Kenya Day 8

We split up today into two groups.  Cameron, Jessica and Anne went to do more work with the children while Murphy, Wheeler and I went to visit another pastor’s house.  It was a great plan as the first team feels strongly called to minister to the children and the other three of us where comfortable meeting pastors, bring encouragement and even find opportunities to try to speak into their life situation.

As we broke into two groups there was a moment when I felt some small fear for the team that was leaving us and going the opposite direction.  I know that Cameron and the two girls are highly capable and wise.  Still it was a little worrisome to watch the people you care about and feel responsible for, walking off in a different direction, disappearing around a corner in an unfamiliar town half way around the world.  And they are “mzungu” so there is a little extra concern that some people of the town might not be as hospitable as the church leaders we have spent most of our time with.

A major portion of this whole process in preparing to come to Kenya, and now being here, has been a very long exercise in stretching our faith.  Of course we always talk about trusting in Him but then it is something different to actually do it.  When you are facing a problem or the unknown do you turn to fear or to faith?  Obviously we are cautious and wise but all the while looking to Jesus “the author and perfector of our faith.”

(A little pause) if you are reading this…thank you…both of you (smile)…what situation are you facing right now that is bring anxiety, fear or worry?  What do you need to do to keep your eyes on Jesus?  Are you in a season of waiting?  Are things changing for you or somethings even being taken away?  Is this a season to endure and not give up?  Is it a season to move into new action?  What might God be calling you to do?  What might He be showing you?  When in your life has He been faithful before and how does that remind you that He will be faithful again…whatever happens?

(back to the story) So I told Cameron to make sure he is watching out for the girls, which he already was but that was the fatherly thing to say, and that he did not need to worry because Edina our lady social worker would be watching out for him.   And they walked off.

Then Pastor Rodgers arrived, team 2 loaded up in the van and we left to visit another church and their pastor.  That was an interesting journey.  We were told that the church was only 9 kilometers away but what we didn’t know that that was calculated if you took the short way through the back roads and trails.  In the car we had to take the long way around and our journey took 2 hours.

When we arrived at the church it was a small structure about the size of school classroom.  It was formed with 3-inch tree poles bound together and metal sheets coming half way up the sides and making a roof.  The floor was made of mud with a slightly raised mud stage in the front.  Since the church is still fairly new, the floor felt soft and uneven but I imagine that it will pack down over time.

We were to meet Pastor Keven there as he SO PROUDLY showed us his church and shared a few dreams of things they want to do and improvements they want to make.  That was an interesting contrast in how humble the church and yet how proud it made him.  Another interesting contrast was that we were standing in the mud floor shack and he was wearing what look like an Armani suit wearing his Gucci sunglasses.  His outfit included a shimmering silver suit jacket and pants, nice white shirt, a colorful tie and polished shoes.  Standing there looking suave with his designer sunglasses on I thought he looked ready for a TBN telethon.  I guess I say that in some jest but this ‘dressing up’ is very common for their church functions. On Sunday morning the women were dressed in fancy dresses and the men had on nice clothes or even suits as they walked down the muddy impoverished streets of the town.  This day we were just visiting this stick frame shanty Pastor Keven had on his suit to great us.  I can say I am not trying to criticize the culture or even draw a conclusion, it is just an interesting phenomenon.

After that we made our way to Pastor’s Keven’s home.  There we met his family and a couple other pastors and we visited a while before sharing a meal together.  The meals continue to be these massive feasts and we feel very uncomfortable when our hosts set the food before us.  Usually we have been told that we are just going by someone’s church or house to meet them, visit and pray together.  So when they start bringing out food, and it is so much food, and we know that they are making sacrifices to provide it and they may not be eating for the next few days because they are trying to bless us.  It is very humbling.  The hospitality is overwhelming.  To them, our presence, our visit to their home is very special blessing.  Why?  I’m not sure.

Part of it is just being awestruck at having white people visit.  It really feels strange having everyone making such a big deal over us, following us around, running and screaming after us, wanting to shake our hands and touch our skin.  However, when we visited Pastor Keven’s he had two church leaders there as well; his church secretary and his treasurer.  I would say that they are in their late to upper 20’s and we were the first “Mzungu”s they have ever seen in their life.  That is just so hard to believe in the world and day and age that we live in today.  However, that is the world that we are in now.  And to the Kenyans we must seem like the materialization of storybook mystical creatures from a faraway land bringing wonder and blessing to them.

But we are just people.  We know how unimportant we are and how little we can do without Christ.  I can understand how a person that achieves sudden fame and fortune can go crazy from all the attention.  But they can probably get lost if they think the talent and money can sustain them.  We on the other hand, have found that we have great opportunity and great responsibility to properly steward the blessings that have been afforded to us.  We merely serve and seek God to do His will wherever we go.  May he direct our steps and order our days for the building of His Kingdom as we all have a “heart for our land” wherever we are.

Posted by Cary Peden

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