Wow!! What a whirlwind! I’ve almost been in Africa for one week! I wanted to write down some notes on the last few days for you guys, but also so I can remember this time. I know that one day, I will look back and read this and be amazed at the work God does during this time!
I said very hard good-byes to family and friends last week. It’s hard to write in words what it was like to give hugs and kisses to very loved people knowing it would be a long time before I would see them again. Many tears were present at Love Field Airport and it was a physical ache that the Lord is still continuing to mend. My church family sent me off with the blessing of a wonderful commissioning service with a yummy breakfast fellowship, prayers, and the unique opportunity to hear from the Skinner family (that is serving with my organization in Uganda) and they had wonderful insight into their life as missionaries and also gave great advice on how my church can be praying for me. My church family also presented me with the most creative gift:
From there I headed to Peachtree City, Ga to check out at the US headquarters of my organization. This was a time to speak with different departments and hear how they will support me and help during my time in Africa: finances, insurance, member care, etc.
On Thursday, July 14 I headed to the Atanta airport where I successfully got all of my 7 bags checked! The first flight was about 8 hours and I got to see a beautiful sunrise as we were descending into Amsterdam. I had a seven hour layover, and then the rest of my group started to arrive and we prepared for our next 8 hour trek down Africa to Nairobi. It was so incredible to fly for hours and hours and see nothing but desert as we flew over North Africa. There was absolutely NOTHING…just sand. We landed in Nairobi and had to wait for a long time to get through customs as they bounced us from line to line to line to line…we were already learning some lessons on “Kenya time!” The group I came in with was especially unique in that two families who traveled with me will also be serving at RVA. It has been a wonderful blessing to already be getting to know each other before we head to RVA. Then, we anxiously walked to pick up our bags and see if all had arrived…and they did!!!! Not one bag from anyone on out trip was missing. Several came out pretty bumped and bruised and I had one action packer that was busted open, but we were so excited to know that we could leave the airport with all our items! A couple from RVA was there to bring us to the house we’ve been staying in, but they also took all our luggage and action packers that were headed straight to RVA. It was nice to send those pieces off with them and know they would be waiting at our houses when we get there in a few weeks.
We arrived at Mayfield Guest House which is a peaceful house in the heart of busy Nairobi. We settled into our rooms about 1:00 am on Saturday, July 16. It is very cool here right now with lows in the 50’s and highs in the 70’s! I’ve worn a sweater or jacket each day! It is a welcome break from the 100’s I left in Texas. Here are a few pictures of my “home” for a few days.
Last Sunday, a group of us went to Nairobi Baptist Church since it is right next door. There was some confusion about what time it actually started, so we ended up being about 20 minutes late. We were able to hear the message, and listen to the sweet worship…and it was all in English so we were able to listen along very easily. Afterwards, there was the sweetest reception for guests with traditional Kenyan chai tea (which is incredibly yummy and not like the chai tea we have in the US!) and some cake. Then, in the afternoon, several of us walked to a local shopping area where we visited a Nakumatt which would be the equivalent of almost an American Wal-mart. They have food, appliances, and furniture! Then, we went to a Java House (think a mix of coffee house and Panera Bread) because we had heard that since we landed from many different people. It was fascinating to walk and learn how to cross very busy streets without cars stopping. It is also taking some time to learn how to cross a street where the cars are driving on the opposite side of the road!
Being out in Nairobi was exciting and fast-paced for sure, but even on our short outing, we were stopped about 6 times with children begging for money. I found my heart breaking already for the people here.
Two days ago (Tuesday 19th), we headed to our three-week orientation in Nakuru, Kenya. It was about a three hour drive from Nairobi. We saw the most beautiful scenery along our drive. We drove by the Great Rift Valley and looked out at the green mountains. We even saw zebra multiple times! It was great. We are staying at a hotel here and I am really enjoying getting to know everyone. Our three weeks are really like a crash course on African cultures, worldviews, spiritual warfare, health, etc. We have several African speakers here who are such a blessing to hear from. Many are involved in training up local church leaders and are leading their own organizations. They bring such insight into our time here.
Yesterday, we all (about 25 people) got the chance to share our testimonies of how God brought us to Africa. This was the most encouraging moment so far for me. There was not one story that wasn’t without trials, hardships, fears, and loss. But, the overwhelming theme was the faithfulness and sovereignty of God that has brought us to Africa for His glory and fame.
Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement. I am relying on the Lord in ways I never could’ve imagined and I can’t wait to post more soon!