Differences melting…

An old mama has died in our village.

She was the mother or grandmother of many of our friends here. Yesterday we took a box of food. Today we took a garbage bag full of popcorn! That was a big hit.

People have been flocking to the family compound to pay their respects, to grieve with and comfort the family. Some come up wailing, some speechless, clearly feeling uncomfortable. But without fail, whether young or old, they greet every person present.

There were just a dozen or so there when we walked up around noon. We went up the lane, stepping around three cows grazing. We jumped the small hedge and walked into the compound. It’s not much different. Grief is universal. There’s that pleasure of seeing family and friends mixed with a pain of loss. Sometimes there’s laughter, sometimes there’s tears.

We put the large blue bag on a table under a shade tent that had just been made with seed sacks and a tarp we had sent up earlier. Without delay, the paper cups we had brought were being passed around filled with the unusual treat.

Some visiting, were clearly intrigued by this strange couple, but most people didn’t seem surprised at all to see us. Today, we honestly felt a part. We felt like we belonged, like the family felt we belonged.

Randy sat out with the men and my hand was grabbed and I was whisked off into the smoke filled, fire blazing jikoni… I cut vegetables with my friends as they shared stories. Sometimes in English, sometimes Kiswahili, sometimes Akegusii. Somehow, I knew and understood most of the conversation and would surprise even myself when I would respond or add.

Later in a group of 18 Kenyan women, I was handed a Bible, “share something with us”. We read from Psalms, from Proverbs and from John. I looked up at one point and there were many tears. Oh Lord, comfort these that mourn!

All our little kids were there and because we have spent so much time with them, our presence there seemed normal. That’s it… For the first time in over a year of living here… Our presence seemed ok, normal. We were not the wazungu, we were not the missionaries, we were not the outsiders, we belonged.

When I woke this morning, I was crying before I even got out of bed. I was feeling quite sorry for myself and before long I was clothed in self pity.

I read a FB post of a friend and I was immediately reminded of the sufficiency of Christ!!! Immediately and more profoundly I was again fixed on my goal, my prize.

We had several from our Sunday morning Bible study let us know they were up at the funeral. (The funeral begins the moment the loved one dies and continues until after the burial). We also saw and greeted many who walked by with either water from the river or trees for the fires… One for cooking and one for sitting around.

This is when I felt drawn up there and Randy and I began popping 2 1/2 bags of corn. Little did I know how God would use that treat, how He would melt the differences in a hot smokey wooden shack. Little did I know He would reveal to me HIS sufficiency so sweetly and so lovingly.

Let me stand…

It’s been a tough week… I’m not gonna lie… And as I hear this old Rich Mullins song…

So if I stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through.

And if I can’t let me fall on the grace That first brought me to You

And if I sing let me sing for the joy That has born in me these songs

And if I weep let it be as a man Who is longing for his home

It pretty much sums up my heart this week.

I felt it growing despite my cries to my Strength. As is my mode, I began pulling in and not until we were praying Friday morning, as we both broke before the Throne… casting our cares, surrendering our pain, our family, our inadequacies, our fears, not until that moment did I realize Randy, too, was struggling.

My pastor asked me when I was home, sharing with him about the work here, “what makes it different there?” Well, I now know the answer… Really know the answer. THIS is where, for now, the good works that have been set apart for us to do…. ARE.

The schedule this term is hectic… Long and taxing…. And today is our longest day.

We woke at 4am to prepare chai and be out the door by 5am. We have a 3 hour drive to our class in Narok. Pitch black and still the roads are filled with people walking. Not just in towns, along the highways and out in the middle of nowhere.

We pass towns lined with dukas, a wooden lean to, filled with their wares. Duka after Duka, all selling the same thing. If there are speed bumps in front they will brave the streets displaying their goods as you manage across the foot and half high bump.

The morning was beautiful and we watched the sun seeming to strain in its appearance behind the cloud filled sky. The mountains were more beautiful than I seem to recall. We traveled through Maasai land and I’m always struct by the men and women in their traditional shukas with their brilliant colors.

We’ve been with more than 4 tribes this week, the Luo in Kendu Bay, Gusii in Kisii, Maasai in Narok and a mixture in Kilgoris in the Trans Mara. Finding, in each area, men and women who are hungry for God’s Word.

Through the years Randy and I have come to love His Truth. We have tasted and seen just how good our God is. We have tried Him and seen, with overwhelming show, HIS faithfulness. So this week God has shown His grace and has allowed me to fall on it. Tomorrow, I will wake to stand, stand on His promise that He will see me through!