It means "welcome" here in Kenya.
Have you ever gotten into something, and understood the main idea, but not the details? Spiritually, at this point that is how this last week has been. I got to experience A LOT of Africa in the last few days. It was moment to moment and wonderful for each part of it; however, as I am now thinking about what to share, it is difficult to covey each thought God put into my head during the last few days. The cool thing about God is He lets you learn by living. This week I got to see some of the most beautiful habitats and some of the worst. I was enthralled by the beauty of the rainforest, and broken over the living conditions of the poor, but in all of the scenery around me, I came unbelievably close to missing the theme found in all the details. Out of all the animals, plants, landscapes, and tin shacks, everyday, we stare at the most beautiful, chosen works of art by Our Father: Humans. All of what God made is good, but the humans are His chosen, holy, and beloved masterpieces. It’s hard to grasp sometimes. And sometimes we’d rather praise God for the mountains majesty rather than the beauty in His reflected image, but wow, what a great God! He chose us. I suppose the best attitude to associate with any situation is one of gratitude. Our God does big things and little things. Let us shout praise to His name for the life He gives each and every one of us on Earth and the Life He gives in Christ Jesus.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
“Simple gratitude helps us experience God at work in every moment of every day.”
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah”
-Psalm 68:19 NKJV
A lot has transpired over the last week of my adventures to and in Kenya, so this is just a brief and objective summary this week. I hope that as I begin to get settled and God provides new opportunities that you will see His great work changing me and the people here as I write. For this first one, it is not as personal as it is informative, so please forgive me. Also, the Kenyan ladies have asked me to speak at one of their retreats on July 21st, so if you have any stories or suggestions for a lesson, I would be blessed by you sharing what you have learned. Love you all in Jesus so very much!
I flew from ABQ, NM ---> St. Paul, MN ---> Amsterdam, Netherlands ---> Nairobi, Kenya
3 Continents in 3 days = a lot of rejuvenating sleep on planes and unlimited chances to invent new forms of self entertainment. I hope you know which activity is dripping with sarcasm. Yes, it is only one of the two (LOL)....Anyways I made it safely to Nairobi on Wednesday morning.
My friend from Kenya who is associated with CRF picked me up from the airport early that morning. My connecting flight to Kisumu was a good 10 hours away, so we got on the bus and went into the city. We ran a few errands downtown and then went to my friend's university. I tried my first Kenyan dishes, chapati and bahiji. They were interesting haha. We left school to go back to the airport, but because of political events and protestors, our mototu (spelling?), small crammed van, got stuck in a 3 hour long traffic jam. I missed my flight by 2 hours, and had to get a hostel in Nairobi. I didn't sleep much that night, but Thursday I did catch a quick morning flight to Kisumu.
I got into Kisumu! My host family and the main missionary family with CRF were out of town, so Cody an intern from Atlanta teaching at the orphanage day school came and helped me get settled in. We then went into the Nylenda slum to visit the school. A combination of the smells and the sights were similar to what I had read about, but visually I had no past reference to compare to this kind of poverty. We maneuvered around the streams of waste in the middle of the rocky road until we got to a fenced off compound where the school, clinic, and church of Ringroad/CRF ministries is located. The kids were in uniform and out playing. They were quick to greet us monzungus (white people) and it was great for me to meet many of the kids and staff, too.
The next morning Cody and I went back to Ringroad for the game day with the kids. I had the most fun playing games with them, and teaching them new games and songs. They had endless questions about the United States. We played for a long time, and then took a street boy to Agape Ministies for Boys. They take in kids abandoned on the street and take care of them and introduce them to Jesus.
Cody, me, and friends went to another town called Kakamega to explore the rainforest there. It was awesome! We climbed a mountain to look down onto the forest, journeyed through thick brush to discovered waterfalls, and got stranded in a hut in the African bush. We ate fresh cut sugar cane and sat in the mud huts to keep from getting wet while the boys went to find a way out of the forest. Then we all stayed in a hostel and hung out in the local places with our Kenyan friends. It was a lot of fun.
Today, I got back from Kakamega and finally got to meet my host family. We had a relaxing lunch, and took Jasmine who is 4 to swim. I am excited about this new week ahead and the rest of the summer.