Jambo – Kenya

P1000048Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Pope Francis: “Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to ‘God’s surprises’?”
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Everyone wants to know about my recent trip to Kenya.Did you contract ebola? What was the highlight of the trip?  Did you feel safe? What was the food like? the weather? Did you go on a safari? Did you see any wild animals? It’s natural for friends and family to be curious about my 10,000 mile excursion.
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A good friend asked me to describe the Kenyan mission in one word. Without much thought, I replied, surprise. Surprise after surprise after surprise. I was surprised by the waves of destitute Kenyans roaming the streets 24/7. I was surprised by the overwhelming smells of diesel, human waste, sweat, and garbage. I was surprised by the graciousness and humility of the Kenyan people. I was surprised by the singing and dancing of women who slept on mud floors in 10×10 ft. rooms with their children. I was surprised by my own CRS (caucasian rhythm syndrome) dancing. I hutwas surprised by the tearful testimonies of once infected HIV women who are now thriving because of the compassion and care of H.E.A.R.T volunteers and staff. I was surprised by the joy of wallowing in mud and packing that same mud into makeshift walls. I am surprised by how much I miss Kenya. I am surprised how easy it is to transition back into the passive Christian life of squandering time.
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Henri Nouwen writes, each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. I need not be 10,000 miles away in a foreign country to receive God’s surprises. Surprise me today, O Lord. Amen.

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