Monday, June 1, 2009

Finally in Kenya!

Team Kenya 2009!: Lydia (leader), Joanna, Lauri, Grace, Jacob, Josh, George, Will
Day 1 Kenya Airport
About 24 hours of flight brought us through Amsterdam to Nairobi, Kenya. Our team successfully navigated the airports and all our luggage came through (Praise God!). For now we are without our team leader, Lydia (she will arrive June 10th-pray for safety). Pastor Makuku met us right outside the luggage area and we took his van to Subiaco, our new home for the next 2 months. We jammed our 14 suitcases (2 of them guitar cases) and carry-ons into the van and piled in. We had already bonded during prefield training so we were alright with the closeness . When we got to Subiaco we unpacked, had dinner, and went to our rooms to sleep. Our rooms are in the same place as last year (at least for me). Lauri is my room mate!

Day 2 Kibera
Headed to Church at around 10am and I was so excited to see everyone from Kibera Church again. I noted all the familiar places along the drive and saw so many new places and things that had changed since last year. When Kibera came into sight I was hit by the hugeness of it all. Even though I had been before it’s just unbelievable.
As we were walking in, we hadn’t gone far when a fight started to break out. I was right behind Pastor Makuku, who was leading the way, and I just kind of stood there while he went up to the men and tried to be the peace maker. His wife, Martha, came along after a few minutes and led us through while Pastor continued to talk to the men. I was more intrigued or curious by it all then scared. Continuing walking, Martha ran into one of the men who had been in the fight and she spoke some words to him I couldn’t understand (in Swahili) and I thought it was so amazing how she was courageous, said what she believed and could be up front with him.
As we got nearer to the Church I looked for familiar faces, but saw few. We entered the Church and I immediately saw Purity, and a few of the girls (Elizabeth, Millicent, Truphena) having Sunday school. I couldn’t wait to go give them hugs and talk to them, but we had to wait about 15 minutes for them to finish. I was so thrilled and happy to see them. I couldn’t stop smiling. Finally they finished and I walked over and gave Purity a hug. We told each other how happy we were to see one another. Then I hugged some of the girls and shook their hands. Elizabeth was wearing one of my t-shirts I had left behind last year! It was so incredible to see those familiar smiling faces and to hug them and to see their faces as they recognized me. It was awesome. I couldn’t stop smiling all morning. Makes me think of what a great reunion we will have in heaven when we will all be together worshiping God.
I saw a few of the kids from my Baby Class last year and Geoffrey, one of the teachers. I can’t wait to see the rest of the kids in school this week! Geoffrey asked if I would be there Tuesday to greet the children and I told him I hoped so.
I was able to sing along with some of the familiar Swahili worship songs. Our team was able to lead worship as well. We sang “I’m Trading My Sorrows” with George playing guitar. It went well and a few of the kids recognized the song and sang along. It was fun and I’m sure we will do it every week.
We went to Java House for lunch (which is as American as you can get here) and I enjoyed the mango juice  Saw a cow in the back of truck on the road and Pastor asked if we had a camera. No one did, but it was pretty funny. Then a heard of cows got in front of our van and we had to wait for them to pass.
After we got back to Subiaco we did laundry and went exploring around the convent. There were beautiful flowers and banana trees and we even found a chameleon! It was so cool. We picked it up and almost everyone held it and its little clawed feet grasped our arms and shirts in such a funny way. Its back was spiny and felt really cool and it had three horns on the front and its eyes could look all over the place because they are one the side of its head. Anyways, it was exciting to find it and I took lots of pictures of us holding it.
We had tea and ruminated about our day, which was really good. It has been so good to be able to talk about what we felt that day and to discuss what we learned. It is so important to remember that we aren’t there on some soul-saving campaign. We are there to share Christ’s love with those in the Church as well, and to be an encouragement to those who have already been saved.
The electricity went out so we ate dinner by candlelight and then played Settlers of Catan by candlelight. Just as we finished the lights came back on. We are all enjoying the peace and beauty of the place we are staying in.

Day 3: Explorations in Karen
Ate a delicious breakfast of French toast and walked to the shopping center to explore. Walked around the Nakumatt (which is like a Kenyan Walmart) and got some Fanta’s and laundry soap. Also picked up some mendazis, which are pieces of fried bread in heart shaped form. It is a beautiful day and Pastor Makuku and the Kenyan team should be over soon to give us an orientation for our time here.
Please pray for continued safety, health, and team unity. Also pray for us to stay focused on our relationship with Christ. That our hearts would be broken for the people of Kenya and that we might minister to them as Christ would have.
Swahili word for the day (not sure of the spelling): Tuwende= Let’s go!
P.S. My team is AWESOME. God is AWESOME for bringing us all together for this adventure. I can’t wait to see how God will work through each one of my team mates.


  1. Joanna I loved reading that post! It seriously seems like just yesterday that I was there with you. I can't believe it was a year ago. I am so looking forward to reading your blog all summer and hearing the stories. I'll be praying for you, and the team and the Kenyans. Give everyone hugs for me :)

  2. Joanna!
    glad to see you're blogging the Kenya trip. are the George and Will you refer to the Hamm brothers? If so, do send them word that I said "Aloha!"
    I'm praying for y'all,
    Alan T.