I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE IN THE AIRPORT WAITING TO LEAVE…
(I am posting this now…because I couldn’t get the internet to work in any of the airports we were in…and it is the first time I have been on my computer since we have been home.)
Well, it’s true…we are at the beginning stages of our long journey home. I know that I (we) have been a little lazy on keeping up on these “blog” things but I thought I would bring you up to date.
Yesterday, we woke up after a couple days of hard work in Kisii. We were definitely going to church (it was Sunday). So we looked on the internet to find a church that might give us a little more “African” culture before we left. Well, we decided on MAVUNO church. After getting there late and missing the singing…we realized that it was really interesting…it was really big and had shades of a “Saddleback” worship service. Although, it became really interesting when two people came up on stage and did, what could only be called, a comedic stand up show…people were laughing and seemed very interested. They called up the “finance” pastor and he proceeded to talk about a big move they were going to make and how they needed 360,000,000 shillings to move and that they were only at 127,000,000. All I could think about was the kids that are (and are not) sponsored through Tumaini and those kids in the “Tree House” orphanage in the slums of Mathari. I was just thinking, if they could only realize the power of that money to bringing life to children (I am sure they do, but I guess it happens everywhere…people sometimes turn a blind eye to the plight of God’s children). Then I began to think of the Christian community at home…we need to be more involved with people that we don’t see; people that we choose to ignore; people that are hurting and helpless and have nowhere to turn…Yes, homeless and the poor within our own community…IN CHINO! Well, back to the church service…the guest pastor got up and she began to give a great sermon (that our group understood about 80% of…she had a heavy accent). She talked about “Fanning the Flame of our Faith”; how we needed to encounter Jesus on a personal level and we needed to have a personal altar that was built in our hearts that was dedicated to, and honored God. It was pretty cool. At the end she gave an altar call and called out, what we might call, “Sunday Christians”. Those that come to church but have never really accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. She referred to the book of Isaiah…and in how the first 5 chapters, Isaiah is speaking to the people and telling them what the Lord is telling him. Then in chapter 6 it hits him and he says, “I saw the Lord…” (vs. 1) and he said, “…I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (vs. 5) It was at that moment that Isaiah realized that God was not only speaking to Judah and Jerusalem but, to him as well. So good!! So, she calls them out (Sunday Christians) and says, “…this is your moment.” People went forward and did what they needed to do and then went out to a tent and received a new believers pamphlet and were encouraged to join a bible study…it was pretty neat…but again, my mind went back to those kids. The fact they are living in places we wouldn’t put our dog. Places where they wonder where their next meal is coming from and where they might sleep that night…and I began to think, “How messed up is it that we can’t even make a decision to follow Jesus because it might cramp our style or that we might have to change something to follow him.” Then I began to think about the church in America…it is the same struggle that we face at home. Trying to get people to “buy in to” what it truly means to follow Jesus. Man, I don’t have it figured out but, I know I want more of Him and less of me. This brings me back to the “poor” in our own community…but not only the poor but, the widows as well. Those that we turn a “blind eye” to…those that we think, “Might by drugs or alcohol if we give them money”…those that we have a tough time remembering. Well, I say, IT’S TIME TO REMEMBER!! Just like the kids that we sponsor and those at the orphanage…WE NEED TO REMEMBER!!! Our team has discussed and prayed about how we would bring the message home and relay in words all of the things we have seen. We have prayed that hearts would be softened and minds would be opened and that we would continue to look more outward than inward. So be ready because we will be having an “Africa Sunday” where we will be sharing about what we have seen and experienced. There will be pictures and probably some tears. Please come…please come and hear about the children of God. Please come and listen to stories of how people touched lives that may be changed forever for the simple reason, they know they HAVE NOT been forgotten.
Sean Cornish said something really interesting one night during Bible study…he said, “Jesus saved our lives, the only response we have is to give up our lives. It has to cost us something.” It was a call to personally evaluate, “What is it costing me. Am I giving out of abundance or out of need?” Something to think about.
After church we headed to the Giraffe Center for an encounter with these huge, awesome creatures. Everybody fed them…some fed them from their mouths…and well, let’s just say, some should probably think about asking them out on a date. Then a short walk (hike) through the giraffe paddock…didn’t see any giraffes but the idea that we might, kept us going. Then home for a good meal and to start packing (UUGGHH!!! All of us would like to stay longer) for the journey home.
Right after dinner we did a “Time of Encouragement” where everyone went around and shared something about every single person on this team…IT WAS AWESOME!!! Our (your) team is so great at encouraging one another. Everyone felt so blessed…a real bonding time.
PACKING, PACKING, PACKING…So much stuff that we need to pack…HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET IT ALL IN?!?!?! Well we did! Everything made it except for the few items we left behind.
Woke us this morning and ate breakfast, loaded the bus, and headed out. First stop…more souvenirs? Those last minute items that we needed to buy for that person that slipped our mind…no, I won’t tell you who they are…but just to say, I think we are completely covered in the gifts we will be giving out! Next stop…highlight of the day…we met Paul and Stanley for lunch for the very last “good-byes” and to just hang out with two of the coolest people I know. Then our last stop…the “TREE HOUSE”…why? You might be asking? Because, we put together a suitcase of items that our team is leaving behind to bless the children and Lynnett (the young lady that oversees the children day to day) at the orphanage. Everyone was involved…we left everything from shoes to Frisbees, toys to toilet paper, shampoo to shirts, undergarments to soap. We just began to put things is that we didn’t really need, and even some things we did. The only one there when we arrived was Lynnett…she was so surprised when we showed up. Oh, did I mention we didn’t call before we went…we just showed up. She was so blessed and excited that we were there. With tears in her eyes she said, “thank you so much…I have missed you so much…please come back again.” We took time to hug her and encourage her with our words and prayers, and as we left, she stood at the door of the orphanage waving as we drove away, that is when it hit us all, “WE WERE GOING HOME!” For everyone it was not a time of cheering and joy…it was a time of reflection and, almost, sadness…leaving our family in Kenya. Bitter-sweet…the sadness of leaving one family and the joy of reuniting with another. God is so good and He has blessed us so radically!!
So we showed up at the airport early (REALLY EARLY), so early we couldn’t check in for almost 2 hours. Finally checked in only to “hurry up and wait” some more for the actual gate to open. Which brings me to this very moment…right now…sitting in the terminal in Nairobi, Kenya waiting for our flight and writing the last blog of the actual trip…what an amazing adventure!!!
God has blessed us by:
-giving us incredible opportunities.
-showing us things we might not ever be able to explain.
-putting this whole trip together.
-proving that we are all family, bonded together by His Spirit.
-opening our eyes to things that we may not want to see.
-opening our hearts to things we NEED to feel.
-allowing us to be His hands.
-allowing us to be His feet.
-and through His unsurpassed-unconditional-crazy love, giving us the ability to LOVE OTHERS…
THANK YOU JESUS for a church that is so supportive and so mission focused…thank you to everyone that helped through the giving of finances, prayer and/or both. Thank you to the families that have allowed family members to be on this trip. Thank you to all those friends and family members that stepped into the “gap” while we were gone…and thank you to everyone I have forgotten to thank. It has been a trip that we will not soon forget and, it is a trip that has changed lives. It is a trip that has confirmed the call that Christ has put on the lives of people and, it is a trip that we will try to explain to those we love and come in contact with. ALL I CAN SAY IS, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!”
See you soon…
This is Mike. Signing off…after 28 days of being on one of the most incredible adventures of my life.
“GOD IS GOOD; ALL THE TIME,
AND ALL THE TIME; GOD IS GOOD!
IT IS HIS NATURE!”