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Thursday, April 30, 2009


When we are in Kampala, we sense the culture-shock amazement that our capital city is becoming more and more modern every month, and surely must be fairly equivalent to Nairobi by now. NOT SO. Two nights in Nairobi have left us reeling. It has been a long time (?years) and we'd forgotten how amazing the city is. Traffic, garbage, car- swallowing potholes, hustlers, and slums to be sure. But also schools on every side, gardens, skyscrapers, even malls. We wandered in a daze through a few of the stores, and sat sipping iced cappuccino with a burger and salad. Is this really still Africa?

But friends, not luxuries, drew us to Nairobi. We stayed with Bill and Stephanie, two amazing long-time kindred spirits, original members of our college (and post) "Africa Team", the group of committed colleague couples that kept us moving towards mission. They both have PhD's from Cambridge and after many years in Ethiopia now teach systematic theology and church history and Greek at the continent's premier graduate school of theology in Nairobi. They graciously welcomed us into their on-campus bungalow, to fill their guest room and crash Bill's 50th birthday celebration. With Paul, we reminisced about life at UVA and about our early years as missionaries and parents. It was a reunion in all the best senses, a re-affirmation of our common faith and vision and a safe place and time to reflect and be encouraged.

And between our two evenings with these friends, we spent a great day with team mate Pat. Breakfast at Java House (scrumptious), and a full- day exploration to find the most eccentric and artistic glass- recycling project, a Willy-Wonka-like kiln where artisans form glasses and vases from the remains of bottles, all surrounded by bizarre sculptures and a trailer-park feel in the midst of vast cattle-ranch plains south of the game park. Pat heads to the US for a short HMA, so we needed that day to catch up with her, and to dream together of how our Creator God wants us to reflect His artistic character in our Kingdom-work here. Surely creating beauty from scrap must fit in somewhere.

Nairobi must have dozens of interesting and successful art galleries, hundreds of self-help projects, not to mention more hundreds of NGO's and wonderful ideas and school opportunities and training, plus state- of-the art equipment, even in some of the hospitals, all at a pleasant 6000 feet . . . no wonder so many foreigners congregate here. We were glad to join them for a day!

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