Amazing Things

I know I’m supposed to write a lot when I’m in Kenya.  I know people like to hear about what’s happening–the good things, the funny stories.  And there a lot of those.  But in all honesty, sometimes once the end of the day has reached, I haven’t a morsel of energy left to spend on retelling the day.  I’m not complaining; I’m not asking for sympathy.  I’m just stating that the days are full and the challenges are many, and I hope it’s okay to be honest and just say that.  Sometimes all I want to do is scroll through BBC and see what’s happening in the rest of the world so that I can forget for a short time some of the challenges at our door.  As I was FaceTiming my mom a few nights ago, she told me I was being super ADD as I jumped from one topic to the next, seeking advice/ideas/suggestions about everything–new products, games, how to best help the kids struggling in school.  In all honesty, none of my questions were probably that important, nothing life altering, but still seemed overwhelming.

This past week seemed particularly crazy, so much so, that Naomi, our Kenya Admin. Director, and I had to sit around Friday night laughing at allthe ridiculous things that happened.  We had to laugh so that we didn’t cry.  There was one night we stayed up until 1 am, Naomi shuffling through receipts and doing accounting so that everyone could get paid on time.  Another night of traveling back from Meru, where I was literally pleading with the taxi driver to slow down so we didn’t hit a car head on, followed by the chicken, such a precious asset here (more than 2 days of salary), killed just for us, spoiling on the hot car ride home.  There was the day that 2 of our artisans promised to build a shelves in our sewing room, and then 30 minutes later, without a single board cut, they packed their bags and told me we should call a carpenter.  Then there were 100 pairs of earrings, all assembled the wrong way, all because of me.  There was the day on the closet shelves, I discovered a cup of water, just waiting to be knocked over and spilled on everyone’s products.  Yesterday there was the realization that our roof is leaking a lot, so much so that the water is now dripping down the walls of the room where I sleep with plaster falling in on multiple areas of the house.  Today, there was calling the landlady, followed by a man coming to look at the leaking roof, and this particular man was the same man who gave us a lease to our house nearly 4 years ago, only to have the landlady tell us that the lease wasn’t valid, she’d never agreed to that (even though he had given us keys to the house).  This man was followed by 2 other men who also arrived to look at the roof.  It was quickly evident that one of these men was drunk and he was quite eager to bring the carpenter to look at the roof right away and give us an estimate of the cost.  Shortly afterwards, two more men arrived carrying a ladder.  (So if you’re keeping track, we’re now up to 5 men checking the roof.)  And since we decided it was a bad idea to have a drunk man climbing on the roof, we sent them all away, kept their ladder, and called the landlady, who said she didn’t know what was going on because she’d only sent one man to come and check.

If this sounds like a bit of a zoo, it is.  And yet, beyond all this, I do believe that there is something amazing happening.  Working with people is good, but also messy and challenging.  We’re imperfect; we sin; we all have fallen short of the glory of God.  But still within our shortcomings, I know there is a bigger purpose, there is something more.  There are mouths being fed, dignified jobs being had, and real genuine learning from our kids.  I think God calls us to the messiness, to the brokenness, and I have seen that despite all our challenges, within these situations there are bits of AMAZING things happening.  We have young adult men sitting contentedly everyday, creating jewelry and trivets as they soak in sermons and sing out worship music to the Lord.  There are people who’ve previously barely touched a Bible, reading scripture to our team in morning devotions.  There’s another lady who has this gift of knowing how to make almost anything she sees without any instruction.  And there is one small kid, who knows barely any English, who today, could read and write 5 sentences to me.  I think these small things are nothing short of amazing.  And so, while it is difficult to find time to write, I must reflect; I must look past all these small inconveniences and remember to see that the God we serve is a God that allows AMAZING things.

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