So, as most of my supporters know, I typically come home to the USA for a yearly visit in December of every year. I aim for December because it's when school ends here in South Africa, it's when most people are off work in the States to be able to visit with, it's Christmas time, and it's when giving is typically at its peak for non-profit ministries like me. All of this adds up to a wonderful time for me to visit, reconnect, and do some essential fundraising. I've done it this way for four years now (since I moved to SA in the fall of 2016).
Then, 2020 happened.
With all of the health concerns around the world, many countries have wisely put a ban on international travel. South Africa is no exception to this. After releasing its residents from heavy lockdowns, they have continued to issue travel bans for "hot zone" countries who are still struggling with large case numbers of the coronavirus. The US is most definitely considered a "hot zone." As a US citizen, I am allowed to fly to the US whenever I'd like to. But I would not be allowed back into SA on my volunteer visa while the ban is in place. And, at this time, no one seems to know when the travel ban will be lifted. So.... here I stay.
Emotionally, this has not been an easy decision to make. But it's one I know I have to make to continue being in the will of God. As torn as my heart may be, my soul knows its place is where He put me. All that to say, I had to start coming up with ideas for how to reach out to my friends and family back in America and let them know about all of the amazing things happening here in South Africa. Normally, I can meet with people face to face or in groups and show videos that I never post online, or tell stories that I never get to tell - I get to explain what life is really like living and serving God here in this country so very foreign to most people. With things working so differently this year, I faced the idea that I would have to do all of that on a much broader spectrum. I'd have to be willing to share those videos, those pictures, those stories with more than just those I see personally. I had to be okay with sharing it blindly, online, for anyone to see.
For most in ministry positions, they've learned to accept and embrace "publicity" online as a part of the job. But, for me, there’s always been a very thin line between sharing information and taking advantage of those I love so much. And it's a balancing act that takes a LOT out of me. I am, after all, an introvert by nature. So, not only do I not like to publicize my friends that I serve, I also don't like to publicize myself. (This is most likely the reason I struggle to keep this blog up to date. I don't like a lot of the extra attention that comes along with it.)
Without any other options, I approached a few friends (in America and in SA) to help me talk through all of this. The idea to create a video version of my "speech" began to grow and bloom. Some friends helped me with filming. Some helped me with interviews. Some helped me with editing. Some helped me with statistics and information. Some helped me with emotional support and encouragement. And the next thing I knew, this "Loving on purpose." thing became a reality.
"Loving on purpose." is just a set of videos for others to see what life is like for me, and what life is like for those I serve. There is a short Promo Video, a Virtual Tour video of images from the townships where I serve (along with facts about the area), an Interview with Kris video, and an Interview with Others video showcasing some of the people/kids I work with. All of these videos can be found on my YouTube channel (as they are finished). And they can all be shared or used by any one - a very scary concept, I must admit!
The goal of all of this is simple: to explain why God has called me to love the people of South Africa and ask others to join in the journey. You see, when God called me to leave America, He gave me one simple instruction: "Just love them." And, that's all I've tried to do for the past four years in South Africa - just love them... just see them.... just point them to the One who can love them so much better than I can. That's it.
"Loving on purpose." is just a way to see how that's being done here, and whether or not it's working in some respects. It's a choice, a decision I make every single day. And it's a passion that has taken roots in as many areas of my life that I will allow it. I pray that's what is communicated in these videos.
To see the videos (as they become available), just visit the SUPPORT page at the top of this website. There's a link there to my YouTube channel. All of these videos can be found there in the "Loving on purpose." playlist. And they can be shared as freely as you like.