My Tenwek family is beautiful. It is made up of eager Kenyan children dressed in matching school uniforms running down muddy paths, dancing cleaning ladies working joyfully at the hospital, jubilant families leading us in worship at church, warm friends with whom I have never spoken an English word to, my actual loving relatives, and passionate missionaries with their giggling toddlers running close behind. Even inside of Tenwek, there are a mixture of tribes and colors–each having unique characteristics and their own beauty.
These are the people that I love, and will forever have in my heart and in my prayers.
Adjusting from Kenya back to America has been a slow process, mostly because I stiff-armed any notion of processing my experiences until the second week I was home. I don’t hate America. I don’t feel guilty for all the things we have here. It literally seems like two different worlds to me, without much grounds of comparison. Very much like one of those venn-diagrams—they are two completely different circles, but they still touch slightly at the “common ground” in the middle.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that my processing will continue at a slower pace than I want. It’s not something I can just “get over with” in a couple hours.
One of the biggest things the Kenyan people have taught me from example is gratitude. They live with what they have, work hard to provide for their families, and give from their hearts without hesitation. They are prayer warriors. When prayer oftentimes is my last resort–the final ringing of the gong after I have struggled for a time to figure out my own way, my Kenyan friends go to God first. They never forget He is with them. This awareness of God’s presence and appreciation of His providence stays with me. Coming back to the US, the first thing I felt was a similar gratitude for the time in Kenya, a family to come home to, and a few weeks of breathing room before heading back to Chicago.
I honestly cannot say thank you enough. Thank you. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve been given. I know of less support than I am given, and that astounds me–for the number of people praying, asking questions, and rejoicing with me is great. I’m thankful for individuals who care, and also for a church family who wants to hear about what God has done and is continuing to do in Kenya. What a joy.
This week I’m preparing to share a bit of the story at Sunday church. Many have begun to ask me specific questions. If you have any, please, email, call, or show up at my house sometime.
I’m leaving for Chicago on the 30th–already six days away! I have a full-time job on Moody campus for the summer and am living in a neighborhood called Humboldt Park in Chicago. It’s about 20 minutes outside downtown and I’m living with three other girls from school. To say I’m excited is an understatement. Humboldt is a diverse Latino neighborhood and I look forward to loving on the people and being involved in the solid church they’ve got going there. I’m hoping to live in the same neighborhood senior year (so 1 1/2 years) with the Moody cohort program (allows full-time students to live off campus with the goal of ministering to the community there).
Please continue to pray for opportunities to love the community and follow where God leads each day.