Days on the road: 10
Accommodation: 4 different missionary homes for 1-2 nights, 4 different hotels for a night each in between, yes that's a lot of movement and transition, apologies for what we probably left behind. Mobile office work in between meetings below . .
Adorable Serge children: a 15, sampling below skewed towards the youngest. Let's be real, these kids are a big part of our hearts and prayer life, they did not choose to be ten thousand miles from grandparents, to be touched and poked and stared at, to bond their hearts to homes that could evaporate into inaccessibility at the whim of politics, to forgo swimming lessons and summer camps and ice cream cones and libraries and a lot of what is considered normal American childhood. Oh, some of them will need teachers soon . . . contact us!
Heart-to-heart conversations: daily, sometimes hourly, the core of what draws us on trips like this. What a privilege to listen to the stories, to pray, to sometimes give a reality check, to sometimes just give a testimony of empathy. Yes, life is hard. Yes, God sees. From the struggles of kids to the discouragements of ministry to the bewilderments of language and culture and laws, we try to hear and process and lift up these saints.
Hospitals: 2 this trip, Kijabe and Litein. We purposed to thank the administration for their welcoming partnerships, their grace-filled help for our people. And we tried to work on clarity, job expectations, MOU's, future planning, ideas, vision.
New ministries: 1 Serge Apprenticeship with 5 Apprentices started in Nairobi in January. These young adults spend a day a week in a structured study of Scripture and discipleship, are mentored in cross-cultural relationship, study a new language, and get their hands and hearts right into the fray. We also have 5 SA's/interns in Bundi doing a parallel program. It's a great way to test the waters and grow in grace.
Languages: 5, though we only attempted 3 . . and continually confused them.
Amazing coffee stops: not as many as one might wish . . . but we did squeeze in some Cafe Javas (Uganda) and Java House (Kenya) with more mobile office time . .
Photography gigs: 1 night, Banquet at RVA, the purported instigator of this entire trip. Our Serger teens at RVA happened to be on the committee responsible for photography for their big Junior-Senior formal night, and way back before we heard the call to fill in the gap in Uganda we agreed to help them as photographers which would have been a quick jaunt from Naivasha. So glad we could still come, because everything else in this trip was equally compelling and valuable . . and the BQ night was a treat to witness. Beauty and the Beast themed dinner theatre for a couple hundred people DIY . . no problem. Note Michael Masso's fountain in the background.
Emotional reunions with former pets: 2, though that's a bit of a stretch, we only kept Pili for others for a short time. But Chardonnay nearly made me cry. You can't really go home again, we know it, everything changes. At least the dogs remain faithful.
Regrets: TNTC, which is medical short-hand for a lot ("too-numerous-to-count"). Honestly, after 25 years, we have a lot of cross cultural relationships that are longer lasting than the teams we supervise, so it is a sorrow to breeze through a place we used to live and only connect with a few people briefly. It makes them feel undervalued and makes us feel the gap. Should we have tried harder to set up a party, a meal, an open house, a meeting point? Probably. Can we be thankful for the glimpses of continuity we DID get? Yes. Perhaps the highlight of the week was Tanya, daughter of a Kenyan paediatrician friend, running out to jump into my arms for a hug when I knocked on their door, and then the next day just stopping by to chat with me after school, all on her own. I felt loved. Below, Bob and Lilian who welcomed me to Kijabe over 8 years ago and have remained colleagues and friends.
Miles to go before we sleep: approximately 400 km (miles in poetry, km in reality). We drove Bundibugyo to Fort Portal to Kampala to Entebbe, flew to Nairobi, drove around Nairobi then to Kijabe, then to Litein, then back to Kijabe back to Nairobi. Flew back to Entebbe for our car this a.m and are now headed west back to Bundibugyo.
Along the road, your path may wander . . but through it all, a heart held humble, levels and lights the way. Thanks Dan Fogelberg for the life soundtrack.