Well, I have finally had the chance to go through my pics of Africa and pick out the one's that are "semi-worthy" for publishing (we are our harshest critics, aren't we?). They are now loaded on our website in various galleries in the "Kenya" folder and I will begin sharing them from time-to-time as I also share some stories from the trip.
I had been excited with anticipation when I first felt God stirring my heart for Kenya a year-and-a-half ago. As time drew closer for the trip the excitement grew (you know, like the excitement for the visit from the fat guy in the red suit every December when you were a kid). Even with that build up I was not prepared for the beauty I would see in Africa (the land, nature, people and culture). What an amazing place and people. From golden trees with flat tops, beautiful cactus like plants that looked like they grew out of the trees, wild monkies, zebra, water buffalo to a people who, for the most part, great you with a wave and a smile and are genuinely kind. Those are some of the reasons I fell in love with Kenya.
But the experience we had the next to the last night in Kitale was the MAIN reason I grew to love Kenya and it's people. For some reason every where we went, because we were the mzungu ("European, white person = visitors) we were treated like total royalty. You'd think it would be cool to be waited on hand and foot. To eat first and not clean up your plate or your mess) but it became uncomfortable the longer we were there. Not because we didn't appreciate the kindness, but because we felt we were FAR from deserving to be treated in such a way. That practice speaks more to the heart and minds of the Kenyans than it does the visitors though. They truly do care about people and don't just "pretend" to be kind. On Wed night Pastor Adams' wife, Mary, made a tremendous meal for us. Rice, beans, cooked cabbage, peas, chicken and chapatis (a type of flat bread like thicker tortilla shells) were on the menu this night and I must say, Mrs Mary was far and away the best cook we had while in country. We all (6 mzungu's from the U.S. and 8-10 of our new Kenyan family) gathered around the living room to "break bread" together it was the most intimate of our gatherings. We ate together, and offered greetings and blessings to each other (an unbelieveable tradition where you go around the room and give detailed blessings of kindness for one or more persons in attendance). There were several moments when the lights would go out (African electricity is not regulated as tight as it is in the States so "blackouts" or power outages occur quite often) and we'd just keep talking and giving greetings. There were many thanks for kindness, prayers, etc. And there was a group of people who lifted one another up but never above Jesus. It was an amazing time and I believe what Christ had in mind for the new church (and what the writer of Acts wrote about).
Our challenge is to turn the tv off, get away from our "me, me, me" centeredness and focus on loving Christ and others.