Reya Martinez: Reflections on Interning with Kingdom Families

Reya Martinez was one of our four interns that joined us for the summer in Moshi. Reya was a great blessing to our ministry and helped us revamp media initiatives as well as serving in local preschools and churches through children’s ministry. She brought joy and refreshment with her everywhere she went and we’re grateful that God brought her alongside. We asked Reya to share a little about her experience during her internship this summer.

What do you feel like God taught you during your summer internship?

God taught me a lot about His provision. Not only does he provide, but He provides abundantly. He never fails to exceed the expectations we’ve set for him or surpass limits we have set for Him. This summer He has shown me in many capacities that where I lack, He fills in. On my own I will never be enough but with the Lord by my side to constantly fill me up and use the overflow to fill in the gaps together. During this internship, I feel like the Lord has been preparing me for the season that is to come. He has brought me to Tanzania to come to a beautiful place of rest. He has allowed me to rest in who He is, who he has made me to be, and what He is calling me to moving forward. The words the Lord has given me for this next season are “palms up” meaning being eager and ready for whatever it is that He has for me. He has shown me time and time again this summer, what an adventure a life with Him is.

What have you learned about family-based orphan care?

Before this summer, God really put on my heart to see children in families due to the sad but all too common reality I experienced while staying at an orphanage in Cambodia for a month. While here, I learned that many of the children had parents that were still living yet, here they were, in an orphanage to get a “better life”. While the orphanage I was at was led by godly people and truly cared for the children, I knew that it was not where any of the children  belonged. This summer, I have learned that family based care truly is the only solution. We cannot continue to open up orphanages and institutions and believe that a childhood spent there is what is best for children because ultimately, it does more harm than good for the children. I learned about the negative side effects institutionalization has on children’s mental health and how it affects every aspect of their lives in some way from the moment they enter the orphanage, onward. I have learned that family-based care for these vulnerable children is the only solution that is going to be sustainable because the family is where God intended each child to be.

What is something you learned about Tanzanian culture during your time here?

During my time being in Tanzania, I have experienced the genuine kindness of the people here. Tanzanians are constantly seeking out the good of others. Tanzania is an incredibly peaceful and quiet country until Sunday rolls around and every church is singing loud praises to the Lord. Time is only a number and you can always count on having some leeway time when going somewhere. The pace of life is much slower and it actually allows you time to think and spend time with the Lord. I have fallen in love with the simplicity of life here and the tangible presence of the Lord in this country.

What are some challenges you faced during your time here?

Something challenging for me during my time in Tanzania was how different the experience was from my past experiences serving overseas. Right after I graduated from high school, I did a gap year called the world race that was a 9 months long missions trip and very hands on experience. Every day was spent among the people we were serving. This summer though with the Kingdom Families internship has been a lot more of a behind the scenes job which proved to be equally as important and needed. This was just something I had to adjust to and really seek God to see what He was asking of me in this season and the ways He was calling me to serve the people Kingdom Families ministers to.

How do you feel like God is calling you to respond after your summer spent interning with Kingdom Families?

I feel like the Lord is calling me to take action and to spread the word to the people around me. I have seen, heard and experienced so much here in Tanzania that I think the world needs to know. Orphanages are not where children belong. Children belong in families and until the whole world hears and believes this statement, I don’t believe that any of our jobs are done. I believe God is calling me to continue to be an advocate for these children who don’t have people fighting for them.

 

 

Published by

Brandon Stiver

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living and working in Moshi, Tanzania. My wife is named Melissa and we have three children: Moses, Promise and Shepherd. We are directors over an orphan care ministry called Kingdom Families; advocating for the needs of orphans and vulnerable children and assisting families to welcome them into their homes as sons and daughters.

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