We are winding down from language school and can hardly believe next week is our finals. I can hardly believe we are about to end our time at school. This school has been such an unimaginable blessing to our family. There are hardly words to describe our experience here. We've made some amazing friendships here and it will be difficult to leave. The teachers here have been like our parents and mentors. We feel like kids that are going to make our attempt to move out of "mom and dad's place" for the first time. We look forward to posting some pictures when our connection to the internet is better.
Lately I've had some phone conversations with my mom and grandma, and in trying to articulate the blessing of being in Kenya, there are frustrations that surface about the injustices which happen to the people of Kenya. It's so easy to be frustrated when we read in the newspaper about discontinuing funding for children who need medicine for Malaria while then turning the page of the newspaper and reading about members of parliament who give themselves a raise when they are already getting an enormous salary. There are so many frustrations and we can get so caught up in the headache of the way things are run here and how they oppress the people. It's difficult.
Today we had lunch with a Kenyan couple whom I had just met and their perspective was refreshing and encouraging. I told them how it seems that people don't consider the enormous "in your face" corruption a problem because it doesn't affect their everyday lives. Her perspective really gave me some insight. She had said that the people of Kenya had been under oppressive governments before and the people never rose up for fear of gov't. But now that there is more "freedom to speak out" it has created a society of people that don't care about the level of corruption that people are involved in because it doesn't directly affect their lives. It has also made the people jump into "survival mode", where everyone just looks out for themselves. This woman explained about the frustrations and injustices she has seen. She shared her experiences about opportunities that the Lord has given her to speak directly to some corrupt official responsible concerning a few matters. Before approaching them she was confronted by others who asked her the question, "Well, who are you?" Good question. She thought to herself, "Who am I to approach these people?" After tracking down this certain person, she was just about to give them a "piece of her mind" when out from her mouth poured words of encouragement and edification to this person who was responsible for matters that brought injustice. She could hardly believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. This was not the plan! But God had other plans. The point was not that this person was doing an amazing job but it's God's heart to win the soul of the person. It reminded me of this scripture (Col. 4:5), "Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (NIV) When we think the person deserves justice, He gives them grace so that they may come to know Him. This person had opened up his heart and let her know that there were corrupt officials above himself and that if she wrote letters and made " a stir" about the situation, he would be behind her. What a blessing! I know this story is a bit vague but I'm sparing the details to share about how much I was encouraged today.
Kenya is a country where there are so many relief funds and aid from other countries and organizations and still there are your poverty stricken folks and very rich folks. Seeing money falling into the hands of thieves is so disheartening when so many people can't get their basic needs met. Corruption runs so deep in the roots of Kenya.
But yet there's life here. There's a need for Jesus in this country filled with poverty, business, robberies, corruption, missionary aid groups and NGO's. There's a proud Kenyan spirit here that's just contagious despite the hardship. This country doesn't need more money but they need Jesus. He's the one that can change the hearts of the people, that will turn them from their sin. Jesus gets to the root of the evil and that's the heart.
It was refreshing to remember the reason why we came. Not so we can do or be everything the Kenyan people need. But it's to give them the only thing we have and that's Jesus. We can feed hunger for a while but God is the giver of the bread of life. We could dig bore holes to help the people get a drink but God is the one who quenches with living water. He's the provider, He's the savior, not us. And that is a huge lesson that I'm learning and will continue to learn here, I'm sure.