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Lord take off “the shoes of my heart” (Day 2)

Updated: Jul 13

What an adventure. Flying into Mombasa airport, and airport. Even smaller than Akron Canton‘s three terminal airport. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m not even sure the pilot left the cockpit before taking off 20 minutes after we landed.

The people here are welcoming and beautiful in a way that is genuine and thankful. I am aware that not everyone on this continent, or country, or even within the Masha complex thinks that our arrival is a monumental occurrence. What they are thankful for is that we have taken time to come and to see the work that has been entrusted to them. If you have read my pre-blog about missions not being what I thought, then you know that the work being done here is NOT contingent on a bunch of white people coming from America to “get things done.” There are many, many, many things being done, each day at a much higher level of excellence than I had precisely imagined. But we’l unpack that later.

The buildings, structures, and homes are a positive reflection of the work that God is doing. In order for the Government to approve the orphan school, they must “look” as professional as they proclaim. In the US we spend much time pretending that looks don’t matter, but in the end we know that is not as ideal as we proclaim both outside and inside the church. Outside the church, apps like instagram, Tinder, and even Ebay promote that the things that look better get the attention. Which is why when someone puts that the Ebay item comes from a “smoke free” home we are much more drawn to it as well as the better picture posted of said item.

Kenya is no different. If you want to know something is of quality value, it must also be backed up with being able to “prove it” intellectually and through its aesthetics. So when you see the church and schools with it’s stark white walls and beautiful exterior, it is a profession of “we’re doing something that is of high value and these kids matter to us.” With our American eyes, we wonder why so much attention to detail, but to the Kenyan, in order to communicate the value of these orphans and students, it ALL matters, THEY MATTER.

All of the Masha Family (our hosts) live in an area that has been designated for family. Aunts, Uncles, distant cousins, grandpa, and many, many others have homes that are sprinkled among the small plots of family corn planted around each of the tiny homes made of block or sun baked mud homes. For many American families, we consider the awkward New Year’s party and birthday parties as family time. Here until later in the evening, cousins can be heard playing and singing together, adult family members gather around outdoors cooking fires or around family chores being performed outside of the homes. Futures dinners run around the front or side yards in the form of chickens, goats, or what looks to be “very lean” beef cattle. Things are far from perfect, but the element of taking care of family and eating food that they have near instant access to is something that Kenyans do very well.

One other thing that has had an impact on our team is the long lost art of removing one’s shoes. This is something that is done as a sign of respect to the home ad those living in it. The home is sacred, it’s an extension of worshipping God and taking care of what He has so graciously provided.

The shoes which have been worn all over having their adventures in the sand, dirt, water etc now bear the detritus of those adventures. We remove our shoes and allow the home to be a sanctuary from the dirt of our community and our own wanderings. (Do you hear the metaphor in this about our spiritual lives?)

I have also noticed how much less distracted we all have become by the mundane things that constantly beg and plead for our attention. Literally, no one is on their cell phones. FOr me, what I have realized is how much clearer my thoughts are and those of our team. Our practiced 3 minute testimonies are no longer hurried, but have slowed down and are given with much more intentionality.  Conversations slowed, meals enjoyed with quickly moving on, and sleep comes quickly for all.

As I climbed into my bed (another blessing because we brought sleeping bags and had intended on being on the floor) and closed my mosquito netting my prayer was “Lord take off the shoes of my heart, please allow me to be drawn further into your presence and an opportunity to live in the direct moment of the people we are surrounded by and the Glory and Beauty of Your presence without the distraction of self gratification through food, wasting time, or entertaining ourselves into apathy. Tomorrow we head into Gloria Academy and Chafisi Baptist Church to spend time with the orphans. I cannot wait to see what God reveals in all of us as the day unfolde. To God be the Glory, thank you so much for praying and seeking God alongside of us.

Until All Have Heard,

-Pastor Mark

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