with the area assistant chief and Alice (one of the students)
3) "What’s it like to live in a foreign country?"
One of Myles Munroe’s definitions for the word PASSION is: "Something you’re willing to do at the expense of your own comfort". Living in a different culture is not easy. It takes the grace of God.
Some areas that are difficult for me:
Food in Kenya can be rather bland and monotonous, as well as rather strange:
- Ugali – staple food: tasteless, made of boiled corn flour and water
- Tilapia – a fish served whole (eyes and all)
- chicken – served as a stew or soup… often with the head and the feet
- live termites – eaten raw, right out of the ground (wings and all)
Diseases: malaria, typhoid, typhus, amoebic dysentery, worms, shigella food poisoning – I’ve had them all!
Worship music and flow of church services – The music in most churches doesn’t sit well with me; it's hard to enter into worship. It's hard to follow the preaching. In many rural churches, the men and women sit on different sides.
Social interactions – Kenyans are very formal in their greetings; shaking hands is almost mandatory. One should ask permission before leaving someone’s house.
Thought process – Kenyans’ reasons and ways of doing things can be very different than mine. I often ask God to help me understand how Kenyans think!
Colonial mindset - Unfortunately there is a prevailing mindset that whites are superior. I actually fight this stereotype every day I'm in Kenya.
Language barriers - Although Kenyans do speak English, often we can struggle to really understand one another.
People constantly stare at me, simply because I have white skin.
In many ways, I live like the Kenyans I minister to. I ride public transportation (matatus). I ride a bike. I walk in the mud and slosh through the puddles. These facts alone help me relate better to those God has connected me with.
At my house in Matunda (made of mud with a grass thatch roof):
- I get water out of a well.
- I squat to use a pit latrine.
- I use a kerosene cooker and lantern (the closest electricity is 3 miles away).
- I take “splash” baths out of a basin of cold water.
I’ve slept on the floor (with cockroaches crawling all over me) and on an uncomfortable, homemade grass mattress.
4) "Is it safe to be in Kenya?"
I believe the “safest” place to be in the whole wide world is in the center of God’s will.
“Paul never knew where the next blow would come from. Every day he risked his life for the cause of God. The roads weren’t safe. The rivers weren’t safe. The cities weren’t safe. The wilderness wasn’t safe. The sea wasn’t safe. Safety was a mirage. It didn’t exist for the apostle Paul. He had two choices: waste his life or live with risk. He never knew what the day would hold. But the Calvary road beckoned. And he risked his life every day."
John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
5) "Do I miss my kids and grandkids?"
The answer is “YES, I do miss them!” I miss my family and my friends very much when I'm in Kenya. In spite of that, I strongly believe Kenya is where the Lord wants me.
"Where does Jesus Christ figure in when we have a concern about our natural relationships? Most of us will desert Him with this excuse – 'Yes, Lord, I heard You call me, but my family needs me and I have my own interests. I just can’t go any further' (Luke 9:57-62). 'Then,' Jesus says, 'you cannot be My disciple.' (Luke 14:26-33). True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God."