God’s Word is our Way

It is 0500 Kenyan time on Tuesday, August 11.  I am writing from the dining table in a guest house at the Lugulu Friends Hospital.  We had a very full day yesterday.  While I know now that I did not get enough sleep, I knew when I woke up at 4:30 I would not get back in bed.  My mind is racing with many images of the recent past.  I am reflecting on my need to be in control, of being competent, of being helpful and how each of those needs was challenged mightily in the past 24 hours.  I also have had my need for comfort and convenience challenged greatly as well, and I now recognize clearly a purpose of God in bringing me here.  What many of us Americans call needs are luxuries in Kenya.  What many American Christians consider to be needs, Kenyan Christians may consider useless.  What most American teachers consider necessities as aids to their teachingwould be beyond the dreams of most Kenyan teachers .

My prayer this morning is, “God show us.  God reveal to us how we can serve you and your people here in Lugulu.  God, reveal to us how we may be able to respond to your leading at just the right time to bring encouragement and support to our brothers and sisters here.  God, may we discern together how we should move forward, guide us in the way we should go”. And then, I look on the wall in the guest house, and there is the plaque that reads, God’s Word is Our Way. In this moment, the cock crows outside, perhaps for the third time.  And I catch myself reflecting on whether I have actively sought after God in all this.  Does Jesus know, with me, as he did with Peter, that in the moments of dire need, I look to my own competence, my own control and my own need to be secure, refusing to recognize my dependence on him and thereby denying him opportunity to act through me?

“God help us, we need you.  Help us to use what you have given us to serve in support of your will, not as crutches and substitutes, but as freely given gifts to be shared with the community, without our own need to be in control, to be competent, to be recognized or comfortable.”

At the conclusion of yesterday’s session, I found myself wanting to support the process, and to control the flow of events over which I really have no control or power to support.  When a torrential rainstorm brings a complete change of plan; when the sound of the ongoing downpour striking the tin roof of our assembly hall becomes the overriding factor influencing our actions and words; we can nothing but enjoy the scene and do what Kenyans are much better at than we, wait.

It’s funny now, as I reflect back on my thoughts of yesterday morning as I sat in the Milipani Resort in Kisumu.  On Monday morning I was thinking about why that place would be called a resort.  I had compared the facilities with a typical American hotel and Milipani came up short.  And yet now, as I sit at the little wooden table in the guest house, I have been taken to a place of gratitude, not only for the relative luxury of the resort, but also for the protection and comfort afforded us here in Lugulu.  Milipani had air conditioning in the guest rooms, and a swimming pool, and a clean and well functioning bathroom inside our room.  The restaurant had many selections on its menu.  The resort has enough pillows for the occupants.

Our guest house here at the hospital is a bit different.  We refill the toilet tank with a large bucket, which we fill with water from the bathtub.  Mold spots provide interesting patterns on the ceilings and walls.  Our mosquito net is functional, true, but the design makes it difficult to cover the two of us.  Yet we are blessed in this house.  We are dry and warm.  We have plenty of bottled water.  We have internet access, thanks to John’s network conversion devise, which allows computers to access cell phone networks.  We had three substantial meals yesterday plus a late afternoon tea, and another meal waiting us here in the guesthouse, when we arrived last night, which we politely refused.

This morning we will continue our work with the Kenyan educators.  I know that today will bring a series of events, which I will now choose to accept with wonder and gratitude.  I am grateful for the day I had yesterday.  I am grateful for the beauty of this place, and the incredible richness of the conversations.  I am thankful for the lush vegetation and the smiling cafeteria ladies, and for cell phones and safety and most of all for being in the company of loved ones and trusted colleagues, on what has turned out to be a most amazing adventure.

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