hope engaged | guest post | THE KLACKNERS


hope engaged | guest post

Hello sweet readers! my name is Katie and I am so honored to be guest posting for Meg today as she is on vacation. I just adore this little space, and Meg's honest and genuine heart:)

My husband Kevin and I recently returned from living in Nepal,
working in an aftercare home with girls rescued out of sex-trafficking...

"wait, wheeerrrreeee?" you might ask.
Don't worry, I was pretty clueless where this mysterious land of Nepal was a few years ago too.
Actually, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things.

You see, my husband and I grew up in sunny california,
spending massive amounts of time at the beach, going to disneyland, eating mexican food, etc.
ie: a wee bit insulated

but a few years ago Kevin and I started asking ourselves a question,
"does our life and marriage matter?"
I mean, yes, we knew our lives mattered to us and our families and friends.
But beyond that, was our life and marriage making the world a more beautiful place?

Our hearts craved a vision where our marriage was about more than just "us" and being comfy.
{don't get me wrong, I still love my fro-yo and bach same as the next girl}
But man oh man, it sure can be hard gaining perspective on the deeper things in life when you live in the midst of some of the richest zip codes in the US.
Where driving a range rover is absolute top priority.

so we figured, as christians, we'd see what the heck Jesus did when he was on earth.
{i mean, JC's a pretty good place to start when you're looking for answers, right?}
and pretty much it was this...
he hung out with the poor, the prostitutes, the hurting and the broken.
and guess what? this scared us half to death...like no joke.
last time we checked we didn't know any poor people or prostitutes. epic fail.

so we decided to get a lil' brave,
and ask God to show us what this might look like smack dab in the middle of Orange County.
aaannndddd He did.
just two miles from where Kevin grew up was an immigrant neighborhood we'd never even noticed before.
and so with our knees knocking, we decided to move in, and it changed our life. {here}
that was the start of our marriage on mission.
but then, God continued to surprise us.
It's like He was taking our humble little vision for our marriage and putting it into high gear.
Kevin and I have prayed since we were married that we would be able to live abroad before we had kids! And, just over a year ago, Kevin and I were approached and asked if we would consider moving to Nepal to work at an aftercare home for girls rescued out of sex-trafficking.
we were speechless.
turns out, the exact jobs God had placed us in the years prior were the very skills this home was looking for to help them build their infrastructure.
wwaaaiiitttt, what?

So yes, in a matter of a few months, we quit our jobs, packed up our life,
and lived in one of the most colorful and vibrant cultures i've ever experienced!
From the moment we arrived, Nepal was absolute delicious chaos. And while this in-your-face country certainly gave us some challenges (little electricity, dusty roads, monsoon rains), we were absolutely smitten with our new home! Every day we got lost in the hues of gorgeous colors splashed about on clothing and buildings and food. Kevin and I loved to take public transportation all around the city and explore the hundreds of years of history that seem to unfold around every corner.
{for more Nepal pictures, see here}

 But most importantly, we were ever so humbled at the work our marriage got to take on each day. Many of you know that there are more slaves today than ever in our world's history. The precious ones that came to our home had often been trafficked across borders, their tiny bodies abused in the most horrendous and evil of ways. It broke our hearts and the tears constantly flowed, but every day I was reminder over and over again that God is a redeemer, and I saw first hand how the power of Christ's love has transformed these girls. Kev and I worked on building the infrastructure for the home by doing policy/structural work as well as financial and accounting projects, but our favorite time was spent just hanging out with these brave sweet girls.

{a sweet little hike with the girls}

And lastly, living abroad allowed me to soak up life to the fullest each day with my beloved husband.
You guys...I got to be with him every minute of every day!! {insert massive smile and confetti!}
we walked all over the city together, we snuggled up at night after the electricity has gone out and talked and laughed and watched movies together, we attempted to cook together and buy fresh vegetables and fruit at the market together. we met new people together, and loved on the sweet girls together. We took each other to the doctors together, and slowly, painfully learned nepali together.
my favorite word.
It is like Abba handed us this sacred gift of time,
where we had one goal and one heart to love and serve God.
{don't mind my majorly off-centered bindi! oh well!!}

so i suppose that's where our little prayer got us.
i've learned that every marriage matters, because every marriage is a ministry.
no matter where we are.

Thanks for letting me share my journey!
I'd love for you to stop on by my blog Hope Engaged and say hello!
I am in the midst of a travel series called "How to Pay for Travel"
(as Kevin and I have loved to travel and have been to over 40 countries!)
You can see the first installment here.

Have a wonderful day friends!
love katie
Amy said...

as always katie, i love reading your story.
i love you and kevin's hearts....they are so encouraging, challenging, and inspiring! <3

Robyn Black said...

what a sweet & encouraging story! :)

Jenna Secrist said...

Wow, these photos and your story is absolutely stunning. For years, I've been trying to figure out how to become a part of ministering to girls rescued from sex-trafficking. There is a lot of trafficking in my city, and I feel called to mission. But I'm just not sure where to start. I know God will guide me like he did with you. What an amazing testament of God's unfailing presence!

Jenny Fish said...

Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Daniel and I are in the process of looking for a place to live, and our hunt has drawn us to the "safer" areas of Memphis. Maybe we need to branch out and think more of where we can serve instead of where we can be safe and comfortable. Thanks for sharing, Katie!

Katie Cook said...

Thanks for having me sweet Meg! xoxox Katie

Megan McIlvaine said...

you are always welcome, lady! hope to have you back sometime!!

Megan McIlvaine said...

so glad you were encouraged by katie's post! i can honestly say that i always come away encouraged after reading her blog. she is such a joy!

Megan McIlvaine said...

aren't her photos gorgeous! i love how colorful they always are :)

do you live in atlanta? just a guess, but i know that is a the largest hub in the US for sex trafficking. i was at the Passion conference a couple of years ago that revolved mostly around awareness regarding slavery and sex trafficking. it was very eye opening! praying the Lord would give you an opportunity to get involved!

Megan McIlvaine said...

isn't katie great? she just exudes joy for Jesus and i love it!

Megan McIlvaine said...

gosh, i love their story!

Jenna Secrist said...

You are exactly right--Atlanta is the #1 city for sex trafficking. There have even been cases of trafficking right down the street from where I live. Thank you for praying for me to get involved. With me losing my job soon, I will have so much more time to give to the cause and figure out what my "deal" is. I definitely believe it has to do with this! Thanks for the encouragement, girl!

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