Well, I have returned from our mission trip to Kenya. I planned on writing while I was there, but there was no internet access and no wi-fi available where we were. But I did keep somewhat of a journal of notes so I am going to catch you up now.
Arrived – after a LONG day (two days?) flying. We flew from Raleigh to Washington D.C., Dulles International, then from D.C. we flew Ethiopia Airlines all the way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Then from Addis, we flew to Nairobi, then one more quick flight to Eldoret which is about an hour drive to Choimim. Almost zero sleep. BUMPY roads to Choimim! Roads are very poor there. Dinner was delicious! Chipotis (a Kenyan tortilla) and chicken. Kenyans call chicken “cu-cu.” Slept well that night because I was exhausted!
First full day. Breakfast was bread and peanutbutter. We all stayed around the compound that day. (The compound is made up of a main living building, a private school, a church, and three orphan houses. It was built by a man named Damon Davenport with his ministry “Build The Village.”) Visited the school – kids all said in unioson “welcome veeseetors”. They sang to us, too. Visited orphan house. Met Pastor Joe Mwangi who I grew to have a wonderful friendship with. We have a lot in common. Led songs for children, VBS style. Lunch was white rice, scumawiki (kale greens), something else. 1:30 Damon arrived with our luggage from Nairobi that went on another flight. Dinner was homemade mashed potatos, beef, scumawiki Delicious! Damon bought us Coke.
Had corn flakes and mandazi (a donut-like thing) for breakfast. Visited 4 public schools today to share the love of Jesus (yes, you can do that in Kenya!). I told the story of Abraham. BUSY, BIG day! Lunch: rice and beans and scumawiki. Pastor Joe taught me a song in Swahili that I heard yesterday from the children. Yesu Ni Wangu.
Had crepes, sausage and corn flakes for breakfast. Today we worked on cleaning and painting two of the pre-school rooms in the school here at the compound (Noel Academy). Had rice and mango for lunch. Put second coat on rooms after lunch. Really violent storm came through with torrential rains, hail, lightning, and hurricane force winds. I asked Pastor Joe if they had a name for storms like that. He said no. So I named it a “Liki-Liki.” 🙂 Had spaghetti and fried potatos for dinner. Spaghetti had noodles like we have, but is topped with beef stew. Delicious! The ladies always make popcorn for us for “dessert” after every dinner. 🙂
Had sausage and bread w/ peanut butter for breakfast. Went to a school that had primary school and high school. Shared the gospel with both groups. I was touched greatly by one of the songs the primary school children sang dor us with the lyrics “We are very different people from very different places, but God brought us together to learn about His Word.” For the high school, we broke up into small groups and told them about Jesus and shared our testimony and answered questions about America. It’s amazing how many children at all these schools have never seen people with white skin ever before. Rice and beans and banana for lunch. After lunch we went to several of the remote residences around Choimim on foot to spread the word about the women’s conference the following day. Saw and spoke with many primitive tribal people who lived in the earthen mud huts with thatched roofs and primitive houses. They even spoke a different tribal language (that I later found out is Nandi) that was different from Swahili. Some of the youngest children cried and ran away for fear because they had never seen people with white skin. We entered a few homes and I prayed to bless the home.
Women’s conference this morning. I led worship, then prepared the scumawiki for our lunch. Women’s conference was very successful. Had about 91 women from the surrounding area in attendance. Went to Eldoret for the afternoon. Went to Nakumatt (like Walmart) to go shopping. I bought a shirt and hat that say Kenya, and an iron for the compound. We ate dinner at Mama Mia’s in Eldoret. I had chicken wings for appetizer and Mama Mia’s Special (pizza) for main course. We all had a very fun time laughing and fellowshipping. Eldoret is about an hour drive from Choimim and is the closest city of any size and modernity.
Church today was wonderful! Lily led a few songs in worship and then their choir sang a few songs for offering. It was wonderful! Then I led three songs – “Your Grace Is Enough,” “Step By Step,” and “Here I Am To Worship.” After church we had the rest of the day to rest and have fun and fellowship. I spent some alone time first and listened to music on my iPad. Then at 6:15 we all came together and had crackers and cheese appetizers and honored the kitchen staff ladies. Then we had an American dinner cooked by Kathy, Joan, and Leigh and Amy made cupcakes. We celebrated Alvin and Ashphod’s birthdays. Alvin and Ashphod are two Kenyan boys that Kathy adopted last year who live in the orphan house. She supports them financially. Played the cup flipping game with a bunch of others on our team. Fun!
We went to two more schools this morning. One primary school and the last one was a Girls’ Preperatory High School. After lunch we broke up and did various construction tasks. I painted with a team of people…my job was to cut the upper border by the ceiling. I was SORE! My neck hurt, my back hurt, my shoulders hurt, I just hurt! But it was a good sore. We finished three classrooms in like 4.5 hours. Dinner was my favorite! Chipotis with chicken! Mmmmm!
Work day all day today. Painted, painted, and painted some more. I was sore! And tired!
Went to two more schools today. They were very nice. Kathy was sick (she drank some tea made with well water last night) so I led the introductions as well as the story of Abraham. Both schools gave us sodas which was different.The kids at the last school were especially excited to see us. Also, going to that last school, the scenery was very beautiful. It was the most beautiful drive we have seen yet. Went to the bat cave and waterfall after lunch. We had to hike up the mountain to the waterfall and cave. This was by far the most beautiful place I have seen yet. Got many pictures because words can’t describe it. At 4:30 or so the church back at the compound had a thank you/farewell service for us. It was very touching. Then at night during our devotions (electricity was out) we had a wonderful time with the rest of the team and the kitchen staff and a Pastor James and Pastor Joe.
Got up this morning and loaded up three vans, luggage and all, and headed to the Lake Nakuru National Park for safari. It was a LONG, bumpy drive! Took about three hours to go 90 km. Got to the lodge and had lunch buffet. Pretty good food. Very nice lodge! Went on the first leg of our safari that evening. Wow! What an amazing experience! I will let the pictures do the talking (see my Facebook page at facebook.com/experiencinghislove) After safari we came back to the lodge and had an incredible dinner! Also had an incredible storm on the African plain with brilliant lightning, loud thunder, and torrential rain. Then we all met upstairs for our devotion and then went to bed. What a great day this was, and what an awesome trip!
Got up at 5:30 am at the lodge, ate breakfast, and then we went on a two hour safari. Wow! What a magnificent time! Saw lions close up. Then we got back to the lodge, showered, and set out toward Nairobi. Arrived at Nairobi and went to the mall and market. Got lunch at Java House in the mall, then walked across the street to the open air market. Got things for the kids and Jamie. Bartered pretty well. Talked them down immensely. Then we drove through the city to the airport. That was an INSANE experience! But our driver got us there safely and on time. Praise God!
After a total of like 16 hours on three different planes, we finally arrived back in Raleigh. Jamie and the kids were all waiting for me when I got off the plane. What a welcome sight they were! I missed them immensely, but I had an amazing time in Kenya and made some life-long friends as well.