It is a sunny Friday afternoon and I a accompanied by a soft, refreshing breeze that has found its way through the window offsetting from Lake Victoria which is found just a stones throw down the dirt road. Directly outside my window playing is the daily soundtrack of other various and interesting sounds such a koo koos, music (which is surprisingly and often Celine Dione or country), preaching from various churches of all sorts, housing being constructed, boda bodai (motor bikes) and cars driving by, laughter as too chatter from children and other passerby's and of course, I can not forget the loudest of all, the mosque acouple doors down. Thankfully since Ramadan has ended and I have relocated the speaker hasn't seemed as active or loud. The streets on this road which I am lodging off of are undoubtedly active, thrilling, filled and full of life; all day and everyday. Life is surely happening and happening rather rapidly here, as I can testify to first hand. Times is speeding by. It is said, everything in Africa happens slowly, well to be fair for the most part it does. However, the time since arriving in Tanzania and now partnering with the baby home here in Bwiru, time has jetted by quicker than I can comprehend. The good news is, I can gratefully and thankfully say I made the transition from the Mt. Kenya region area to Kipkaren on my own safely with no problems after parting ways with the Life Pacific team and since then have been carrying on with chapter Tanzania every since. A place consisting of constant surprise, sweetness, daily adventure, new experience and overall quite humbling, stretching, and growing opportunities.
After 3 weeks at Kimbilio Hospice, I arrived to the baby home safe and sound Monday June 13th, with no trouble nor daylight to spare, as the sun had just set over the rocky hills of this rocky city called Mwanza. I was excited in the surreal arrival after a nice journey into an awaited country while completely unaware of what to expect in this transition and stay. I had been anticipating my new abode and home for the next many weeks and just as importantly eager to meet the children at this orphanage who I would have the opprtuntity to the following day. I went to bed that evening in my bunk that was found in the back room of the guest house that I would be sharing with 6-10 other volunteers on the compound, all who were primarily from the UK and ranging in ages 18-2. We would be sharing home for the next few months. My roommate would be arriving in about 1 week. Late that night was when I heard the Lord speak and remind me knew that this chapter of my time in Africa would be drastically different than the prior organizations I had partnered with and that I was in for a new experience, investment, surrender and world on numerous levels. No, I was not in Kenya anymore. The evening was long, I was tired and my body was fighting me after much traveling the prior 5 weeks and last few days of the recent journey from Kenya to this new place in Tanzania which is extremely different then Kenya, actually drastically diverse! Despite the building up of exhaustion since arriving here, I was here now and more than ready to sleep. There was much to praise God for his promises, travel mercies and too the sweet meetings and overall provision along the way, that made for a memorial time and fun adventure. These divine and joyous times and experiences were going to carry me through. My faithful God had a plan, I had to trust and believe.
As mentioned, six incredibly life altering weeks have passed; ones which are filled with chapters worth of stories, adventures, sights, smells, tastes and daily exposures to a new world, town, culture and way of life. All is new and all is humbling and reminding me each moment, step and thought, just how much I am in need of my Savior's grace and faithful guiding and moreover the reminder that I am not the point, inturn constantly pointing to the one who is. It has been nothing less of a time of learning, listening, and also patience and perseverance. A time of seeking God's plan as well as my role and place here. Added, having been exposed to daily life in an orphanage, which happens to be in a 3rd world country; this is a first for me. And in effect by no surprise comes with the exposure, has opened my heart and soul to a level of vulnerability and opportunity to step, or rather plunge into a river of new understanding and a love I have not yet experienced before. A love that has changed and challenged my life and been a primary example to the fight and the war that exists in love and loving; in the least being a teacher, reminding and showing me how to love when it hurts and when it stings and the true meaning of just that. All reflected and spoken through the faces and souls I have over a short time bonded deeply with also illuminating and redefining the perfect, unrelenting, passionate Love that the Savior Jesus has for us his people, creation and children. A true love that can not be escaped nor explained, only experienced and transformed by; which when hand to heart is easier said than done, requiring a strength and choice that is not of this world. Thankfully I know the Holy Spirit is here and in Him I am reminded and walk in the promise that all can be found and accomplished not by might or power but in and through him.
The past many weeks which have sped by yet feels like months and years, is really all more than I can still process to share to relay appropriately at this time due to the depths it has developed into and the reality that I am still taking it in and living in its effects. I am still working it out and taking all in, while staying as attentive as I can to the daily and momentary process and flow of the devotion and responsibility it requires. Love, it really is a choice and with it comes freedom and treasure but too responsibility and commitment, as another's heart is in reach of yours. But at the ed of the day, oh how its worth it.
Apart the tugs and pulls of processing a depth of life and love which is not of ones own, time is escaping often here as there is always something going on, a place to be and relationships with locals forming, chai gatherings to arranging or a walk to town and of course always something your mind, heart and spirit in working out or through in order to navigate each step along the path. Due to these realities, we are led to a blog that has not been updated in almost 2 months leaving a undeniably large gap between my first two weeks in Kenya and now being in Mwanza. To be shared and known, the space between was filled with much treasure, precious treasure which is not only necessary but also desired to share - eventually. To those who have been checking the blog and wanting to follow the time out here and time which has yet been posted, I send my apologies! On the bright side, things have been moving along and I am surly where intended. I have peace and assurance I am where I was meant to be. Although nothing short of challenging, I need no convincing there is purpose and partnership in this place.
As I am still and find myself here, taking in this moment and the time of reflection which I have found available this day; primarily in thanks and happening due to unfortunately finding that I have come down with what i am told is likely Typhoid this past week, something which I had been fighting for atleast a week prior to diagnosis. It has not been the most comfortable week and a half now and I have been robbed of precious time with the kiddos due to having to take some time off work at the baby home to attempt to rest it off. It hasn't been easy but not to worry, I'm only in about stage 1-2 and thanks to a lovely and caring roommate who by divine design have recently moved in with down the road and too thanks to local friends who check in on the condition daily; I am cared for and in good company. With the useful down time this day, I am finding it hard to fathom that 6 weeks have passed since my lively and heartfelt good-bye ceremony at Kimbilio Hospice and to the village of Kipkaren Kenya and The Living Room. I have been fighting the time to update my blog after such passing of events and encounters leading this moment I find myself somehow 6 weeks into my time living in Mwanza, Tanzania serving at FA baby home on Lake Victoria, in the middle of Africa. I often have to remind myself how much has transpired and been captured since leaving America and that I am currently on another continent and country living out and working out my passions and callings and sharing the good news of the GospeI, while investing in building relationships with those who have been placed in the circles around me,(or rather those whose circles I have been placed into.) Whichever frame you see it as, I often still ask and ponder and lay the question before God as to, "why me and how did I get here?" I am reassured each time, filled with gratitude of the faithfulness of the Lord and challenged in good ways all the more at the happenings, call and allowances. It's incredible to say the least. It's God, who he is and it's quite crazy and a true honor.
Much awaiting to be shared that was part of my 3 week stay in the beautiful village of Kipkaren Kenya where I spent time primarily serving and partnering with the Living Room International, it was filled with gifts of meeting incredible souls, partnering and building relationships with others serving at the hospice and opening up to other lives full of pain, loss and others losing hope. Also entering into testing and heart wrenching stories of others in the community, as well as spent some time stopping in Empowering Lives International's children home which is settled just a short stroll from where I stayed along the Kipkaren river. I was also joyed to have spent a few days welcomed in and connecting with the close by Hope Matter's Ministry, just prior to saying "baddaye" to this now dear land and these special people, the unique stories and places God is working, ministering and bridging gaps with strands of hope and grace. Kipkaren "space between" chapter from Kimbilio hospice, fellowship and time with other ministries there will surely need to be shared. Goodbye was as sweet as hello, yet too the receiving and releasing bitter sweet. However, new faces and places were awaiting my arrival in the next chapter in Africa, just a journey south away. Goodbye always leaves room for see you again and a new hello.
Those who were met and left in Kenya and Kipkaren village I was blessed to meet and get to know as well as do life with for a few weeks.
Over all prayer for the Living Room International, Kimbilio hospice- from the guests receiving care to the incredible staff providing hope, dignity and value to these lives around the clock.
Prayer for Hope Matters ministry that Michelle and William lead and their team in the upcoming growth and expansions that are before them.
Prayer for the lives I have met here in Mwanza thus far. Continued leading by the Spirit each week durning Thursday bible study time as well as daily leading, filling, learning and loving in super natural ways. Divine appointments with the brilliant but challenged orphan children I have been surrounded by.
Discernment, wisdom as well as faith in the steps I must take after seeing, started learning, observing and being exposed to all which I have and the areas I have been left with a holy discontentment I know must be investigated and not ignored.
Prayer for open door and arrangements for travels to Uganda for a quick trip to see sponsor child Elvis in Entebbe.
Prayer for continued health as I have been working an annoying bug out these past two weeks.
Prayer for my roommate and her new business investments here and her startups as she navigates this rather intense season of ground level growth primarily on her own.