Well, unbelievably, we are heading home tonight. It will take 28.5 hours if everything goes as planned. 🙂 We are hoping for the best. We will try to post this one more time here, and when I get home and access is easier, I will add photos. It’s been killing me not to be able to get them up on the blog! I took 200 photos from the train alone.
A lot has happened since last week, and our heads are spinning a bit trying to take it all in.
On Saturday we had a sound check in the morning, and then lunch with the pastors at Crossroads. They are wonderful people – it was an absolute joy to get to know them. That afternoon I gave a concert at the church, and really felt the Lord was moving there. They have a beautiful building as well – all the building materials here are hard (tile, concrete, wood, etc.) so it makes the rooms very live. This is hard for understanding, but all that reverb sure makes you sound good when you sing!
Sunday morning we were back with them for worship. They do a great job. The worship band led off, and after announcements, etc., they gave me 20 minutes before the sermon. I did the offertory and benediction as well, and during the sermon I went out and sang scripture songs with the kids in children’s church. It was a very full morning, but so fun. God was really moving in the service, and 5 people met the Lord that day.
We went to lunch with Jim and Susie Horne (Jim is the senior pastor), the Bechtels and their kids (Bobby is the education pastor and they were our hosts in Mombasa) and a couple who were visiting who have been missionaries here for 35 years – they are good friends with the Hornes. We went to a place called Yul’s and it was very Mombasa – open air with a grass roof that they had built around the palm trees growing in the restaurant so they could stick out of the roof. It was literally about 15 feet to the ocean, and there were 3 camels laying on the beach outside the back door. I’m not sure there is a more incredible setting for lunch.
After lunch Jim asked me if I would come back and give a Christmas concert in December. I would love to come back! Since it takes at least two days to get here and to get home, though, and that is the busiest time of year, I told him I would pray about it. We will, and we’ll see what God does. 🙂
That night we headed back to Nairobi on the train. It was making us somewhat nervous that whenever we mentioned taking the train to missionaries, they said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” and every time we mentioned it to Kenyans, they just laughed. Hmmm. But we wanted to try it as an adventure, so we went ahead. Well, the train has not been updated in 40 years, there were many bugs, and a serious lack of toilets, and it took 17 hours (flight to Mombasa was 45 minutes), but I wouldn’t trade the view we had in the morning for anything. It was really incredible, and I spent literally hours with my daughter hanging out the window with the camera. Unbelievable.
The next day our driver Elisha picked us up and it was like coming home. He’s really dear. He stopped by his house with us to cut a sugar cane for the kids to try since they’d been wanting to do that the whole trip.
Tuesday was my daughter, Rachel’s, birthday. We made her a big sign and cards, and one of the girls here who is in a cake class made her a cake – it was beautiful. Thanks, Onna!
In the morning we went down to the IDP camp. It is for people who were displaced during the election violence here a year and a half ago. There was a lot of tribal warfare then, and the stories are really horrifying. They cannot go home, and they have nothing. I have really never seen such poverty. We brought clothing down for the kids, and they were filthy and many of them were sick, and they are all living in tents made of flour sacks in the middle of a field with no shade or water or food supply. It’s absolutely unsustainable.
These mothers broke my heart – they love their children, and they have no way to provide for them. We met one woman, Rachel, who showed us her home, an 8 foot square tent made from a tarp that she shared with her husband and 4 children. She was stunningly beautiful, and smiled as easily as she spoke. All the adults were smiling, and they sang for us. We know they are in a desperate situation, and yet they have joy. We are praying about what we might do that would have a lasting impact here.
Wednesday was equally compelling. Nathan and I headed down into the valley with Donna, our host, to visit their Maasai friend, Pastor Simon. He’s amazing. There were no Christians in Maasai land in the valley. His mother met the Lord through a chance meeting, and taught her children to love the Lord. Her sons became pastors, and now Pastor Simon oversees 10 churches in the valley. He told us amazing stories of what the Lord is doing there, including the fact that they recently had a meeting where 1500 Maasai people met the Lord! It’s truly outstanding work, and we were sitting there in his mother’s house, a dung hut with a grass roof and chickens walking in and out of the door, and we were thinking how honored we were to be in this woman’s house with this man of God. We are also praying about how we can help Pastor Simon – his next project is to build churches for the groups who are meeting under trees, and to build an orphanage for the 70 or so AIDS orphans in Pastor Simon’s immediate area who do not have any care.
Today we have been packing and saying goodbye. It really is hard to believe that we are leaving. The Lord has given us so much to think about, and connected us with so many incredible people. I am waiting in anticipation of what He will do from here.
I will post pictures as soon as I can. This place is breathtaking. 🙂