenty-minute drive away. That is, again, a story for another day...

“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. '” — Jeremiah 29:11.

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Anne Elymer
Anne Elymer
Feb 07

What a lovely story Christie! I am also moved and touched by your faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. I miss you on youtube and pray that you, Ben and Coco are well.


Jan 26, 2022

I love your story, Christie. As the daughters of missionaries to Uganda and Kenya, your videos make me long to return. I attended Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, and graduated from there in 1982. My husband and I later served as missionaries ourselves in Kilifi and Botswana. What sweet days those were!

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