Discovering Eden Environmental Camps and Clubs for myself was largely directed by God. It came at a time in my life when I was seeking direction, and, as it always seems to go, the Lord provided at just the right moment.
It was the dawn of a new chapter in my life. Finishing graduate school meant I was searching for the next step; completing a program in science education also meant I was looking where I was trained to look. As a newly emerged middle school science educator, I felt a naïve sense of confidence and readiness to enter a classroom. Having little to no experience within this realm and a still vague sense of how I hoped to use my specific passions, I landed a job as a middle school science teacher in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thus began, despite being short-lived, a very difficult trial. It was an unfortunate situation that I won’t delve to deeply into; however, I think it was a time of redirection, God’s way of helping, albeit challenging, me to “switch tracks” to what He had planned for my life. After ending my time at the school, I entered a season of reflection and prayer while working alone on a friend’s farm.
I would eventually find myself sitting in Northern Michigan, in a Skype meeting, hearing about Eden in Naivasha, Kenya. As I think back to these moments I can’t help but resonate on Proverbs 16:9 –“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (ESV).”
That’s how God brought me here, now to share how my time with Eden has shaped me moving forward. God really used my time here in Naivasha, Kenya as a time, I think, to point me in a direction. Even though I’ve always been excited about the natural world, I think Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (ESV),” became more real to me during my time with Eden. Realizing the depth of my passion for not only caring for God’s creation and helping others to appreciate it, but also contributing as a vessel for how Christ is revealed through what has been made and how the Gospel is represented through the creation. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (ESV).” I stand at the gate of this life-long journey that will be and is God-directed, I’m so thankful and grateful that Eden Environmental Camps and Clubs has been a part of it.
So here I sit, listening to Rattling Cisticolas and White-fronted Bee-eaters, watching clouds roll over the Malu Forest, and feeling the warm Kenya breeze blow over my face. I’ll never forget my time with Eden, it was rich, growing, sometimes challenging, and overall, beautiful. I hope and pray to see continued growth for this organization as they continue to bless and enrich the lives of those in East Africa and advocate for the future of its environment.
by Kevin Vande Vusse