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.