Eleven years ago today we changed our lives forever as we arrived in Kenya to plant ourselves in a foreign land. Only God knew the changes he wanted to make in our hearts and the things He would use to accomplish this. In our daily life, we’ve experienced lots of things that used to be unsettling, but that I now consider normal. And there are others that, although they are normal (i.e. frequent and commonly occurring), are still quite unsettling.
One of these is the stress of living among so much poverty and need. It is and will always be, never-ending. Imagine the feeling you have when you see the pictures on TV of people living in poverty in undeveloped nations. Now imagine watching these images as real people you know on a TV you can’t turn off.
Two, the number of people we know who have died, many of them too young. The most recent is a young father who lost his battle with AIDS on Christmas Eve. His wife died several years earlier; she contracted the disease from him and received no treatment. They leave 3 children behind. There was young Saitun, little Russ, teens John and Miriamu, Baba Nicholas (drink), 2 children of other friends, Baba Terengas (cancer), the daughter and grandchild of Mama Nicholas, and other anonymous maternal deaths.
And all the while, we deal with family crises and celebrations part-time from afar. We participate almost as outsiders, wondering about the effect we have and the difference we can make during our infrequent, staccato appearances. We constantly feel apologetic toward the family we “left behind”; upon whom we forced our absence so that we can be obedient to our Savior.
Just because it’s normal, doesn’t mean it’s easy. He never said it would be. Still, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB