Habari Asabui! (Good morning!)
Though… it’s 11:00 am here…morning is almost over here… but it is now 4:00 am in Ontario… I trust all are resting well… hope so! 🙂
Well… good news… the team to my knowledge is safe and sound in the air somewhere over Africa as I write. We were up not so “bright” but very early… 4:30 this morning… to get the ladies to the airport by 6:00am. Considering we’d not had a very long nights sleep, the girls were all feeling good this morning as we parted… though sad to be leaving, of course… this place gets to your heart and it is difficult to leave no matter how long you have stayed.. but they all agreed that two weeks is far two short! I’m am very encouraged by that!
We are continually amazed at God’s favor on our team! Our guide Irungu and our driver Mwengi were adamant that we be waiting in the parking lot for them at 5:30 this morning so we would at least get the girls to the airport before the UNBELIEVABLE morning traffic… well… we did make it by 5:40… pretty good for a group of women… really good as far as a Kenyan would say…
I was a little concerned… even that 10 min. can make a difference here… but as I got to the matatu, Irungu assured me all was well after all.. the President of Kenya had just in the last day or two declared today (Tuesday) a national holiday, as a national census begun last night and will run though till the 31st. But for some reason, today… the Pres wants everyone to stick close to home… so we made it to the airport in an unprecedented 20 minutes!!! AND… coming back to downtown Nairobi, the same… as we were coming back, Irungu told me by this time of the morning normally, it would have taken us 1 1/2 hours to get back downtown from the airport (yes, I remember)… and I was prepared for that. No big deal for me as I have much of today to “kill” on my own here while I wait to join the Wachira and his family later… but I was very happy that the guys could get back to the city and on with their days without having to endure a horrible morning of traffic… they did have commitments for the day and were happily on their way before 7:00 am… God is so good! 😀
We’ve done a lot of travelling in the last few days since we’ve written last. The trip to Nairobi with the children was a great success! The children & teachers (& us to… though Franklyn was a little under the weather… but is better now, we are so thankful) had a ball! This year, we all came right into downtown Nairobi to start, to spend an hour at “Uhuru Park”… (“Freedom Park”)… it’s like the Central Park of Nairobi! At one end, there is 3 or 4 amusment rides… one of them, a large “swing” ride… that must take at least 30+ people at a time, and a teacup ride (just like at Disney!)… those were the only two in operation… well… they got them into operation by 15 minutes after we arrived anyway…
Most of the Kenayns (young AND “old”) had never been on anything like these before… most of them tried, some very willingly and excitedly, some were terrified, some only went because Wachira insisted they try… and they all loved it! Many said it was their favorite experience of camp!
Then we headed to the “Village Market” just on the outskirts of town. It’s a complex that is obviouly didicated to tourists, but the attraction for us?… the waterpark! The children had been talking all week about going to Village Market to the waterslide and pool… and for many other children… THIS was the highlight of camp! It made us realize how much we take for granted in our culture. So much is so available to us in affluent North America… these we take for granted and are easy for us to provide for ourselves and our chidren. It’s very… humbling to be reminded that for so many people… children and adults… something as simple as an amusement ride or a pool could be something so looked forward to… so special… perhaps even once in a lifetime… only God knows. As I was walking to PACE on this morning to meet the bus and the children with one of our Kenyan companions, Esther Muchina, she was saying how she and probably most of the children did not sleep that night before this trip as they would be SSSSSOOOOO excited! It reminded me of the night before Christmas morning when I was a child… the joy and anticipation… what a blessing is it was for all of us to be a part of such a special day with our friends here.
Seems so simple… some, if not many people at home are probably wondering… you went all the way to Kenya to “play” with children? Do crafts? Teach them games? Bake chocolate chip cookies??? Go to amusment park and a waterslide? Yes, all of this and more, because in sharing these things with not only the children but thier parents, teachers and mentors… we are loving them and reaching out to them to help them appreciate even more the simple pleasures God provides to us so graciously… and lessons of life and our God that are often missed here in Kenya… just as they are at home in North America so often as we race through life just trying to get through another day! I can’t and I’m sure that my sisters on their way back home to Canada can’t either (though ask them anyway!) fully explain how much our friends here appreciate our coming here and all the support and prayers that our family and friends back home send their way through us as well. We’ve had so many people thank first God, and us, Harbour Church and others who have had a hand in sending us here. Countless co-workers and chidren, who have come to look so forward to and enjoy this particular camp that the Candians come to support them and join them in.
As I said in an earlier email, we’ve sensed God’s favor and presence in so many ways as we’ve served in this way. Again we were reminded of how the children are affirmed by our presence and mostly by our shared worship of the same God their parents and teachers encourage them to worship and serve. We take for granted that many people, all over the world worship the one true God through our faith in Jesus, as we do… because we have access to media and information so widely. We forget… it’s not like that everywhere… just because it is so for us… most people here in rural Kenya get maybe the Kenyan national news, they know what’s going on locally… but not much is known about the rest of the world. It’s an affirmation to many, especailly children, that people from far away believe and serve the same God they do… it helps encourage and strengthen their faith in an huge way. And that is reason enough to come… all the other benefits are an added bonus.
As well, it’s been so great to experience this two weeks once again with my sisters who have come to serve so willingly and sacrificially… it’s not a vacation by any stretch to serve here as we do… long days, lots of energy required, not knowing what will be served for the next meal (and if it’s something one will prefer), not knowing if there will be water this morning or electricity tonight… we are all stretched daily… but by and large, the team came prepared to serve and they did not flake out under the preassure! God provided all we needed to do all that He had for us to do. The team really stepped up and served with all God has blessed them with and I am so grateful for what each brought to the team and to the mission! And to see Kenya though their eyes… fresh eyes… is always a joy… God really worked in them and their “go with the flow” (which became our motto) attitudes… to help them not only appreciate but embrace a culture so far removed from their own. We had many good conversations and God revealed so much to all of us in our time here… about His perfect timing, His protection, His provision, what is means to really serve Him and people and how to do that in His power and not our own…things we each personally need to be stretched to trust Him more in… this is not an end, but I trust a new beginning for all of us… and another good step forward for PACE Ministries and our partnership with them. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!
One specific story I do have to share. Yesterday (Monday) morning, I woke up really early… I think it was just before or just after 6:00… (Of course… because it was our only day to “sleep in” as all we were to do was finish packing and say our goodbyes!).. Anyway… I heard Mary up, and the kettle going, so I got up to join here in a quiet, early morning cup of coffee. I asked her about how she was feeling… this has been a very stretching and emotional… yet a VERY good time for her… about the trip as a whole and about going home. Of course, she doesn’t want to go just yet (Let me say… she was adapting very well into the Kenyan lfestyle!)… but she shared with me an incident she’d had a day or two earlier with some street boys in town (Nyahururu) that hang out just outside one of the supermarkets and beg for money or bread… what ever they can get. (Which she graciously provided to one this day, once she had our friend Irungu’s blessing to do so in this case.) She noticed one had a bottle of glue stuffed inside his shirt, and she realized he was sniffing it. She tells me they do this as it suppressed their appetite so they’re not so hungry.
She had a talk with him about it, but I guess it was cut short as the team was urging here to come along so they could get on to the next “thing.” I don’t think they realized the kind of converstation she was having at the time… in fact, I’m sure they didn’t! Anyway, on this morning as we talked, she shared with me the burden she had for this teenager (and his buddies to) and was really wishing she had one more opportunity to talk to him. I could sense how much this meant to her and a little later asked the team if they could be ready a little earlier to leave town, called the driver to see if he could pick us up earlier and then it was just to pray that the boy was there. Mary was convinced he would be.
So off we went… as we got closer to town, I prayed (and I trust Mary was praying to) he would be there… and praise God, he was! Pylllis, Val, Franklyn and I all jumped out of the van, headed off into the supermarket “to buy snacks for the trip and use the internet” which we really didn’t need to do, but we wanted to leave Mary to honour her time with this boy… We stole a glance through the second story window of the store, and saw the two of them engaged in conversation. You could just see on both of their faces, God at work in the interation. Words can’t describe. A half hour later, we had to get on the road, and John ( we now know his name) and Mary embraced, Irungu took a photo of them together and I heard him ask and the three of them making arrangements for John to get a copy. Mary was… I can’t even say… the burden was lifted… those of us who have been there know what that’s like… peace, joy… a real sense of God’s presence. We all had the privlege of sharing in that. Please pray for this boy if God lays him on your heart. We don’t know if he’ll never sniff glue again or not, but we know that God knows and He cares… and that the God who loves John so much, spoke to him through a woman who reminded him that God does love him and has a plan and purpose for his one and only life… she knows because of the grace God has given her… given all of us who know Him. John wants to get off the street, he doesn’t want to sniff glue… he wants to get a cart to sell sweets in town… we will be praying for him… that God will take what Mary has begun and work in and through this young life.
Even if that’s all we did… in God’s economy… it would be enough… “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me” Jesus says… We don’t know all God has done and will continue to do long after the team and even me and the guys later this year, are all back home in Canada. All we do is listen, seek, trust and obey… and trust God with all the rest. There is no greater joy and privlege in life than to serve and experience God’s hand in this life. Makes me look even more forward to each new day… “go with the flow…!” and heaven… who can even imagine the joy of that to come!
And with that, I realize I need to end here for now. Please continue to pray for the team as they travel home today… they expect to be arriving at Pearson at around 8:15 or so tonight. (Tuesday) Please also continue to pray for them as they now face the re-entry process… which we have begun to work out together prior to their departure, but as each woman returns home, God will have a different journey for each of them to take… as they come back to “real life” (whatever that is!???) back in North America and with family and friends. It’s not an easy journey and as Phyllis commented this morning in the van on the way to the airport … “Now the real work begins…” This is a life changing experience… and I trust God will continue to walk with them right where they are at and bless the time and effort they have stepped up to and will continue in.
I to, humbly would ask for your prayers as well as I continue to serve here in Kenya. I will be in Nairobi till Friday with the Ngamau family for a time of “coming down from the team experience,” debreifing with Wachira and continue work on my part of the Habour 25 “Launch Leaders” initiative. As well, I hope to see a couple of sights… and enjoy a 15 minute walk to the “Nairobi Java House” each morning I’m here! What a treat! (To my “Garden Angels” friends, I was thinking of you as I enjoyed my first morning coffee today after the trip back from the airport!… I got their just after they opened and I think I was their first customer this morning!! I’m sure I was thier most eager at the very least!) What a blessing it was to just sit and enjoy and continue my journal about the mission so far. (Phyllis… I did 19 pages this morning!! 😀 I’m not nearly as caught up as you though!)
Friday, I will be heading back to Nyahururu with Wachira and his family to get settled into my new home, begin the work that awaits me there and prepare for Blair and Roger’s joining me in September… and our trip to Rwanda with the Kenyans. I will keep in touch and again I thank you for your prayers and support! This truly is a team effort that stretches far beyond what anyone serving here alone can accomplish for God, and it is privlege to serve on your behalf and mostly for God’s glory and purpose!
Have a blessed day, a blessed week… I hope to connect again soon! May you know the love and peace of Christ today…
With love and in His service,
Sheryl, Phyllis, Mary, Val and Franklyn