Friday, August 29, 2014

Seeing For Yourself

I turned to Audrey and Pamm and said, “You really can’t understand this place until you see it for yourself.” Audrey and Pamm are family friends from Minnesota. They have children my age and more like mother’s too me. They have watched me grow up and they are here to see for themselves the Africa I have been telling them about for years.
They agreed that pictures and stories really couldn’t depict with much accuracy the world you can touch and feel and engage with in person. And yet I still try with pictures and words to fill your heads and hearts with visions of Africa because I want so desperately to share this awe inspiring place with you. I want you to taste the dust, to feel the heat, to hear the sounds of the morning, to see the joy and frustrations of the people, to walk along the paths I walk and experience the pure glory of God’s creation.
The Ngong Hills from afar.
I took Pamm and Audrey to visit Rebekah and James in Ilkiloret. I had not seen Rebekah and James since their wedding, and was eager to find out if life had changed since being “married again”. They were married in a Maasai wedding 10 years ago, but exchanged vows in a Christian wedding three weeks ago. Rebekah said it was like going from “analog to digital.” She also said she was so glad the planning and preparation were over! I asked James if he thought their wedding would have any impact on the Maasai tradition of taking more than one wife. James said there were very few Christian men in the village who had only one wife, but that others were watching them with interest. “My church has 25 members,” he said. But his wedding was attended by hundreds of Maasai from the surrounding community, so he has hope that more people will come to know the God he follows, by following his example.
Pamm, Audrey and I with Rebekah (standing next to Pamm) in front of her manyatta.
Next to the classroom I helped construct in Ilkiloret, Janet, my former Maasai co-teacher and current Nominated Member of Parliament for Disabled People, is building a house. She also constructed a road into the village where only a path existed before. Because of her disability, Janet was helpless for much of her life; it is such a blessing to see her life transformed because of the opportunity afforded her. 
Janet's house, on the left, and the adult education classroom in Ilkiloret.
On the way home from Ilkiloret we stopped to see Grace and John King’atua. They are my Kenyan parents and they people who first encouraged me to come to Kenya as a missionary. I hadn’t seen them in months and wanted to get caught up on their lives and those of all the children they support. Janet was one of those children. This year they have five girls graduating from high school!
Grace and John at home in Kimuga.
I also told them about Daniel and that we were getting married soon. They were thrilled. John got his Bible and stood and gave me an impromptu sermon from Philippians 4:4-7. “It’s about rejoicing,” he said “And having joy in life. Never lose that. Build up peace with God, with your husband, with your family and with your friends.”
The glory of God’s creation was abundantly evident today in the transformed lives of His people. In the diversity of culture and custom that blended together so naturally as Audrey and Pamm and I sat under a tree in James’ compound, eating a delicious lunch of rice and beans that Rebekah had prepared. The swirling dust and ever-present flies could not extinguish the joy of new friendship and the shared slice of life. We did our part to build peace even before we heard John’s sermonette.
You may never fully understand this place from afar, but at least by sharing pictures and words I hope you will begin to see how important it is for all of us to keep doing God’s work. It’s about building up peace.
Rejoice! Shalom!

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