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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Grace in Greece-->Back to Africa

The sun-soaked Kenyan highlands race by as I experiment with typing en route, this being a relatively reasonable paved road (at least it seemed so until I got the computer out) and moments of internet connectivity may be few and far between in the week ahead, so a post in the outbox seems like a good idea. Yes, we are back in Africa. We returned mentally even before our plane lifted off, as the boarding gate for the flight to Nairobi filled with people who laughed in spite of having their bags ruthlessly checked, people who saw no reason to limit a bench with two seats to hold only two people, jostling and open and high-spirited. I've missed Africans. We only have one in WHM and an evening spent talking to her was like a long draught of cold water. When we landed in Kenya yesterday the muddy streets, lawless traffic, paint-peeling low-rise buildings, swarms of pedestrians, loaded bikes, modest used clothes, all seemed striking after the white city of Athens with its sophistication, cleanliness, and sidewalk cafes. But today Kenya looks pretty normal once again. We're back.
I can't sum up the two weeks of conference with any hope of doing them justice. So I'll just say that we are deeply grateful for the stateside staff who organized, the donors who sent us to a place of sun and beauty and clean tiled floors and sparkling water, and most of all to Joanna and Karen who did not listen to me when I said we would do all our closure in Africa during the Sudan Team (aka former Bundi team)'s visit, and instead surprised us with a slide show of old pictures one evening in front of EVERYONE. I am still processing just what that meant, the sweet honoring respect showered upon us when we merely held on to God for 17 years just like everyone else has and is doing.
The highlights for us mostly came in unplanned moments, conversations on the sidelines, over breakfast or late at night, slipping away to a seafood restaurant or hiking a hillside above the beach. WHM is nothing more than the people who have thrown in their lot together, as is the church, so it is no surprise that the wealth of our heritage is most apparent in the depth of the unique individuals who come. There are many people whose value we missed, but have to trust that God allowed us to hear His voice reflected through the people we did connect with, and save the rest for next time.
Greece was full of grace. Grace was preached and celebrated, grace was experienced as we feasted physically and spiritually. And we pray that grace will now be poured out of our lives to bless others.

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