Family sends positive messages during African mission trip


Coming on the race, I have received some of the craziest support from my family and friends.

One of the hardest parts about being gone on the race has been the sacrifice of leaving behind my family. Their support means more to me than I can even put into words, so I wanted to give them a chance to share with the world some thoughts and feelings they have about this journey.

Mom (Elizabeth Heyne)

“These last five months have been kind of crazy. When Keia told me that this would be my journey, too, I really didn’t think anything about it, but oh how the Lord has worked in my life. It has been hard not having Keia home, and I can’t wait to hold her in my arms, but I can tell you I am seeing the Lord through her every day. The biggest struggle is when she is sick and there is nothing I can do. I then have to take a step back and remember the Lord has got this and that she will be OK.

I have watched Keia grow so strong in her faith. She is not only working in people’s lives in other countries but here in Seymour, Indiana, also. To have people in town that don’t even know our family come up to me and tell me what a beautiful and amazing daughter I have and how they can’t wait for the next blog to hit the paper makes me so proud. I love Keia’s heart. I love how close this journey has brought Keia and I, and I love that she is laughing and smiling again.

The joy that was stolen from her is back, and I cannot thank the Lord enough for that. Keia is doing a Bible study with her dad and I through WhatsApp, and I love that we can worship together, even if it’s only through WhatsApp. Last but not least, she has helped me grow in my faith more than ever. This journey has been amazing not only for her but for me, too.”

Sister (Madalynn Miles)

“So it has been a hard 5½ish months that my sister, Keia, has been gone. It is just so different now that she isn’t here. On the other hand, I know that this is what God wants Keia to do, and I am going to support her in any way possible. There isn’t a day that you aren’t on my mind all of the time. You have inspired me to do so many good things, and I have learned so many things from you. I love you and can’t wait for you to get home.”

Dad (Scott Heyne)

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure when Keia sat us down one evening and said she wanted to do this World Race, and oh, it lasts for nine months. My first thought was, ‘Have you thought this through? Do you think you can make it nine months away from the comforts of home, family and friends? And do you know how long nine months is and what could happen during this time?’ I then thought, ‘Well, we probably won’t have to worry about it because there is no way we can raise the monies needed in such a short period of time.’ However, I forgot Keia is wanting to do this, and when Keia sets her mind to something, it generally gets done. So now, I am thinking, ‘How are we going to make it during these nine months that she is now going to be gone?’

“Not having Keia here has been tough on me. Keia has such a wonderful spirit and kind, loving, generous heart. She has brought a new spirit and meaning to Christmas for me and has shown me how much more than presents there is to Christmas. Not having her here this Christmas was a noticeable void. We also missed having her here for her 21st birthday, as we had talked about what we were going to do prior to this journey.

It had made that day even more difficult because she wasn’t here for us to enjoy our planned birthday weekend; however, with each of the days that I miss her, I will look back and read her blogs and look at the pictures she has shared while on the mission field, and I see what she has done for all of God’s people that she has come in to contact with, and I see the joy not only on their faces but I see that same joy on Keia’s face, and I know that Keia is where she needs to be right now. I can say that Keia has taught me how to love unconditionally, how to forgive, the importance of having faith and living for God.

“I am so looking forward to seeing and being with Keia, and I also know I am going to be challenged during PVT, and I know that I will be uncomfortable, but I also know that God has got this and that my church family, family and friends have been so supportive, and I have a wonderful, loving daughter that is going to be with me and is going to help me continue to grow in my faith journey as I grow closer to God.

“I am amazed how much Keia has impacted my life since God brought her in to my life some five years ago, and I hope that this journey brings me closer to God and strengthens our family by making me a better father. And to think this all started with Keia having a vision one evening at our dinner table. God is good.”

Grandpa (Robert Donham)

“Keia, by you doing the will of God, you make this grandpa mighty proud. You have shown dedication and love for your Savior and King. I can see you are committed to helping and serving others, and that is needed more in this world. I love you.”

Grandma (Judy Donham)

“Your mission journey has been so exciting, especially seeing your growth in the Lord. It is also giving me insight through your blogs to feel I am sharing experiences that I will never get to have. So many people (relatives, friends and people we barely know) are praying for you and your team and squad, and they are anxious to hear updates. Tears come to my eyes when I see how you are obedient and being used by God in mission fields. We love you.”

When I think about my family, I think of people who love me unconditionally, who support me regardless of how difficult it may be and who love the Lord with me. This trip is just as much a sacrifice for them as it is me.

Keia Blair is a Seymour native who attends Cincinnati Christian University. During her nine-month mission trip around the world, she is submitting a series of blogs that will appear in The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].

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