Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Morning Thoughts

There is something that happens here all to often that leaves me feeling wishing I could do more and questioning whether I can do more.

Just a few minutes ago two small girls showed up at my gate asking for plastic bottles. They were covered in dirt, wearing ripped clothing, and shoes with holes in them.  The site of children in their condition is not an unusual site here, but it never stops taking my breath away. At first I just told them to wait and I would look for some plastic. It turns out we had a ton of plastic water bottles, and big ones at that. Catherine and Evelyn were so excited when they saw them. I was pleased to be able to make them smile with what I considered useless plastic bottles.

After that they asked for chakula (food) saying "hatukuwa kula jana usiku" or we did not eat last night. I am thankful for the broken swahili I have been able to pick up on and that I could understand that and communicate with these two precious little girls.  When they told me that I went inside and found a loaf of bread and brought it out to them with some butter. Then they wanted tea with their bread so I made them some tea even though we did not have milk they were thankful just to have tea with water and sugar. Boy did those girls love sugar! I brought them some water and we just sat outside and talked a little about where they live and where they go to school. Catherine, the older one, is in class 5 at Arap Moi, the government primary school in Nkoroi and Evelyn, the younger one, goes to a school in Acacia. They live up the road, probably about 2Km away.

After they finished eating they asked to use the choo (toilet) so I led them inside. They looked around skeptically then the older one asked me if I could help her with some clothes. I told them I did not have any at the moment, but maybe when they come back I could find some. In my head I was thinking, "I do not have any clothes small enough for these little girls." Then they asked for shoes and once again my thought process was, "no I have no shoes small enough and I do not even have any extra shoes here." Finally as they were leaving the older one asked for the shirt I was wearing. Now, I wish I could say that I just went inside and put a different shirt on and handed her this one, but I did not. It is such a hard balance to find where the line should be drawn in increasing dependency.

These two young girls did not choose to be born into the circumstances they live in and neither did I, but I wonder everyday if I am living in the love of God with what I have. Next time Catherine and Evelyn show up at my gate, which I hope they do, I will give them this shirt and any others I have because, even if they are big or if they sell them, I believe Catherine and Evelyn need them more than I do.

We can always do more and I am the first to admit that I fear doing more most of the time. To be honest, I like this shirt, and because of that I was afraid to give it away. I am pretty sure Jesus would not have used that as an excuse and from now on I am going to do my best not to either. God gives us opportunities everyday to love and be loved. That is true world-wide, but I think I can see it more clearly here in Kenya and for that I am grateful! It reminds me of the book by Bob Goff called "Love Does." And I think it is what Mr. Goff meant when he said, "That's because love in never stationary. In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does."

I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets a new opportunity to love and be loved!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back to Blogging!

Hello friends! I am so sorry it has been so long since I have blogged and updated you on life here in Kenya.

Believe it or not, I have actually been blogging every day for Tatua Kenya, so I will give a quick plug for you to go and read our blog. Exciting things have been happening since Be The Change has become a part of Tatua Kenya. I know it has been confusing for some of you so please read the blog. I hope it will explain more, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me.

Now on to other exciting news from Kenya. I had a visitor here a couple of weeks ago. My fellow YASCer, Jared Grant, came to visit.  We had a wonderful adventure. God has given me so much love for this country and I love when I get to share it with other people in my life. I would encourage you all to read his blog as well about all of the things we got to do together and get another perspective on life here.
Jared and me on top of Kenya International Conference Center.

Really, though, Jared had 3 requests- Lions, monkeys and pizza! I may have failed him on pizza, but surely not on lions and monkeys.

My next piece of news is that I just found out David Copley, mission personnel officer from the church office in New York, is coming to visit in May! He will be here for just a couple of days so Natalie, Zach (Episcopal missionary in Western Kenya) and I will do our best to show him a good time. I am thankful he gets to come because I know he is busy traveling all over the world. In fact, he is currently in Japan visiting some other YASCers working there.

My last big piece of news is that I know my departure AND return date. Yes, that's right, departure AND return. I will be coming home for about a month and then returning to Kenya for about another month of work. My visa expires in July so I have to leave the country, but there is a group from Boston coming to Kenya in August and I am leading their trip. In order to make this all work the church has agreed that I can come home on June 27th and then with the generous contribution from my home parish, St. Catherine's and Tatua I will be able to return to Kenya July 29th through August 20th to finish my work. I cannot believe how soon June 27th is. There is no way to know how I will feel returning to the US, but I am trusting God is sovereign and He will prepare me for each next step in life, just as He prepared me for my time here.

I know so much has happened in the world in the past couple of weeks and I want to leave you with the prayer for Boston, my future home, provided by our Presiding Bishop.

Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one. May every human being be reminded of the precious gift of life you entered to share with us. May our hearts be pierced with compassion for those who suffer, and for those who have inflicted this violence, for your love is the only healing balm we know. May the dead be received into your enfolding arms, and may your friends show the grieving they are not alone as they walk this vale of tears. All this we pray in the name of the one who walked the road to Calvary.

Amen. I will do my best to not let so long pass before my next post. I am thankful for you all!