Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today I Type with Raw Knuckles

So we are back in Nairobi today after a very long journey yesterday from Kisumu. A drive that would normally only take 5 or 6 hours took us....ah, I don't know...too many, as one of the trucks broke down several times....several times on the way. But we arrived in the night and are now relaxing today at a favorite coffee shop here in Nairobi. I spent a couple of hours this morning doing laundry for my family, as it is all done by hand here. So I am trying to stay on top of it, rather than the once a week laundry day that I would do at home. So one bucket full of dirty clothes took two hours to wash by hand and ended with bloody knuckles.

In the last several weeks, we have been in several different communities, visited with many, many families, shaken countless hands, greeted many people, and have seen the hand of God moving among the African people. In the next several days, I will try to break this down into separate stories. For now, please pray for the Church in Kenya. Please pray for your brothers and sisters who are struggling so much here in Kenya. We have met with sisters who are alone in their faith, who are struggling to hold on to what they know of Jesus because no one else around them professes Him name. Please pray for these sisters. When we met with them, you can not imagine who encouraged they were to simply know that they are not alone, that there are brothers and sisters on the other side of the world who are holding them up before the Throne of Grace. You cannot imagine how their spirits were lifted to simply know that were standing with the whole bride of Christ. Please remember them in your prayers.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where I Feel Most Alive

So we have been in Kenya for about 2 weeks now, and this is the first chance I have had to get anything to post. We have been without internet access for the majority of the trip, and now that we have it, I am at a loss as to where to begin. Let me take a moment and look back a bit. If I don't do it now, it won't get done.

We arrived in Nairobi on the night of the 4th, and it seems that we hit the ground running. We spent the first day in Nairobi doing shopping for the house, and then repacking to spend the next week out in the villages. 

Early Sunday morning, we loaded up in the Land Rovers and headed out of Nairobi to a village called Lumbwa among the Maasai. We arrived to the village by late morning in time to be ushered to a large rectangular church, which had been built by Korean missionaries who are living there. Somehow it was an odd contrast of sights with the brick so neatly laid, and the traditional Maasai women filing into it, decked out in their colorful beads and garments. When the pastor launched into the message directly addressing the issues of witchcraft and the spiritual world among them, a demon-possessed woman on the front row was thrown to the ground in a fit of spiritual warfare. As she writhed on the floor making shrieking noises, the elders of the church and some of our team members began to pray over her, commanding the demon to leave her. After several minutes of praying, the woman was helped back to her feet, standing in strength and in her right mind again. There were songs of praise lifted up from there and the service was concluded in worship.

Welcome back to Africa.

There was rest in the afternoon as our first day out came to a close. Sometimes there is just more to take in than can be processed. 

The next day we headed into the nearby community of Noosokitok to meet with the local leadership council. This particular day posed a huge challenge for me, as I was forced to redefine my role here in Kenya. I have quite romanticized traveling with children, boasting about their portability, while at the same time, being keenly aware of wanting to avoid creating the stereotypical rebellious "missionary kid." This is so heavy on my heart that it becomes a driving force throughout the days. I do not want my children to be a casualty of ministry and grow up to hate the God who took their parents' attention and love away. In my heart, it is a difficult balance and I often feel pulled and frustrated by it. So I found myself this day struggling with where I wanted to be and where I needed to be. I wanted to be sitting with the rest of the team, engaging in the leadership council meeting, learning more about the things of the community and how we may come alongside of them, but I was pulled away so many times with the needs of my little people that I decided to abandon the meeting altogether and tend to my children. They are having to learn how to pee behind a bush or squat over a hole to take care of their business, and so that particular day, we took many trips out to the bush for them. And my youngest was forced to nap while strapped to my back, and that was big challenge for all of us. All of that said, children are not as portable as I once boasted. Maybe it is just the season that mine are in, and/or the number that we have, but they have required significant attention that has pulled me away from what I thought was ministry that I would be involved in, and caused me to redefine my ministry focus and strategy. Silly mommy.

I will pause here, as the Kenyan night has called me to sleep. The mosquitos are buzzing about, craving my flesh, and the children are now snoring soundly. We are headed out to the village in the morning to visit family and the parents. I will try to write again tomorrow night upon our return.

Thank you to those who are praying for us. This trip has not been without its challenges thus far. But even amidst the challenges, the land in Africa is where my heart comes most alive. It's beats the strongest and alls me into closer communion with God. I praise His Name for the challenges, and for the awesome privilege to be here. More tomorrow. Be blessed!

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