Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Week

My suitcase is unpacked.

And back in my attic.

My travel size shampoo and lotion.

Are stashed back in my travel drawer.

Souvenirs have been shared.

My passport went back in the file.

And my dirty clothes have been washed.

Even the smell of Kenya.

Has pretty much faded or been washed away.

It's Wednesday.

We've been home.

Just four days.

Isn't it about time?

For that shift?

Back to what life was before?


I'm still thinking about what I was doing this time.....last week.

Last week.

We had our closing ceremony.

Last week.

We ate our meals together at one long table.

Last week.

We got wet from an afternoon shower.

Last week.

We watched fish fingerlings released in a pond.

Last week.

We looked after each other.

We confided and shared.

In a circle.

Of chairs.



But now.

It's four days later.

And I gave myself a bit of a break.

I left my office at lunch.

And headed home.

I spent some time.

Cleaning and thinking.

Being quiet.

Considering what's next.

I've struggled more than usual  this time.

Adjusting to what's normal back at home.

My mind.

Has been preoccupied.

In last week.


Evening dinner with all of you.

Falling asleep with a mosquito net over an open window.

Standing on top of a mountain.

Listening to that stupid rooster crowing in the dark.

And the sound of you singing and laughing at the foot of the stairs after debrief.

I miss this team.

I miss being there.

I've prayed a good bit this afternoon.

For God to help me move forward.

And come to some conclusions.

Of putting all of this in it's place.

This is how He explained it to me.

At least in my spirit.

(maybe it will help some of you.)

This trip was a gift.

A gift to you.

A special place.

For you to see.......Me.

I gave you something you needed.




Time away.

Time with Me.

I gave you a different way to look at your life.

Take  that.

Take what I gave you.

Take what I showed you.

Don't forget it.

Don't waste it.

Put feet to your life.


And in the days ahead.

It was a gift.

Not to be mourned for.

Not to hold you in the past.

Don't look back too long.

You won't lose it.

It's not going anywhere.

It'll always be there.

Part of you.

But I'm ahead.


Turn back around.

Walk forward.

It was a gift.

To be used.

And lived out.

For Me.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

You Felt Sorry For Us

It's been a full year.

Of planning, meeting and thinking about it.

And 10 days from today.

We go.

Scott & I are leading a team to Kenya.

With 410 Bridge.

Headed to the communities of Karogoto.

And Tumutumu.

A few hours north of Nairobi.

Next week.

We leave Atlanta.

For Frankfurt, Germany.

And from Frankfort, we fly to Nairobi.

18 hours in the air.  

Over 8,000 miles.

Twenty people are coming with us.

Half have traveled to Kenya before.

Half have not.

That's a perfect mix of experience.

As this team started to grow last year.

Scott & I were sure it would shake out.

To maybe a dozen or so.

But with just a few exceptions.

Everybody that signed on last spring.

Stayed on board.

All twenty two of us.

We recruited former teammates.

And close friends.

People who've watched our past trips with interest.

And intrigue.

Some family.

Childhood friends.

A former babysitter.

Classmates and friends of our kids.

And a co-worker.

We're a group of ordinary people.

Messed up.




(and that's just starting with me & Scott.)

But despite our shortcomings.

There's something about Kenya.

And serving there.

That keeps drawing us back.

And in this case.

Inspired us to lead a team ourselves.


So they can experience.

What we have come to know.

And understand.

That we go there.

More for what we receive.

A genuine look at faith.

Our faith.

We go there.

To be spiritually nurtured and fed and cared for.

We go there.

Because of what they give us.



Self-absorbed Americans.

We go to Kenya.

To find.




Along with the hardship and struggle.

In the lives of the Kenyan people.

We go to Kenya.

To serve.

But mostly to learn.

To be humbled.

And convicted.

That people who have so little.

By our country's standards.

Really have so much more.

That's a mission trip secret.


I don't think we're suppose to let that out.

It makes our motives sound a little selfish.

But the truth is.

The people of Kenya minister to us.

They teach us.

We need their example.

We need to spend time in their presence.

We leave better people from serving with them.

That used to be unexpected.  

Now.   Not so much.

I've shared this story many times.

I was all wide-eyed.

And well meaning.

Back in 2007.

Going on my first trip to Africa was an adventure.

And somehow I envisioned that I would do good.

And make a difference.

But at the end of that first trip.

Ten years ago.

I had an important encounter.

A Kenyan friend looked me in the eye at the airport.

As we were leaving to fly home.

And he spoke a truth to me I've never forgotten.

" Thank you for coming to our country.
  But you came to Kenya because you felt sorry for us.
  And you wanted to help.
 But we feel sorry for you.
You have so much to keep you from God.
And He is all we have."

I had not put that truth together for myself just yet.

But I would.

In the weeks and months that followed,

He was right.

And, understanding that changed a lot of things in me.

Including my view of God and the world.

And I can't wait.

To travel with a new group of messed up, self-absorbed people.

Just like me.

To learn from them again.

Thank you for your prayers for us.

As we go.

I'm counting on this group coming back different too.