My family and I just returned from spending a couple weeks with the people of a small rural area in western Kenya. No doubt I’ll have a number of blog posts about this trip over the coming weeks, months, and years. I have a thousand stories to tell. The trip was absolutely amazing. However, in light of recent events, I feel as though this post is as good a place as any to start:
Hauling a family of 10 to Kenya is a long, challenging, and possibly risky venture. We weren’t blind to the challenges or risks, and we didn’t take them lightly. We intentionally picked an area to support that was isolated from terrorist activity. We loaded up on immunizations (and antibiotics, just in case). We only drank bottled water. We were overly careful about the food we ate. We stayed in a gated and locked guest house. We took trusted Kenyans with us everywhere we went. It was a lot of work to be overly-cautious. It was worth the hassle to us. Here’s one of many reasons why:
Mark Twain put it well….
The first news we saw as we arrived back in the United States was the heartbreaking news of the maniac in South Carolina shooting innocent people. What has this world come to? As much as it is within our power, we want to teach our kids to love all people-regardless of their skin color, culture, ethnic background, etc. What a blessing it was to be able to take them to a place where they could, first-hand, learn to serve and appreciate people of a different culture. Yes, there was risk in Kenya. According to the never ending flow of horrible headlines from each and every news outlet, there is risk here, too. We can take all the precautions in the world; but, ultimately, we entrust our kids-and their health and safety-to our God. Jesus told us to love others. Risk or no risk, we wanted to teach them how. I don’t know how well we did at this, but the Kenyans were amazing at it. Our kids learned a lot about service from them…and so did we. For example, here’s an excerpt from a gift-giving ceremony they held for us to give us gifts to take back to America. It was beyond humbling and beyond awesome.
Here are a few more photos of our time there. I’ve narrowed it down slightly from the roughly 3,000 pictures that we took. You’re welcome. Perhaps I’ll post more photos along with a more eloquent blog post when I’m not still battling the evils of jet lag. Until then….