We find ourselves now making a home in rural Kenya with an organization called FAME (Friends of Africa Missionary Endeavour). We are located three and a half hours northeast of Nairobi, twelve kilometres off the tarmac road.
Our compound developed over this past twenty years on a hill overlooking a small village called Kithamula. We work among the Kamba people, who speak Kikamba, but they also speak Kiswahili and many speak English as well.
The Kamba people are affable people. They like to talk and have a good sense of humour. They depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood as well as raising cattle and goats. The village has electricity, which came about three or four years ago. There is also running water in the village, a centralized kiosk from where the people carry water in jerrycans on donkeys back to their homes. This is a recent development. Many people still must draw water from shallow wells in river beds. Six out of every ten harvests fail in this semi-arid region of Africa.
Coming here was like stepping back in time. It has taken a full four months to adjust my eyes to the dry landscape and my heart to the simple lifestyle of preservation and survival. There is a sober beauty here, the beautiful mountains and red soil tempered by the hard realities of life that we are often able to ignore in North America.
So why did we come?
Why on earth did we take four kids with complex health issues to rural Kenya? Yes, yes I understand the question. I have trembled under the scrutiny of people asking this same question, but I have never been so sure of God’s direction. This was certainly not my idea. So to cut the story short for you, I will simplify it into this and elaborate more as we carry on with the blog.
Families with chronic illness often underestimate their potential and limit their influence. For years I had learned to be content within the limitations of our family’s challenges. We lived on Vancouver Island and I was happy to stay put. With all the health issues, it was easier not to travel too much, to stick with simple routines and I was quite happy to do that.
In the past two years however, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about trusting Him. He’s been teaching me not to rest on my own understanding of what life should look like. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to relinquish my own ideas. He is still teaching me that I am not in control of the health outcomes of our kids!
He led us away from our church where my husband was pastor, our lovely home in Sidney, BC, across Canada to Ontario, where we tried to make a home while wondering what the Lord had for us next. We felt he was calling us to something like a pastorate again, and yet something would not settle in our hearts. My husband had been travelling to Kenya to teach and had joined FAME (Friends of Africa Missionary Endeavour), which his father had started twenty years before.
It was on his heart to help the local pastors and strengthen the local church with sound theological teaching and resources. His burden for this work only increased as time went by and soon I began to notice it, yet I never thought it possible we could go to Africa as a family with so many health issues!
But the Lord can do the impossible. He brought me to a place where I knew I did not have the resources to make it all happen. I’ve stood in awe of His problem solving. All we have done is to show up and be available, let Him move us, where He will and when He will.
So here we are today, four months on. We have good healthcare set up in Nairobi for all the children, and they are doing well. Our great God is proving daily to us that He can furnish a table in the wilderness.
“The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. May it not be that the human impossibility is just the very thing that sets His hand free? –that it is the things that are possible for us to do that He is in measure to let alone.” Lilias Trotter, (from A Passion For the Impossible)