Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My intentions were to be able to blog daily about our trip, however, as it has been with all my trips to Africa and Asia, internet is severely limited.

So I apologize,there is too much to try and pack into 2-3 blogs, so I summarize. These trips are so full of action, reaction, emotion, thought, awe, inspiration, etc. Usually the trips blur by and there is little time to sit down and unpack most of it, prior to coming home. The trip home is usually not a good time for reflection, as I am usually spent. This trip is a bit different, as we sent the team off to the airport on Saturday to return to Texas, but our family and the McKowns headed down to the Masai Mara game park to “holiday” as the British world says. We spent 2 nights at a beautiful lodge called Mara Simba which was on the banks of a river, where we could eat our meals and watch hippos and crocs frolic in the river. The place was amazing and serene, as we drove across the savannah and saw some of the Creators amazing work. The landscape and animals were very beautiful, being 10 feet from an elephant and a cheetah is cool. Our stay there also included some family time and some down time; where I was able to start unpacking the journey and what impact it has had on me and my family. More on that to come.

After our safari, we went back to Naomi's Village and took the McKowns to the IDP camp to meet with Joseph and see his new “house” and his old “house.”  His old house was a UN white tent that was about 10x15x8 and he had lived in it since 2008.

His new house which was completed last month by Habitat for Humanity is a block and concrete house with a metal roof and has 3 rooms. All in all it is approx 400 SF and he calls it his mansion! Joseph is so proud of his house and the extra rooms, and we were so happy for him, because it represents dignity and hope. The families at the IDP camp are slowly getting real shelter, safe from the elements and dirt floors, which were prone to flooding and bugs. They now have some privacy, raised concrete floors, walls that will not sway in the strong winds, and locking doors and windows for a since of security. It is humbling to realize all that we take for granted. I have said it before and so have others, but to see what it is to have almost nothing; to wake everyday and have to fight for what little you can call your own, and to try to scrape up enough to feed and cloth your children is a feeling that I can not identify with. As a husband and father, it overwhelms me to think what the fathers and mothers must feel as this is their reality, and they have it relatively good compared to others in Africa and the world. I am overwhelmed by a mixture of gratitude, guilt, compassion, and sympathy; its so hard to know what to say, coming from me it sounds trite and hollow. Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things though Him who strengthens me”
Most of us, including myself have always had more than we needed. So what is the proper response?, and how should I react?, what would I do in their situation? Would I call it a blessing as Joseph does? He describes losing everything, but finding everything in Christ as a result. I know God does not call all of us to this, but He does command us to be willing to give all up for Him. It is easy to say I/you would, but it has never been asked of me, so its all speculation and hope. Paul states we can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens us, that is the only way. We must seek Christ and pray that we would yearn for him, “As a deer pants for water.”
All together, this is one of my top 2 favorite trips ever, putting it together and getting to Kenya was stressful, but the team was amazing. The kids were inspiring and brought out the best in us. The medical team helped to heal people physically and spiritually. Kenya is a special place, it is a place of great beauty, but also much tragedy. The statistics ready:700 kids a day orphaned, 5000 babies a year abandoned, many more than that neglected and abused. I am hopeful and inspired buy what is going on at Naomi's Village and am humble to be part of it. Asante Sana

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