Kenya Journal February 12 2023
WHIPLASH – The orchestra is warming to play the finale on this safari of the soul. Leaving the Kenyan mission field and reentering our lives as wealthy Americans is truly a whiplash effect on the mind, body, and soul.
One former team member said at an exit dinner (like tonight’s), “now I know what it feels
like to hit the wall at Daytona going 200 MPH!” Our ministry (you) always treat our mission teams to a wonderful exit dinner in the lush, colonial settings of Karen, Kenya. The food is five star. The restaurant could be a set for a remake of Gone With the Wind/Out of Africa.
My job tonight is to remove the shame the enemy inedibly piles on rich American’s in a third-world ministry environment. My speech is always the same, “it’s not our fault that we are wealthy Americans. But, it is our responsibility.”
You can’t see what this team has seen, smelled what this team has smelled, felt what this team has
felt without being changed from the inside out.
That is one of my unhidden agendas in bringing US teams to Kenya. The other, is to send home an army of ambassadors for the work God is doing in East Africa. I am confident God has answered my prayers on
both counts with this amazing team of men I have shared life and ministry with the past two weeks.
When the wheels of our small turbo-prop plane left the runway in Kitale this morning, we changed hats. We were missionaries. Now, we turn tourist for a couple of days.
A trip to Africa is a one in a lifetime experience for most people. It is expensive and hard. Many only make this trip once. Our team has not seen the National Geographic Africa we grow up with in America. The animals do not roam wild any longer, except for the occasional monkey, baboon, or zebra. Tonight we enjoyed fine dining in the custom of Colonial Kenya, the way our British cousins did before “giving” Kenya its independence. Tomorrow morning at dawn we will make a game drive. Many of the men on this team share my passion for all things outdoors. Seeing African game in the wild is a feast for the eyes and soul.
But, it is a harsh reality when the first course of dinner is placed before you. You realized you have turned in your ministry card for a tourist visa. Emotionally, it is like hanging on to the swinging arm of a grandfather clock and trying to ride out the time left before your flight home. Your thoughts swing back and forth from the mission field you have left behind, to the place that you long for called home.
I did my best to prepare the team for reentry. I truly believe it is a gift that it takes thirty hours to travel from Kenya to our homes. It is not quite long enough, but anything shorter would be too quick for our emotional clocks to reset. Our physical clocks will take a bit longer to reset too. Sleep will be elusive as our bodies try to adjust to the nine hour time difference. It’s not easy. Ministry isn’t supposed to be easy. That’s why Jesus called us ‘laborers.’
Don’t stop praying just yet! The animals that will surround our LandCruiser in the morning are still wild. They don’t feed them in the game park so we can see them in as close to their natural habitat as possible. And, there are still flights to catch and connections to make. Our stomach are wondering what just happened after two weeks of restricted, bland diet. Then tonight, here comes the feast again!
But, mostly pray for me and these men as we process our last two weeks and sift what God wants us to take forward with us into the rest of our lives and then eternity. We don’t want to waste a moment. Remember, when you kill time—it has no resurrection!
I will reach backward tomorrow after our game drive to retrieve some neglected reports from the past ministry days. I can’t write it all and you don’t want to read it all. But, there are a couple of nuggets left that I think you will find tasty to your spiritual palette.
Thanks for the prayer. And to our partners who picked up the tab for the extravagant dinner tonight, thank you so much!
Gotta lay out my safari hat and jacket and get some sleep. Dawn comes early in Africa. your prayers = our fuel.
God is great!
By, grace, your brother,