sometimes, i look around and wonder if this really is my life…like, the life that God ordained for me to live. It doesn’t happen as often anymore, but there are moments where it strikes me that i live in kenya. africa is my home now. i live in a flat in an estate where the vast majority of my neighbors look very different from me. i walk past welders making doors and beds made on the side of the road. i have a tuk tuk driver that serves me well. i have someone whom i value that helps me clean. on fridays, i pass the hospital where mourners gather as they pick up the bodies of the deceased to prepare them for burial. i live in a place where corruption is begrudgingly accepted and where people stop what they’re doing to greet a friend. i live in a place where you “queue” and speak about your “program.”
i work in a place where NO ONE looks like me. i work in a place where after many years, a lot of people know my name and have accepted me. i also work in a place where some people don’t like me and wish i would leave. i work in a place where recently some drunk men told me they would vote for me if i ran for public office. i work in a place where when it rains, there is a specific path to walk that gets you in and out without getting covered in mud. i work in a place where dozens of children and i exchange the same specific set of greetings every day.
i also happen to live in a place that exasperates me. a place that plays on my insecurities. i live in a place that forces me over and over again into the realization that there is so much i don’t know and that i definitely don’t have it all together. i live in a place that forces me to gaze into some rather ugly parts of myself. i want to control things. i want to know everything. i lose my temper in this place and react foolishly. i utter words and then immediately wish i could take them back. in the place where i live, i wish i was more kind, compassionate, and brave. i also wish i was less selfish, demanding, and frustrated.
yet, it is also goes without saying that i both live and work in a place that i love, like ‘from the bottom of my heart and within deep inside, i would give anything to be here’ love. i happen to work in a place where God has seen it fit to take a group of strangers and make them family. i work in a place where most days i feel inspired, passionate and alive. i also work in a place where the people around me have inspired and challenged me by their unselfish service, teachability, and commitment to the Lord. i work in a place where i get the privilege of watching people’s lives change in real and practical ways in short periods of time. most of all, i work in a place where the people who know me best say i fit the most.
i live in a place so different from the one where i grew up. i work in a place so different from the one my training prepared me for, but yet so accurately prepared me for. i live and work in a place where the Lord is alive, and it is my privilege to serve Him with all i have, however imperfectly that may be. i live and work in a place that often demands my all, where i am forced to my knees seeking provision, faith, strength, and grace that only God himself supplies. i work in a place where i laugh hard. i live in a place that has so many beautiful hints of home that it has become a sort of sanctuary for me reminding me where i came from while gently pushing me towards an unknown future.
i live in a place where i must cling to the Living Word of God and where i must wrestle with God over the desires of my heart. i also live in a place where i think the Lord might be telling me i am supposed to stay. (which i might add was never part of my plan). i work in a place where the words of Hebrews 6:10 (God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them) and Ephesians 2:10 (For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do) are promises that i cling to. i work in a place where i constantly need to be reminded of the words of Hebrews 11 (especially verse 1: Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.)
above all, i live and work in a place where i am slowly, painfully, and beautifully being formed into the image of Jesus Christ and when i look to the left and right, i see that i am not alone.
my deepest, heartfelt gratitude to the 110 sponsors, dozens of donors, teams of prayer warriors, faithful encouragers, dear friends, sacrificing family members, and the 10 or so co-workers who make it possible for me to live and work “in a place” where i get to be who God most fully created me to be, and i pray that He continues to use me, us, and Ndoto to make that true of all those who follow us in this place.