I made the journey to Kenya to help, serve and teach, full well knowing that I would learn, grow and receive. I've come to understand that new experiences are critical to my spiritual health, my ability to grow in compassion and my effectiveness as a citizen. Why? In each thought stretched, idea shared, personality encountered I'm reminded of the height and breadth of this world. I'm tutored in justice, and mentored in communal hospitality. I'm coached in skills to embrace the wonderful variety of people and paths in God's cosmos. And, I'm invited to be uniquely me, while welcoming the uniqueness of others. I am taught to love more fully, laugh at myself more easily and trust God more completely.
Here are some familiar things I encountered from new angles. How about the ubiquitous traffic jam... with livestock instead of cars. Then there is the whole world of construction. I've been on mission trips and renovated homes here in the states. I've watched churches, stores and office buildings be built. And, still, the hand poured concrete, and labor intensive forms built from tree-stick scaffolding, made me think again.
I watched the news as the ICC held a trial for the Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and listened to the perspectives of pastors and business folks from the country, all passionate, and many understandings. Familiar differences emerged in a situation that appeared extreme to me...and so I listened, learned, wondered, talked... emerging a different person. I'm not different by leaps or bounds, but by nuanced perspective and a broadened menu of experience on which to draw as I interpret the world around me.
I am so blessed to receive the privilege of serving and traveling. I am grateful for those around me who supported and encouraged this trip. Thank you! I know, in the adventure, I brought the gifts I planned to deliver: teaching, encouragement, resources, neckties, friendship and connections of Christ. I am awed by the gifts I receive: friendship, teaching, encouragement, connections in Christ, and broader understanding of a world that doesn't look and function like my beloved home territory. New perspective usually requires me to journey beyond the familiar and the comfortable. When I do I find hope, promise and joy. That's just how I'm designed and frequently how God works.
Watch for more pictures with commentary here. Check out my Facebook for a whole collection of photos.