Beginning the Journey

This is the post excerpt.


Hi! My name’s Grace, I’m twenty-three years old and I’m moving to KENYA! Yes, as in Kenya, Africa. I graduated from college one year ago, and what a year it has been! When I graduated, I had a plan. I was in a long-distance relationship with someone I believed would one day be my husband. We had a plan. I would finish student teaching in the fall, and then I would move to North Dakota. The relationship ended in October of 2016. I had no idea what I was going to do next. As it says in Proverbs 16:9, I decided on a plan, but God determined my steps. I had no choice, but to allow Him to guide me. Through this, God was graciously loving me. I felt angry. I felt cheated. I felt lost. I felt discouraged. I felt like God had led me down a dead-end road. But God, in all of His goodness, made a path through the wilderness. God did not reveal his plans for me right away. He simply guided me one day at a time. Each day he softened my heart with his gracious love and provision. When God knew my heart was ready, He directed my attention to a need in Kenya. After a great deal of prayer and thought, I choose to take this leap of faith, and move to Kenya. Each step that I’ve made since October has led me to Kenya.

I will be teaching the children of medical missionaries, and volunteering in a Kenyan church. The families that I will be serving have sacrificed much to answer God’s call. Each parent wants their child to have a good education, and these families struggle to serve Christ in medicine while providing their children with a solid education. God has gifted me with the skills needed to teach, and He has given me a passion for educating children. This is a burden that I can help lighten from these families.

I am going to be using this blog to document my journey to and my life in Kenya. I’ll be updating this blog with what’s going on in my heart as I move forward, how you can support, pray, or donate to the mission, and photos and stories of how God is working in and through me while I’m there. I’ve linked a donation site on the sidebar of this blog. If you’d like to make a non-online donation, please comment with your email, and I’ll send you more information. If you’d like to learn more about the place I’ll be going, you can visit World Gospel Missions website. Their website has information about the Tenwek Hospital Ministry. I am excited to embrace this journey with you.



Wow 6 weeks went by quickly! Tomorrow I leave Illinois to return to Kenya, and my emotions seem to be at war with each other. I experienced a similar war last year, but these emotions are a bit different. Last year I felt mostly excitement and anxiousness. I feel those emotions this year as well as a host of new emotions. The new emotions are guilt, sadness and joy.

Guilt is an emotion I wasn’t expecting to feel. I feel guilt for choosing a life that takes me away from my family. I feel guilt from having to rely on the generosity of my supporters. I feel guilt because I can’t be there for family and friends who want me there when they need support. Over the last year, I have wished often that I could be in two places at once. I know that I am doing what God has called me to do, and often obeying God’s call requires sacrifices. When this guilt becomes heavy, I try to remember why I’m in this position. I am needed in Kenya to teach an amazing group of kids. I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Sadness and guilt go hand-in-hand. I’ve enjoyed my time with my friends and family, and I feel the end coming. I feel the weight of all that I am leaving behind. Quality time is my primary love language, so being away from those I love means less time with them. I know that this distance away doesn’t change the love have for my family and friends, and it won’t change their love for me. It just feels harder to leave this time than it did last time.

The joy of the Lord has been the healing salve to the first two emotions. I’ve had the opportunity to share with churches and small groups of people about my ministry in Kenya. Every time I do I have felt an overwhelming presence of joy. It is a joy that comes from God. This joy gives me peace when I feel anxious. This joy gives me freedom when I feel heavy with guilt. This joy softens the sadness.

I have been well loved during this short trip home. Particularly by my parents. I couldn’t do what I do without their love and support. I could never thank them enough for all they have done for me.

I also owe a thank you to everyone who has renewed their funding support this year. I am fully funded for my second term!!

I ask for prayer for my return trip to Kenya. I have very short layovers in each stop, which means I have no wiggle room for delays. Please pray I make each of my flights. Also pray I have no issues at customs once I arrive in Kenya.


Ten days have flown by. I have spent most of the last 10 days in Indiana visiting my Mom’s family. My grandmother had knee replacement surgery the same day I returned, so Mom and I spent a week with her while she recovered. The surgery went well and she is doing great with her PT. While I was in Indiana, I was able to spend time with my two lovely cousins Rachel and Rebekah. Rachel left for China on the 22nd, and she will be their for the next 6 weeks. She will be teaching English to adults. Please keep her in your prayers over the next 6 weeks.



Being home has reminded me just how slow of a processor I am. Many people have asked me “are you experiencing culture-shock?” “how has your transition been?” and other such questions. I know many missionaries struggle with reentry, but so far I’ve had a smooth transition. Based on passed experience, I know I will process everything in my own time and in my own way. Right now I am simply enjoying this time of much needed rest.

Even from the other side of the world, work still calls my name. This week I have focused on getting final grade cards sent out and a school wish list made. I also still have to order curriculum and make a personal wish list for my return. If you would like to help me with the school wish list you can go to this site.  All of the books on this site are needed for our upcoming school year.



I will also be focusing on fundraising while I am home. Because of God’s faithfulness and your generosity, I only need $3,000 to return to the field in August. If you desire to give towards my second term in Kenya, you can make a donation at this website  https://www.wgm.org/volunteer/gracewilliams

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through donations and through prayer. I look forward to updating you throughout the summer.

No Longer a First Year

If you ask to any teacher, they’ll tell you that the first year is the worst. No matter how prepared you were for teaching, the first year always feels like running a marathon sprinting the whole way. On Friday, I officially concluded my first year as a teacher. It was not a perfect year. I made mistakes, but I’ve learned through those mistakes!


When I came to Kenya 9 months ago, I had no idea what I was walking into. I didn’t know what a multi-age classroom would look like. I didn’t even know what the classroom looked like. I didn’t know what resources I would have. With all of these unknowns, and with my personality being one that likes to observe how things work before jumping in, the cards seemed stacked against me. I began the school year knowing I had a mountain to climb. I wasn’t alone though. God was with me every step of the way.  I daily brought my anxieties and insecurities to the Lord and he faithfully gave me His peace. I daily asked for wisdom,  and He faithfully opened my eyes to my students and their needs. It would be easy to look back on this school year and say “I had a successful school year. I did good.” but that would be inaccurate. The credit for anything good goes to the Lord. I also need to give credit to the people God placed around me. The parents of my students, my mentors and my friends were instrumental in helping me have a successful year. I could never thank them enough for their grace, patience, and wisdom.

Image may contain: 28 people, including Angela Olsen, Julie Ganey and Grace Williams, people smiling, people standing

I must also thank those who have been supporting me and praying for me from the other side of the world. I wouldn’t be here without the financial support of my family, church family, friends, and strangers. I have been strengthened by prayers lifted up on my behalf. I have experienced the global body of Christ more fully this year than I ever could have imagined. I now ask for your prayers for me this week. I will be traveling to Nairobi tomorrow, and flying home to the states on Friday. While I am in Nairobi, I have to complete immigration verification, which is basically just the Kenyan government checking to make sure I’m here legally. Please pray that travel is smooth and uneventful. Please pray that all immigration check points are quick and simple. Also pray that my time in the states is sweet. I will miss my Kenyan home, but I am looking forward to being with my family again.  Five days till take off!!!


Why So Many Goodbyes

I’ve spent the last seven months meeting new people and building relationships with them. The families here at Tenwek have become my family. With all of the positives and negatives, we are a family. When I came here I prayed that God would make this place into a home, and help me develop a family here. God was faithful and He did just that. I never anticipated just how hard the goodbyes would be. This is only just the beginning.

Two families from Tenwek have left to return to the states. I had become close with both of these families. I shared meals with them. I taught their children. They had become my family.


Johnny and Anna Shaw with their three children, Corbin, Caleb and Maddie.

Eli and Krista Horn with their three children, Caleb, Kai and Asa.

Today at my roommate Caroline left to return to the states. We had lived with each other for four months. During those four months, we shared many meals, much laughter and good conversations. We danced to The Greatest Showman while making dinner! We shared our hopes, dreams and fears with each other. She became like a sister to me.


Caroline and I in Greece.

In eight weeks, I will say goodbye to three more families who will not be here when I return in the fall. I don’t want to think about this place without these families. To imagine a school year without these students hurts. I love these kids and their parents, and I don’t want to say goodbye. The worst part is they are hurting too. I can tell that they are pulling away. They are preparing for the goodbye, and trying to avoid as much pain as possible. For this reason, I can not checkout emotionally. I have to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually present to the very end for my students.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people sitting and indoor

The six Copeland Kids! Liam, Hayden, Harper, Charlie, Nora and Emery.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, ocean, sky, beach, child, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

Troy and Farrah Newman with their four kids, Will, Lynnlee, Baty, and Nick.

Image may contain: 6 people, including Dylan Nugent and Leslie M. Parker, people smiling, people sitting and child

Dylan and Jess Nugent with their five kids, Toby, Asher, Darby, Eugene, and not pictured new baby Naomi.


My prayer is that I will have wisdom and discernment with my students. That God will give me eyes to see what they need in all areas. I also pray that God will fill me with his strength as we finish the school year.

My Big Fat Greek Adventure

It truly was a FAT adventure! I probably gained 10lbs  while I was in Greece. The food was amazing, but the fellowship was even sweeter. The team of childcare workers were so wonderful to work with and fellowship with.

I left Kenya anticipating the ministry ahead of me. That the almost empty cup I held would be poured out even more. I left Kenya feeling tired. I looked ahead knowing that I would become even more tired. Only half of what I anticipated became a reality. I was tired. Every day I went to sleep exhausted, but my cup never became empty. The missionaries I served and my fellow teammates poured into me. They filled me with joyful fellowship, words of wisdom and encouragement and thoughtful generosity.

What filled me most though was watching this group of strangers from the U.S love my students so well. I love my students with every fiber of my being, but I know them. It filled me with joy to see others who don’t know them to love them and encourage them. Being an MK is not easy. Goodbyes come too frequently, and friendships are hard to maintain. Many MK’s often feel like they do not have a place where they fit. They don’t ever truly fit into the culture they’re living in, but they also don’t truly fit into their born culture. Many of the teens and older elementary students voiced these emotions and frustrations to those who were working with them in Greece. I see and experience these struggles just as the kids do, but this group of outsiders came and displayed love, compassion, empathy and encouragement in a way I never could.

It was this love that comes directly from the Father that myself and my students needed to experience. I needed to be reminded why I came to Kenya. God was reminding throughout my time in Greece that I am here in Kenya for these kids and their families. For security purposes I am not allowed to share pictures of the students here on my blog, but here are some pictures of my adventures while in Greece.

As you pray for families living on the mission field, please do not neglect to pray for their children. The children within a house are just as important as those outside the house.


I am so excited to announce that I will be returning to Kenya for another school year! This is a job, a life, that I feel called into. This is a teaching role that I feel designed for. Over the last 2 years, God has been slowly changing my expectations for my life. Becoming a missionary has never been on my radar. My expectations had always been to become a teacher, wife, and mother in that order. I craved the consistency that life would bring. Throughout my 4+ years of college I struggled with this deep fear of failure. I always felt inadequate when I looked around at my fellow classmates. I was a B average student in a sea of Type A perfectionist. I just did’t fit in. My deepest fear become a reality when I was hired as a long term substitute kindergarten teacher. By the end of those 2 months, I was doubting my choice to become a teacher.


I carried those doubts and fears with my when I came to Kenya, but I could not deny God’s hand in leading me here. I trusted that He knew what he was doing even if I didn’t. God has been quieting those fears and doubts over the last 6 months. I get to be the type of teacher that I want to be. The relationships I have with my students are rich and filled with a mutual love and respect. I have the opportunity to not only teach these children, but to disciple them. I have developed partnerships with the parents. They are my co-teachers. We share in the joys and struggles of teaching together as a community in rural Kenya.




My life expectations have changed. I used to crave consistency, but I’ve embraced a life that is anything but consistent. People come and go like the revolving doors in the big cities. The WiFi and electricity are as consistent as my ex-boyfriends (not at ALL) The political stability of the Kenyan government has been a constant teeter-totter. God knew what I craved, but He has called me into a life that is the opposite of what I craved. He is asking me to lean into Him and the consistency that is found in Him. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and that is life’s one guarantee.

Please pray for myself and the moms that will be here for the upcoming school year. We have many decisions to make in regards to curriculum and class groupings. I will be returning to the U.S for the summer to attend conferences, do fundraising and spend some much needed time with family. If you would like to sponsor my second term in Kenya, you can donate at this site http://www.wgm.org/gracewilliams

Isaiah 43:2

The events of Friday will forever be in my mind. I have never felt such fear, but I have also never felt God’s peace more than I did that night. After hearing my fellow missionaries reflect on what they experienced that night, I am amazed by Gods sovereignty. Here is my personal reflections of God acting on our behalf.

It had been a normal evening. I had some friends over for pizza. We had been chatting and enjoying the beginning of the weekend. It was a little after 8:00pm when we first heard the screams. We assumed the sound was coming from the girls boarding school just down the road. I can often hear shouting and screaming from them when they have school assemblies. It was only as my friends were walking out the door and we smelled the smoke that we realized something was wrong.

The building was already fully engulfed in flames, and we could hear people screaming from within the hospital. The screaming was from fear, and not from pain, but we didn’t know that. I’ll never forget that sound. After staring at the flames in shock for about 1 minute, I realized that this may not be known by everyone yet. My friends and I split up and began knocking on doors. The third house I went to belonged to my mentor and her family. They already knew and she told me to prepare to evacuate in the event it spread down the hill. We have been in full blown dry season for about 2 weeks, but this has been an abnormal season. Normally all of January is dry as well. This January was so wet that our rain tanks overflowed multiple times. If it had been a normal dry season this year, the likelihood of it spreading would have been significantly higher.

Once I had my go bag ready, I headed over to the Many’s house to wait for the bug out call. Angela’s husband was at the hospital helping with the fire and patients, and he would call occasionally to give us an update on the fire. There was a whole bunch of kids already at the Many’s waiting with us. The age range of kids there was 13-8 months. I quickly fell into the role of soother. At one point. I had three little girls on my lap giving snuggles and words of calm optimism. I had remained relatively calm and clearheaded throughout the entire night, but seeing the kiddos who I loved deeply so frightened almost broke me. From where we were watching, the fire looked massive. We couldn’t tell if it had spread farther into the hospital. All we could do was watch, wait and pray.

Our faithful God answered our prayers. Around 11:00pm, we received word that the fire had been contained to the one building and it was under control. No lives were lost and no one was injured. I did not go to bed till after midnight and many others never made it to bed that night.

The next morning, I helped the missionaries deliver Chai, bread and cookies to the hospital wards. As I looked at the shell of what was once the kitchen, offices and laundry building, my first thought was “I am so thankful for stone.” Most of the buildings in the Tenwek compound are made of stone, and the stone walls kept the fire from spreading to other buildings.

So much is left to do, and many decisions need to be made. Please pray for the administration of the hospital as they deal with all that must be done. I also ask that you consider giving a small donation to the fire recovery fund. The building must be rebuilt, and equipment must be purchased to replace what was lost. Also, during the chaos of the fire, many building were looted. Beds, wheelchairs and computers were stolen from the hospital. If you would like to give directly to fire relief, you can go to this site https://wgm.org/project/tenwek-hospital-fire-recovery

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2