Monday, April 2, 2012

View from the Top of the World

Easu is standing next to Judie.

Judie’s best friend at school is a boy named Esau. He is also an orphan and lives in a children’s home run by a Swiss flight attendant and another woman from Australia here in Ngong. I’ll call them B and D. They board 25 children and care for another 50 in their homes in a slum of Nairobi.

Yesterday they had planned a hike to where the wind turbines sit on the top of Ngong Hills and invited us to join them.

We started out around 10 am it was already over 70 degrees. We walk up is on a very dusty road that on a Saturday morning had a surprising amount of traffic.

The view from the top was spectacular! It truly is like being on the top of the world.

The kids played football, hiked around the top of the hill, laid in the sun and chatted with their friends. D had driven a car up in case some of the smaller children needed a lift down the mountain. B called it the catering car because it carried water and a picnic of sweet bread, crisps, biscuits, pineapple, oranges, bananas and juice.

Picnic time!

Judie Resting after the hike.

We spent a few hours gazing at the view, playing and taking pictures. It was nice to spend time with other mzungus (white people) and really fun to hang out with their children.

Camera fun!

Waima is giving D a massage, which he calls a "Maasai Lodge."

When we got back to the children’s home we were given lunch of kuku (chicken) and rice, we took off our shoes while we were eating and found that the dust and gotten not only to our socks but to our bare feet!

D gave Judie and I a ride home, where we proceeded to shower and collapse. But what a lovely way to spent a Sunday.

Judie and I playing tourist with the Rift Valley in the background. You can just barely make out Kimuga Farm from this vantage point.

P.S. – I didn’t totally skip church. I did go to the first hour of the service at PCEA Enchorro Emuny!

Saturday Night at the Vineyard

Before you get excited, Karen Vineyard is a church. It’s primarily made up of ex-pats and more affluent Kenyans. It’s where I go when there is a combined service at my church, which means it’s all in Swahili. They have a Saturday night service the last Saturday of every month. Judie and Esau (Judie’s friend from school) and I went on March 31.

I had been to three Sunday services at Vineyard but never a Saturday evening service. The service was held at a fancy prepatory school in Karen. The people who attend Karen Vineyard are from all over the world and represent many different protestant traditions. Karen Vineyard itself is more evangelical in nature.

First was the praise and worship, (modern gospel sounds from an iPod with the words projected on a screen), then we were asked to pray for one person as the spirit moved us as a group. Then we broke into small groups and prayed for one another. It was a very intimate and moving experience.

During the large group prayer one woman said of the woman we were praying over that she saw a tapestry, and that the woman was wrapped in it. The tapestry had a beautiful picture on the outside. But the woman who was wrapped in it only saw the knots on the back of the tapestry. The woman praying said, God see’s the tapestry, He sees your beauty and potential, He sees your heart. You see only the knots – your flaws and failures. It’s time to see what God sees. I know she was talking to the woman we were praying over, but she could have been talking about me. Maybe even most of the people in the room. Maybe even herself.

Don’t we all get blinded by our flaws and failures and fail to see what God sees… the beautiful creature He made!

Thanks Karen Vineyard… prayer is powerful!


I have chronic laryngitis. I get it a couple of times a year. It usually happens when I talk too much, which is an occupational hazard I have yet to figure out how to avoid.

It started with a sore throat, and then got progressively worse from Friday when I was croaking and wheezing out short sentence to Sunday when I was straining with every word.

On Sunday I made an executive decision, to not go to church. My morning prayer went something like this, “Dear God, I know you want me to go to church, but I can’t even image sitting on that hard bench trying to comprehend the message when all I can think about is how much my throat hurts. So instead Lord, I’m going to the cyber to finish my newsletter and then I’ll go home and not talk for the rest of the day so you can help heal my throat and bring my voice back.”

My plan set in motion, I wrapped a scarf around my neck (in 65+ degree heat) and headed for the cyber cafe where two and a half hours and about 10 throat lozenges later I hit send on my 8th e-newsletter.

When I returned home I made some tea and soup and put a video on and snuggled up on the couch for an afternoon of silence. About an hour later I got a phone call from one of Wezesha’s youth. He was in Ngong and wanted to come over. Not one to turn down an opportunity to see/talk/counsel the youth in our program, I told him to come over. Like many orphaned youth he was not properly socialized and had some questions about how to deal with certain relationships in his life. We talked for almost two hours. My throat was killing me, but I knew this was God at work and decided it was best to push through.

As I was walking him out, my neighbor across the hall who I barely know because she works a lot, invited me over for tea. I thought about declining because of the state of my throat but then reconsidered as I don’t see her often at this might be my last chance for a while to be neighborly. We had a lovely time talking and drinking tea. She researches women’s health issues for an NGO. I told her about my Kenyan children. She is also a single mom so we bonded quickly.

I left her apartment and went directly back to my couch, finished watching my video, made another cup of tea and went to bed. This time I prayed, “Dear God, it was you who made me talk today, that was not my plan, but I thank you so much for being able to share with the young man and my neighbor today. I believe that even though my voice is strained and sore now that you can heal me.”
The next morning Grace called early. I picked it up and said hello…and Grace said I can hear you are better. And I said a silent Thank You to my Lord and to Grace I said, “yes, it’s a miracle!”

I was using Facebook on my Blackberry (a gift from a friend) and the screen went blank and a spinning hourglass appeared. Dread crept through my body! I hadn’t backed up my contacts! I tried putting in another battery – but the same spinning hourglass spun annoyingly on my screen. So I made a trip into downtown Nairobi to the Blackberry fixit place. The woman behind the big desk looked at me sympathetically and said, “I’m so sorry once this happens there is nothing we can do to save your data – your pictures, contacts, everything is gone. We have to reboot the memory to get it working again. It will wipe out all your data.”

“How much does it cost,” I asked.

“It cost 2,500/= (about $30).”

I was devastated at the thought of losing my contacts and the fact that I didn’t have an extra $30 to spare. Then she paused and a puzzled look came over her face, she said, “or there could be a miracle.”

She turned the screen of my Blackberry around so that I could see it and it was completely back to normal.

“Praise the Lord!” I said at the top of my lungs – oblivious to anyone who might be within ear shot. And I meant it. Praise the Lord for the small miracles he performs everyday!