So it’s Amy writing again! I hope all is as well stateside as it is in Kenya! We just finished our fourth official day here in the wonderful country of Kenya, and I figured I’d fill you all in on what we have been doing these past four days!
We arrived in Nairobi on Thursday night, and we were greeted at the airport by my wonderful friend from past trips Jakes and Jane who will be our host for the next three months. We absolutely love Jane! She has such a sweet spirit, and I think we are so blessed to have her with us for the next 3 months! After we left the airport, we were taken to our guest house in Nairobi. It’s so nice-LIA really does go above and beyond for their guests!
On Friday we got to “sleep in” so Jakes came to pick us up at 10:30. We went to the LIA-Kenya office to meet with the staff, pray, and get into the Word. At the LIA-Kenya office, I was reunited with my dear friend Paul, the country director for LIA-Kenya and prayer extraordinaire. All of the Mi2s and the LIA-Kenya staff spent some time praying and worshiping. We sang some hymns out of this little praise song book. Worshiping from this book was so different from what we are all used to back in the states. The worship was so “raw”-no lighting, no instruments, and no one who had a particularly good voice (at least to U.S.A. standards)-it was simply God’s children praising and blessing Him for who he is and his goodness. After prayer and worship, Paul taught from John 5:1-15 and pretty much blew our minds. God really speaks through Paul—we are so blessed to have the chance to be poured into by Paul and all the other LIA staff.
On Saturday our new friend Keziah from LIA-Kenya came over to our apartment to start some training. Keziah facilitates all the TOT (trainers of training) training sessions—it is her passion and she does an amazing job at it! Keziah taught us about spiritual mapping which is when you go into a community and just observe and identify what the strongholds are. She also taught us about prayer walking and some cultural basics so that none of us offend any of the Kenyans by being silly Mzungus (Swahili word for “white person”). That afternoon we got to do a spiritual mapping/prayer walk on our way to lunch. Just on our short 20 minute walk to our lunch destination, it was amazing how just down the street, basically in our backyard, there was so much “poverty” amidst such a nice area of town. I’ve never spent much time in Nairobi on previous trips so I’m definitely experiencing a Nairobi that is completely new to me. On our way there were two people who really stood out to me and literally broke my heart. James mentioned on of them in his previous post. Both of the people were beggars; one lady had a shriveled up foot and the other was a young boy who was wearing flip-flops on his HANDS. He was dragging himself down the sidewalk because he was crippled. This absolutely broke me. On the one hand, we are in Nairobi, the supposed city of opportunity in Kenya, but when you walk the streets a totally different picture is presented. On the other hand, I forget how much I compartmentalize things at home. I live in the east end of Louisville on the complete opposite end of town from the “poorer” area of town so I rarely come in contact with anything that is even close to being considered poverty (well economic, social, and physical poverty-spiritual poverty is a whole other issue). But here in Nairobi I’m literally faced with the abounding amount of need everywhere I go.
On Sunday morning we attended Innkeeper’s Fellowship church! Florence’s (LIA founder) brother, Julius, pastors this church and it was nothing short of amazing. It’s been a couple years since I’ve attended a Kenyan church service so I’ve kind of forgotten how authentic and Spirit-led their services are. Julius preached one of the best sermons any of us had ever heard. He preached from Numbers 13-14 when Israel is about to enter the promised land-the first time around. The whole thing was about if you want to do great things for God, you have to have Vision and Faith. He said that God gives us a vision of where he wants to take us and we have to have the faith that he will follow through. The sermon really laid a biblical foundation while edifying the body of Christ in that church. We also got a new roommate on Sunday afternoon!! His name is Noureldin and he is the country director in Sudan. He has come in for TOT training for the next 10 days. He is so sweet and we are all really looking forward to getting to know him!
Annnnd now to Monday—today we started out TOT training with LIA. We began our morning praying as a team before we left which was really awesome since we haven’t spent much time in prayer as a team. At the training there were 30 people from several different countries in attendance. The nations represented were Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, D.R. Congo, Rwanda, and the United States. We talked more about spiritual mapping which involved a great discussion about idols in the different countries represented. It was amazing listening to the other people talk about the idols in their culture—it seems that we all struggle with the same idols just in varying degrees. It was so powerful praying, worshiping, and sharing about our faith with these brothers and sisters because you realize once again how BIG God is and how he is the same God in Rwanda as he is in Kenya as he is in the U.S. We also gained ANOTHER roommate today! Her name is Amani and she is the country director in Egypt—what an amazing lady with such a big heart. Its been so interesting learning about Egypt and Sudan from our two housemates---and it’s been awesome listening to Bonsai tell his “American” joke----he’ll have to include it in his next blog post J
Overall, our time here in Kenya was involved a lot of downtime which we are all thankful for since we have had time to rest and to get settled in to living with 5 other people. James/Jim has also had lots of med school application stuff to get done so I know that he is thankful for the downtime. The downtime has also allowed us freedom to explore our apartment complex and meet the people living here. Kimber, Rebecca, and Bonsai got the opportunity to play soccer with some kids that live downstairs—so awesome. And Daniel and I tackled two of the hardest crossword puzzles I’ve ever done—James/Jim helped some. Even though we have had lots of downtime, God has really been teaching us all as a group and as individuals. It’s been a blessing to see how everyone processes things differently and I’ve definitely come to love my team even more as I’ve listened to their hearts on what they are experiencing after the first few days. Please continue praying that God will just open up all of our hearts and that we will be open to ALL that he wants to teach us. These next 10 days are going to be FULL of information so pray for rest and for us to be focused on the material and that we are able to fully receive it. Thanks so much! We miss and love you all!! Mungu akubariki! (God Bless)