I was standing in a crowd of 200+ Kenyans waiting in the arrivals at the Nairobi airport. I took a short flight into Nairobi to meet my Dad and sisters as they flew into Kenya. Then the following morning we traveled back to Kisumu.
As I was anxiously waiting for them and trying to hold my place in this small overpopulated area everything stopped for a few minutes. It was at this point that it started to become real. Any minute I would be embracing my father and sisters…on Kenyan soil. I don’t know what I thought before this, but for some reason, this was a news flash to me. I remember the sound of the crowd faded out and tears started flowing down my face.
It’s hard to explain to you what an honor it was to have my family here for our wedding. To walk my parents and sisters around the village we serve in and show them all the good things that God has been doing here. To invite them into this welcoming and beautiful culture was a complete joy. I always find it fun to be with people who are in Kenya for the first time. In their journey, I’m reminded so much of my first trips to Kenya. I’m also amazed to see where God has brought me through each journey. Each journey has helped develop me to be able to live comfortably in Kenya despite all of the differences from an American life.
I realized my growth in “Kenya life” the other day as I was showering. I remembered my first shower in Kenya at the YWAM base in Mombasa. As I entered the shower I had never ran so fast and screamed as loud as I saw a lizard come around the bathroom door. I remember being terrified for that whole 6 month trip every time I entered the bathroom. Where God has brought me you ask? Well, every morning, I have a roommate or two in the shower…a friendly lizard. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of small (or big) creatures, but as silly as is, God has helped grow in this area. This is just an example of different areas I’ve seen God either develop or create in me a desire to live and love this culture.
With that being said, having my family here, reminded me that my family isn’t called to Kenya, however, with all of the culture, food and life differences my family did awesome. In a way, as happy as they were to come, I’m sure they were ready to return to dependable water, plumbing and electricity, American food and safe driving. I was very proud with my entire family in how they did here; my Dad even said he wanted to return to Kenya in a couple years. God is good.
While my family was here, time flew by! The day before the wedding most of Fred’s family had reached Kisumu so it was nice to have both of our families in our home for a little bit. Fred and I are so flexible within our cultures that at times I really forget that we came from two completely different worlds. Having both of our families here together, really made it clear what complete different worlds we really do come from. It was a beautiful couple days, such diversity among us all, yet such unity.
While my family was here we visited the village we do ministry in, went to Fred’s home in the village, went on a Hippo safari boat ride and prepared for the wedding. I look back at the couple weeks my family was here and I can’t stop smiling, I’ll never be able to tell them how much I appreciate them coming to our new home. They were a blessing to us.