Reflections of Christ

I am on the receiving end of short-term mission trips. Now, I am the host for these energetic teenagers seeing the other side of the world for the first time in a 2-week intensive experience. And wow, what a joy they are!!

I’ve heard all the arguments about the danger of short-term mission trips and I’ve even felt the guilt about going on them myself. I wondered if I was just taking work away from the locals or imposing on their system that works quicker without my interruption. I wondered if the money I was raising to go would be better used if I just wrote them a check. But now that I am on the side of the host country with mission teams visiting “my people” and these kiddo’s, I can honestly say they are so needed for our health and vitality as individuals and as an organization. It’s not always about the money or “getting the job done”; we live for relationship, and the ones we make with our visiting friends breathe new life into our spirits.

For me, the first week and a half of life in Nairobi were full of change, questions responded to with ambiguous answers leading to even more doubt, and numbness. I hoped it would improve with time since I am committed to a year, but God wanted to show up quickly so He could show off!

Cue the arrival of 10 hyper high schoolers and their 3 amazing chaperones, as well as the sweet Simply2Love team of 4 ladies! Over 11 days, we all became close friends, and I’m so happy to have 17 new friends praying and supporting CCP from California. It makes a HUGE difference to see the faces in our context who have said they support us. Their actions speak loud; they stepped out in faith to raise support and leave their families and friends for 2 weeks to do life with us in Nairobi! We laughed and cried and sang and danced together! We kissed giraffes, bounced along a 6-hour bus detour (a trip that should have been just 2 hours) through the African bush, were cornered by stampedes of orphan elephants, prayed over the sweet kiddo’s of CCP and their families, and ate A LOT of chapati!

Christ heard me in my loneliness, and He sent 17 reflections of Himself to refresh my heart and soul! I have no doubt in my mind now for the need of short-term mission teams. As long as the visitors are seeking God’s will and supporting the host organization with excited and humbled spirits, they are absolutely a help to us. Let this be encouragement to you as you consider going on a mission trip yourself or supporting someone else who is going!

living loved,
kelli klaus

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Why India

Dear Family, Friends, and curious Reader,

There’s no other explanation for “Why India?” than with “Because God.”

The series of events that led to me booking a roundtrip ticket to Calcutta, India for 3 weeks in December each point to a sovereign God. Before I get into the details of that, I want to explain the nature of the trip. With a friend, I’ll be serving at the Mother Teresa Home for the Sick and Dying. The following quote of Mother Teresa’s fits like a puzzle piece to my recent thought process, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Many times I wrestle with the thought that anything I do can’t possibly make a difference. I’m just one girl; not rich, not famous, not powerful.

And then the part of me that always finds hope in God as my anchor asks, But what if I can be there for just one other person? What if I can maybe, just maybe, impact one person’s life for the better halfway across the world in Calcutta, India? And what am I here on this earth for if not to leave it better than when I got here, to bring God glory through my words and actions, to serve all people, most importantly widows and orphans, the sick and dying?

Then 2 drops were added to that ocean.


Now for an explanation on how this came about. It goes back to August of this year when I met the amazing Morgan Motzel on the Covenant Journey tour to Israel. We hit it off right away when we realized our mutual love of travel and adventuring. By God’s grace we kept in touch even after the trip ended via Facebook, where she gave me advice on Italy and we caught up on random things.

Late August I received a promotional email from this website StudentUniverse that hooks college students up with cheap airfare, hotels, and tours around the world. This email was for cheap flights to India of all places. Most of the time I delete these emails without opening them. For some reason, I clicked on it and proceeded to look up flights to India for February or March 2016. (I didn’t know where I’d go, why I wanted to in the first place, or what I’d do once I got there.) The round trip airfare was a screaming deal at $450, so of course I facebooked a friend from college who loves to travel, seeing if by any chance she’d want to be spontaneous with me and just go.

It didn’t work out, and now I know why. Morgan and I had been messaging back and forth about the Milan Expo when she asked me out of the blue, “This is totally a long shot, but have you ever been to India?”

Cue jaw drop.

Cue frantic typing.

Cue Facetiming parents the next three days to pray, talk logistics, and finally gain an assurance on all fronts that this would work. (Another small God moment was reading that you need to start immunization shots 2 weeks prior to leaving. I return home to Iowa on the 17th, 13 days before I’m off.)

My heart and mind has wrestled between excitement, shock at the peace I feel in doing this, and nervousness at potential heartbreaking sights or personal illness (Delhi belly).

In the end, I know God is in this. And if He’s for me, what can be against me?

Please keep Morgan and I in your prayers as we embark on this life-changing journey. This post is not a request for money, but I did create a page if you feel so led to donate to the trip. Anything over the amount raised will go directly to the Missionaries of Charity Mother House in Calcutta, India.

My deepest and most heartfelt thank you, lovely reader, for reading through this post.
I will be sure to keep you updated on how the Lord works in the time that we serve there.
Kelli Klaus
(the tall girl)

When life hands you a volleyball…play it out.

Can we all be open and vulnerable here and just agree that life is a funny thing? Zoom out to a 30,000 foot view of your life and what do you see? Static, monotonous living with no coincidences, no new relationships, no successes or failures, no surprises? I sure hope not. Continue reading “When life hands you a volleyball…play it out.”