Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How We Live In "the Missing"

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

It can be hard living on the mission field in a culture so foreign from our own that we constantly question: “Where do I fit? How does this work? What should be done?” Some days it’s particularly tough. That’s when "the missing” happens. We long for those close to us - whose prayers, support and encouragement carries us.  Seeing friends and family on skype becomes a soothing salve we apply generously to cover "the missing" wounds.
We came to Kenya because of a divine call; one we heard as young believers.  We studied missions in Bible school, got involved in cross-cultural ministries and prayed as God nurtured our vision over many years.  Funny, when we set out to follow that call we expected good things, and rightly so because God is good.  He has destiny with future and hope.  We left our comfort zone starry-eyed and determined.  Sure, we calculated the cost this adventure extracts – missed celebrations, loss of familiar fellowships, especially the lively conversations with kindred souls over comfort foods – but, when it came to actually “paying” that cost, emotions can mess with  vision. Pun intended.

So, what to do when "the missing” becomes so tangible it pierces our soft spots?

1.  Have FUN.  Yep.  Do something meaningfully silly with people and ENJOY them.

2.  Be REAL with those God sent us to serve.  Healthy relationships form out of honest ministry.

3.  Always PRAY.  Let the Lord, who heals hearts, mend the brokenness and build new bonds.

We lived this advice all the way to Kajulu, a desperately poor village where widowed mamas, both young and old, care for orphans.  Who would have guessed that regularly gathering with 12 Luo women under the shade of a mango tree would ease "the tender missing?”  Warm evening sun finds us sharing our stories, our discoveries, our food and our laughter. (Note: Being silly = ammunition against overwhelming poverty.)

God gave us friends in Kajulu; ones where comfortable chatter bypasses language differences; ones that ask probing questions because the answers expose priceless value;  ones with interest in exploring the Lord’s plans for the future - together; ones that create a sincere, “Karibu sana” - you are welcome here anytime my friend.

For those we are longingly "missing," we send you sweet shalom. For our new friends here in this far away land, abundant thanks for embracing us.  Life is simply joyless survival without all of YOU. 
Warm chatter over sweet roselle tea.

Mama Mary's humor keeps us giggling.

Mama Carol's sweet smile is contagious.

Mama Janet oversees our group with gladness.
Rice is set in the fire-less cooker to steam and in 30 minutes we 
share the soft treat.  This method of cooking saves time and fuel.

Carolyne shares an activity that focuses the conversation on Jesus.

Mamas' pick colored papers with characteristics of Heavenly Father
and share testimonies of how He blesses them.
Mama Rose tells of painful experiences trying to steal their destinies, 
but God's grace intervenes.

Luo Bibles are few and highly valued. To have God's
Work in their heart language speaks volumes.

With what little she has, Mama Janet cares for these orphaned girls.

So blessed with "rafikis" of like passions.

What's next?  Continual relationship based discipleship and development so 
widowed mamas are equipped to care for orphans - a pure act of worship.
James 1:27.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o