Makenzie has been one of my best friends, my right-hand
woman, for over 10 years now and there has never been a moment
where I haven’t felt extremely lucky and grateful to have her in
my life. And I guarantee anyone who knows her would say this
same thing! Growing up together I have had the amazing opportunity
to see her blossom into the woman I know her to be today. A strong
woman full of love, compassion, generosity, immense faith, goofiness, and
so much more. This girl has a way of really touching people’s hearts
and just radiates joy. I admire her so much and I am very happy she
agreed to be my first WCW interviewee! Now, on to the interview!
Q: Okay we are kicking this off with the dreaded but most expected
interview question. Lol Tell us a little about yourself.
Hey! My name’s Makenzie but I mostly go by “Kenzie” or “Kenz.” I love
learning about people, their “whys,” their talents, and their experiences.
I think one of the best gifts is getting to partake in friendship. I believe
each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made and is more loved
than we’ll ever know by the One who has created them. I have been
blessed to see two very different parts of the world from living in a
small town with a population of about 100 people to now living in a city
with 100,000 times more (literally) people living in it. Both parts of the
world have a piece of my heart and I am more convinced than ever that
people are people who have needs and desires, and who’ve been created
for a purpose by a Creator who loves them immensely.
Q: If I remember correctly, this is not where you expected to find yourself
growing up. Lol How have you gotten to the place you are today? Was
there a specific moment when you remember hearing God’s call? What
was it like? How did you know it wasn’t just your own thoughts?
It is definitely not what I had expected, but I do remember as a
child sitting in my room and thinking, “One day I know I’m going to
move far away.” I remember wrestling with that thought because I didn’t
want to move. I loved my family and I didn’t like the thought of being far
from them (both are still true to this day). As a child I remember laying in
bed wondering, “Who created the world?” How can the universe be
so big, yet feel so small?” I know these thoughts were just the beginning
of the Lord opening my mind and showing me His greatness. The more
and more He’s shown Himself to me the more compelled I feel to live for
His glory. This can be done in a multitude of ways such as changing your
baby’s diaper, visiting the lonely in your community, or going far places to
serve those who are in need– each act is glorifying to God when it comes
from a heart of thankfulness for what He’s already given us. I believe God
began teaching me these things the day I was born, He loves to pursue His
children. Yet, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that these thoughts
began to sink deep into my heart. God brought to my attention that I had
everything I could ever want but was still unsatisfied. Then He used a
friend of mine to tell me that I could be completely satisfied in Jesus. How
could such a thing be possible? God showed me through His Word that
yes, it is possible to be satisfied in Jesus and completely impossible to be
satisfied by the world or other humans. I have had many experiences with
Jesus that I can recount, which assure me that these thoughts were not my
own, but in fact are from the living God.
Q: What is it like to live and work overseas? Transportation, grocery
shopping, communicating, danger? How does it all compare to the US?
Living overseas is humbling. I had to relearn how to drive a car, how
to get groceries, how to make the water warm, and not to mention
the many cultural norms and language I am learning regularly. The culture
(even the environment) I am living in is completely different from the
US. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just how it is. I love how this culture
is so centered on community, how natural they are in hosting, and how
much they love their food and colors. Yet, I miss aspects of my growing
up culture too. I especially miss the blue skies, birds cheeping, and the
open lands that I grew up around. Yet, I love that respect for those older
than you exists in both my small town and now big city, along with an
emphasis on family and community.
Q: Has there ever been a moment when you have doubted your current journey?
Yes. There have been moments where I thought, “I did not know this
was a part of the journey…” I have had moments of wanting to give up, but
I haven’t because I believe in what I’m doing and there’s a deep love driving
me to do what I do. I haven’t been a mother but I am sure there have been
moments in motherhood where the mother has thought, “I did not know this
was a part of the journey…” Yet, being driven by love, they continue.
Q: How long do you think you will continue working overseas?
Will you ever settle down back in the states?
The last year and a half has taught me that I’m not in control. There
are promises of God that I cling to because I know they are true for
an eternity. Yet, I cannot tell you exactly how tomorrow will look. I am
trying to learn how to trust God with the future unknowns and be
faithful with what I know today.
Q: What is something that gets you truly excited about life?
I love learning about people and hearing their stories. I love seeing people
transformed by truth and grace, just as I have personally been blessed
to experience. All things in the world will come to an end: our job, accolades, parties, and
even our relationships because the body will eventually breathe its last on
earth. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone open the door
to find there is a road that doesn’t have to end and our lives on earth can
begin walking that road today. It takes nothing, we simply see and follow the
One who has already gone before us.
Q: What have been some of the most challenging things you have
faced and overcome to get where you are today?
There have been a lot of challenges. I think the most difficult challenge
I’ve faced is having doubts that have rocked my core beliefs. We all bas
e our identities, which often impact our life’s purpose, around something.
I find my identity in Jesus and my purpose is to know Him and make Him
known. This time of living overseas has made me ask myself, “Is this true?
Is all He says true? Is He the truth?” There have been a lot of factors to
make me ask such questions: living in a culture that believes differently than
me and experiencing what it’s like to be the minority for the first time, things
not going as you have planned, as well as feeling completely inadequate
and feeling the true weakness of being human. All these things and many
more can make us question our identity and purpose. That can feel like a
dark sky without any rain, gloomy and pointless. However the sun continues
to rise and set as the clouds roll in and out. By God’s grace His words speak
a truth that shines through the gloom and His rain does come, in His timing, but
when it comes it washes away my fear and doubt. The rainbow follows and
I’m reminded I’m forgiven and His promises stand to be true just as they always have.
Q: What is the one thing you are most proud of?
Knowing Jesus and having my life transformed by Him.
Q: What is one piece of advice that you would give to
someone who might be struggling in life?
Life is hard and you are so loved. Every person on the planet will
experience hardship, and each hardship will be unique to that individual.
I admit that I cannot fully understand your current struggle or whatever
future struggles that may lie ahead. Yet, I can confidently tell you that you
are loved. Look to Jesus and look at His life. Oh, how He loves you. Let Him
comfort you, guide, and direct you for He has new life for you to live. Not
one that’s free of trials but free of fear and full of hope.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who might be trying to
strengthen their relationship with God, but may be finding
it difficult or feeling silly?
Do not give up and do not feel dumb. The world says you are fine on
your own, do you, treat yourself. At the same time we can look at the
world and see we are not fine. We can look at ourselves and feel tired
of the self absorption that comes with “doing you” and we can see that
no matter how much we “treat ourselves” it’s never enough. Why? I
believe we were created for so much more, and that rests in knowing the
Lord. He promises that, “You will seek me and find me when
you seek me with all your heart.”
Q: Who are some of your female role models and why?
I have so many role models because each person is walking a path I never
have. I look at women from my hometown who are married to farmers
and raising children and I think, “Wow, you are strong. You are managing
a household and raising your babies oftentimes on your own as your
husband works long and difficult hours. Your commitment to your
families is one I look highly upon.” I look at women who are my neighbors
overseas living with very little yet living as if they have everything and
I think, “Your contentment is something I want and admire greatly.” One
specific role model of mine lived long before I did. Her name was Ruth. She
lost her husband early and followed her mother in law to a new land where
she knew no one, was unfamiliar with the culture, and ultimately had nothing
to gain from the world’s point of view. Yet, she cared for her mother in law
and was faithful to do what she needed to that day. The Lord found favor in
Ruth as she found safety and purpose in Him. The Lord tremendously blessed
Ruth, more than she could have ever asked for, and more than the world would
have ever told her was possible. Her life wasn’t easy, but it was purposeful
and built upon daily faithfulness. That’s what I want for my life.
Q: What is your favorite quote or Bible verse and why?
Psalm 34:8-10, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man
who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His Saints, for those who
fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who
seek the Lord lack no good thing.” I love this because the Lord is good, and
you know that from experience. It’s kind of like looking at ice cream, it may
look good but you don’t actually know how good it is until you have the
experience of tasting it. I love how this verse also directs us to fear the
Lord because we all will fear something, whether that’s getting sick, disappointing
someone, our own lack of perfection… so the Lord says, “fear me.” Not because
He doesn’t care for us but because He is great and powerful and with such
power comes reverence. His power and strength never runs out, as the king
of the jungle even becomes weak and hungry. This is why I seek Him because
it’s only with Him that I will never lack any good thing.
Q: You have always seemed to be this insanely outgoing and
confident person. Where would you say this confidence comes from?
Have there been times where you didn’t feel confident? How did
you work through those situations?
For a long time I found this confidence in myself. I felt in control and
secure, simply based on who I was. Eventually, I failed myself. And I was
put in situation after situation where I was not enough on my own. I felt
scared, unsure, and hesitant. Through these experiences the Lord has
taught me to find my confidence in Him. He is the only One who is the
same yesterday, today, and forever. Humans change, we only need to
look at ourselves to see the truth in that, which is why I can’t take
confidence in myself. My confidence goes beyond what I can do and is
centered on One who is in complete control and completely satisfied in Himself.
Okay, last 3 questions:
Q: What is your favorite song of the moment?
No Other Love (acoustic version) by Red Rocks
Song link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0LZ74fryo0
Q: What is your number one goal for the next 6 months?
To trust God where He has me and live there fully.
Q: What is one thing you think everyone should do at least once?
Get to know someone who has a different culture than you. You may not
be able to travel overseas, but the US is blessed to have people from
many cultures. It is so important we get to know people who appear
different from us. It’s then we learn that the world doesn’t revolve around
us. We are small, living in a very big world with people who have different
experiences, sufferings, triumphs, and interests. Yet, in the midst of all our
differences we learn that people are people. Regardless of culture people
need food, drink, sleep, and shelter for survival; and people desire
purpose, have limitations, and long for love.