One of the things that happens when you are open to following Jesus in this life is that it may take you to places you wouldn’t expect, or choose, or plan for. Part of the process we are engaging in is deciding whether or not to remain in Mombasa for the foreseeable future or continue on to Nairobi as we had planned. I read a book once by Bruce Wilkinson called The Dream Giver. It was about a Nobody who follows his dream of becoming a Somebody. He leaves his home and security to venture off on this journey. After many trials and challenges what he finds is that where he thought his dream lay was different than where it was. As he looked up from where he stood, taking his eyes off the horizon to which he had been heading, he realized what he was looking for was right where he was. Some of our journey to Kenya has been like that, so we are in the midst of this for ourselves.
Brennen and I have played football a number of times with the boys (some who live on the streets and others that are coming off of them). Some of them play sans shoes, as they are a bit expensive for them to come by. It is amazing how tough their feet become. Think about sprinting and cutting on sand/gravel and rocks. They range in age from about 15 to 20ish, though since you can just have a birth certificate made, you can determine your own if you want to. It is amazing how good some of these boys are, not having had any formal coaching. I watch some of them and marvel at their skill, developed over years of just playing wherever and whenever they get a chance. Sean organized a team for them starting a couple of years ago and they play in an open league. They can hold their own even though they are usually younger and smaller than their opponents. Sean wasn’t able to make it to their first game, but they took care of themselves pretty well. It is amazing to me how resourceful they are, which shouldn’t be a surprise given they have been on their own for years. They got to the field on their own, brought their uniforms (donated by a sponsor) and organized themselves.
I met Ali the first week we moved here, buying eggs and topping up our cell phone minutes at his small shop. Then while he was in the hospital I visited with him, his friend, wife and uncle. As it turns out he isn’t that much older than I, at 41 yrs old. He admittedly looks a lot older, saying it is from the harder life they live in Kenya. Ali is very entrepreneurial, owning the store, a Tuk Tuk, and the apartment building with 3 flats. He invited the family over for lunch and we gladly accepted. At 12:30 we strolled over, not quite knowing what to expect other than good food and fellowship. We entered and were greeted by his two teenage daughters, very sweet, and increasingly less shy around us. We were introduced to his mother and then went and sat in the family room. On the low couches were sitting a number of his nieces and nephews. The were instructed to say hi and we were approached by the little ones, who took our hands and kissed them. It was a good time of visiting, asking questions and getting to know everyone. The power was out so we were sweating. Ali smokes and lying on the mattress to make it comfortable for his back, he indulged in a few during our time together. Funny, the smoke there and the burning stuff around hasn’t seemed to bother Brennen or my asthma.
We generally take Tuk Tuks around, those 3 wheeled motorized rickshaw type things. Some people love them, most of the drivers refer to them as cockroaches. We find them convenient since we squish our family of 5 into one, if we can find a wide one. The kids have ridden in the matatus a couple of times, but truth be told they don’t really care to very much. I had a ride that I just had to share about though.
I asked Steven to take us out yesterday to a slum that is actually very near where we live. It is about a 10 minute walk past a matatu station (where they stop regularly). From time to time Steven goes and visits friends who live there, two of which I met at an outreach night. Several of the young people knew Steven and as he introduced us to them it was hard to believe that he was in this place not too long ago. He comes to share about Jesus and check on how people are doing. About 4 months ago he led one of his Muslim friends to Christ and now visits him regularly to talk to him. His friend was trying to get his life on track, but still felt empty and like he couldn’t be good enough. Steven shared with him what Jesus has done in his life and how He provides a way to be forgiven and saved. In Islam one cannot ever be sure they are good enough or will ever receive eternal life in heaven. This boy said he was just going to ask Steven about how to have what he saw in Steven.
Daily Bible Reading Thoughts
Psalms 139 is one of my favorite Psalms. Who wouldn’t love reading that they are “fearfully and wondefully made”? But near the end of the Psalm the author asks God to search his heart, and then ends with this line, “…and lead me in the eay everlasting.” He is asking, inviting God to direct his life, his path. After reading about how God knew me before I was born, before I had taken my first breath of life, and in His book are the days of my life, I meditated on the idea of asking Him to lead me in the way everlasting. Some of you may be questioning right now: You’ve entered the mission field, doesn’t that mean you have done just that? And I would respond in the words of Paul(paraphrased), Do not think of me higher than you ought! This is why I love Jim Elliot’s quote about missionaries:
Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody.