I’ve been in Kenya for 8 months and I am amazed at how fast the time has gone! And these past 8 months have been filled with everything under the sun. There have been high moments and low moments. New friends. A new job. A new house in a new country on a new continent. I became a part of the Spiritual Department at MOHI. I’ve traveled to all sorts of fun places in Kenya. My parents visited for 10 days, which allowed our worlds to overlap a little. I have a whole new community of American teammates and Kenyan co-workers. I’ve written bible studies and mentoring and discipleship curriculum. I have the opportunity to lead staff devotions. I’ve gotten to teach bible survey classes to 6th and 7th graders. And through it all, Jesus has been changing me more each day. Even though all of these things seem normal to me now, they all involved change. They say the only thing that is constant is change, so I know I can expect more of it.
All of that has got me thinking about life. There are ups and downs. New friends, jobs, houses, and states. When these things change, it doesn’t take long before they are normal to us. I am amazed at how quickly time has passed during these 8 months in Kenya. It has become my normal. It has become my home.
In my bible survey classes, we’ve been discussing the kind of change Jesus brings into our lives over time. We have talked about sin and how it runs throughout the bible and into our lives today. But from the very beginning, God has been pursuing us to remain in relationship with us. He has been seeking us to bring redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus. That required God to take on human nature. Now that is quite a change! Even a good change, like the one brought about through the incarnation, comes with difficulty.
Change is coming in my life again. My Grandpa Clark is dying of leukemia. Because of that, my departure date from Kenya is sooner than expected. I will be back in the US on July 3. This will allow me to spend some quality time with my family during this difficult time. Losing my Grandpa is a change I expected to happen at some point. But it’s a change that is extremely painful. It’s painful to lose someone I love dearly. It’s painful to be leaving Kenya so soon, to leave the people and the place that have become my normal.
At the same time, it all feels like a gift. It’s a gift that I got to spend 22 years being loved by my Grandpa. It’s a gift that I got to spend a while in Kenya and fall even more in love with it. It’s a gift that I get to spend time with my family and friends sooner than expected. It’s a gift to have the support of all of my co-workers, friends, and family. God’s timing with all of this has also been a gift.
I’m excited to return to America, but I’m really sad to be leaving Kenya so early. America, I’m excited to love on and spend time with my family. I’m excited to hug my dear friends I’ve missed so much over the past several months. I’m excited to worship with my Mountain family again for a while. I’m excited to eat at Samos, La Tolteca, and Chili’s. I’m excited to officially close one chapter and move on to the next one God is writing for me. Kenya, I’m going to miss my friends who have become family. I’m going to miss hanging out daily with the cutest kids ever. I’m going to miss worshiping with my Kiamaiko church family. I’m going to miss eating Ethiopian food once (or twice or even thrice) a week. I’m going to miss being cold when it’s 62 degrees Fahrenheit as opposed to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m even going to miss the goat that “cuts the grass” in our yard every day.
But God knew before I came to Kenya that my Grandpa was going to die and god had a plan all along. One big change for my life is that I have decided to commit to being in Kenya long term. God knew this too. These extra months in the US will allow me to begin to the process sooner of preparing to move to Nairobi, hopefully as late as early 2015. God changed me so that I could bring a little change to Kenya. If the only constant is change, as long as God is in charge, I’m okay with that.
I covet your prayers for me as I travel and for my family as we walk through these difficult days with my Grandpa. Thank you all so much for your prayers, love, and support!