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Archive for the ‘Nairobi’ Category

Feb 23

I am finally here in Eldoret, after 24 hours in airplanes and airports, a night in Nairobi, and a 6 hour drive over the equator up into the mountains, where we are nestled at 7,000 feet, amongst tropical pines, frangipani flowers, and cactus trees.

My plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi yesterday was very interesting.  I was nestled in the middle aisle between a Kenyan man and a Sudanese man and his American wife.  We all had wonderful conversation the whole way and the 8 hour plane ride literally “flew” by!  Heh heh….

The Kenyan man (Jessi) works in the US and was on his annual trip home to visit his wife and two daughters.  Apparently it is an arrangement that works for them and is not too uncommon!  The Sudanese man (Tok) had an amazing survival story.  Growing up in war torn southern Sudan, he was taken from his family at the age of 4 and trained for war, along with many other young boys.  By the time he was 10, he was a full-blown soldier.  When he was 15, almost his entire group was killed in a horrific battle that he did not want to talk about.  He and a few other boys escaped and lived on whatever food they could find to eat and water they could find to drink.  They made their way to Kenya, where they were placed in the Kakuma refugee camp.  (This was the camp that I had earlier talked to Diane about possibly visiting but she assured me that it was very dangerous up there).  Tok lived in the camp for the next four years, where he basically survived on UN rations of one meal of rice a day.  They were always hungry and it was just enough food to keep everyone from dying. 

When he was 19, he got a special offer to come to the US with some of the other “lost boys.”  He was placed in Fargo, North Dakota, speaking very little English, and given a job as a butcher, killing pigs.  He tried to join some local high schools but they would not take him.  He studied on his own and focused on learning English.  Finally a school in Minnesota allowed him to attend…and for the next few years he focused on his butcher job and getting an education.  Little by little, he worked his way up, eventually getting a job at Walmart, where he met his wife.  She is also from Fargo and her accent was so strong I initially thought she was from another country.  Both of them were very soft spoken.  After she married an African, her parents stopped speaking to her.  They were moving back to Sudan to open a school.  He had somehow found his parents after being separated from them since he was four years old and this was his first time to see them again, as well as his first time back to Sudan since he escaped into Kenya.  I got their contact info and plan to keep in touch with them.  I was so moved by the whole story, I asked him if I could pray for him and he said yes. He believes in God but had not been raised up in any religion particularly since he had been in the army and in survival mode for so long. His family had been animist.  So I layed hands on him right there in the plane and prayed for him in the name of Jesus and spoke life and the will of God over him….and he openly recieved it with a big smile on his face. 

He has the humble heart of a true king and I know God has preserved him for a reason.  I believe he will do great things for his nation and felt honored to sit by him.  I thanked God because I had had such an interest in the Kakama refugee camp.  Ever since I learned of it, I have been praying for it and asking God if I could visit it.  It was very special to me that out of everyone on the plane, God sat me right next to someone who had been in the Camp.

I also shared the Lord with Jessi, who had been downing one bottle of wine after another. I think he was nervous to see his family again for the first time in almost 2 years.   After he saw me pray for Tok, I could tell his heart was softened.  He is Presbyterian, he told me.  He knew his bible very well and we talked about the Holy Spirit.

When I got through customs and got my bags, Diane, David Kipyego and a few others were waiting for me with a bouquet of roses.  It was too dark to see anything of Nairobi.  We went straight to the guesthouse and went to bed.  (All the beds here have beautiful white mosquito netting around them.  I love it—for some reason, it makes me feel like a princess!)

Today, I ate uji, among other things for breakfast.  Uji is ground millet porridge and it is supposed to be the thing that all Americans hate because it is so tasteless.  I had it with milk and a bit of sugar and thought it was delicious!

Nairobi is full of matatus (public transportation vans and small busses) and huge clouds of diesel smoke…churches and mission schools on every corner…as a former British colony, they drive on the opposite side of the road.  I had a lot of fun writing down the funny names of the matatus.  (Apparently each is named by the driver or owner).  Standard names were, “Integrity,” “Diplomat,” “Leisure,” “God’s Blessing” and the like.  More amusing names included, “Hold Me Tight,” “Sweden Special,” “Boy Zone,” “Obama,” and my favorite, “Neo-Colonialism.”

As we drove from Nairobi to Eldoret, we drove passed groves of plum trees, peppercorn trees, lots of sycamore-willow looking trees, jacaranda trees with big purple flowers, tropical pines and huge cacti, and the awesome acacia trees, which are basically a smooth greenish trunk, with branches spreading wide and flat at the very top of the tree…Standard African looking trees that I have seen in photos.  When we passed through the equator we were at 9,000 feet. A man there demonstrated how water drained one way on one side of the equator and then drained the opposite way on the other side of the equator.  When we stood right on the equator the water just drained flat, with no whirlpool in either direction.  I videoed that and will upload it at some point.

We also passed wild baboons by the side of the road!

David Kipyego is such a great guy.  He is the one who drove us all around Nairobi and back up to Eldoret.  We had wonderful discussion talking about the kingdom of God and how it is meant to be part of everyday life and lived powerfully outside the walls of the church.  Most Kenyans, he said, have the idea that they can go to church on Sunday and live as corrupt as they want to all week long.  They think nothing of doing horrible things and then coming to church the next day, where the general idea is to sit and listen to “the minister” speak…no involvement beyond that. 

His way of discipling people at the moment is to train them in integrity in the marketplace.  He has started a Christian school and owns many businesses all under his Ministry, SILA (Serve In Love Africa).  His focus is on breaking down the walls between “church” and “regular life” and to break out of the walls of religion, denominationalism, and into true holisitic, Kingdom living.  He invited me to speak next weekend at some weekend meetings that he holds for all his employees.  He also invited me to come and speak to the teachers at his school.  They have a chapel/prayer meeting every morning for ½ hour before school starts, and he said I can take as many of those as Iwant to teach basic kingdom principles—for the next few months if I want to. Exciting! 

Diane has done so much to get my room ready for me and she is so easy to talk to and be with.  I feel like I have known her for much longer than I have.  She has a lovely home in a neighborhood where lots of other missionaries live.  I have my own room and bathroom. A lady named Anna comes in every day and helps with cooking, etc.  I have not met her yet, but I did meet several more of the KWELI/SILA crowd tonight.  Everyone is very warm and friendly and they all say that they have been anticipating my arrival for months.

I can’t believe I have only been here for 24 hours.  It seems like a week has gone by!

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