Monday, November 22, 2010

I Don't Have It Down

There are times I’d like to believe that I have this missionary thing or this living in another culture thing down. I’ve dealt with all kinds of situations, I know what to expect. For the most part it’s true, I do, but there are parts of me that never seem to overcome my American view in certain situations.

In August I wrote about wishing I were rich to be able to help out the needy students I meet who are worthy of help but not getting it. I’m wishing that again. I also wish I had a better way of dealing with the needs I see around me. There are set procedures for students applying for funding but there are limited funds. Struggling helps build our faith in God to care for us. I truly believe this.

I guess the thing that I wish was different is how I feel. I wish felt in my depths the “right” feeling for dealing with the fact that I cannot meet the needs of those I really want to. And the balance of knowing how to help those I can. I have even been presented with very real needs outside of the students at Daystar, and ones that move me to tears for wanting to do something more than a month’s worth of groceries or paying half a month’s rent for them. It’s not solving anything long term. But I can’t really figure that out either.

I struggle too. I am not a gifted fund raiser. I can’t even get my own funding up to full support, let alone care for a refugee and her daughter who needs medical care. And the best I can do tonight is vent about it here. Maybe it will build my faith too. But tonight I’m just frustrated.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ten Years of Being Fatherless

Ten years ago today my dad died of a “rare liver cancer”. It largely remains unspoken but it seems that his years of alcohol abuse might have speeded his demise. That aside, God knows the days marked for each of us. As a teenager I wasn’t too pleased with my dad. I had admired him when I was little. As a young adult I forgave my dad and came around again to appreciating him.

When I moved to Kenya the first time in 1993 my dad was the most interested in the venture. To my surprise Dad wrote me letters and sent articles much more than my mom. I think that if he had felt well enough to travel he would have loved to visit me in Kenya. I even proposed it back then. But Mom told me he wasn’t physically up to it (even that early) to come this far.

Dad had a real zest for life. Far more than my mom, I am like my dad; more adventurous and interested in all sorts of different personalities. He was a great cook. Dad also had a love of sports and the great outdoors. He appreciated the artists in our family and promoted us whenever he could. His funeral was the day before Thanksgiving in 2000. It was standing room only because Dad had so many friends from clubs and volunteer work, neighbors and church members. It’s been a whole decade without him. I suppose I’m used to being fatherless. But there are times when I would sure love to talk to him again; ask advice on cooking or hear a story of when he was young.

As I was reading this week I just “happened” to come upon Psalm 10. The end of verse 14 talks about how God cares for the fatherless. It’s so true and I am thankful even while I miss my earthly father.

(My parents with a nephew around 20 years ago.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So Much I Could Say

But a couple photos will have to do for starters. If he was alive, my dad would be turning 84 today. We've been without him for almost 10 years.
When I was a girl, this is what my dad looked liked. He had a passion for life.
Here is Dad on the farm as a baby with his parents. He was the firstborn of three.

I'll try to post some more photos soon. And tell you more about him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just a Few Photos of My Trip to Minnesota

I got to meet the new Lang girls!
Got to see David, and "old" friend I haven't seen in ages!
The Runion Men
The Paulsen family - they had been teaching at Daystar earlier this year for 5 months.
Kathy and the little guys, August and Andreas
Josie in her art studio - too cool!
Jones kids!
Jones girls love to dance! They will fit in just fine in Africa.
Breakfast the Birchwood Cafe with Jennifer and Paula
Holding the Piper Twins! What fun!
Hans with a stunned squirrel
Most of the "nieces" in the kanga dresses I made them (plus Iain).
Cheryl, Me and Sue at Faith Presbyterian, Minnetonka
Owen and Daystar exchange student, Karan at Bethel

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back to the Land of…

Brown eggs, roads teeming with pedestrians, dusty everything (and no daylight savings.)

I’m home. Most of the time I think of both Nairobi and Minneapolis as home. So I can say I’m home no matter which direction I go. Because of what seems to me to be the worst case of jet lag I ever remember having, I’m not doing as well in comparing my worlds as I did going the other direction. But just last night I was driving home from Westlands with a friend in the car. We had two buses zoom by us on either side while entering a round-a-bout.

It was scary. Thankfully I also thought it was funny. I’m pleased when I can laugh at what is often frustrating here, even more pleased when it comes naturally. I commented to my friend, “Is it worse than normal? Is it a full moon? Or because of Diwali?” She assured me that this was all very normal, I was just used to American driving and jet-lagged.


Non-the-less, I love this place. It’s good to be home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Definitely Suffering Jet Lag

I arrived back in Nairobi safely about 48 hours ago. I had absolutely no jet-lag when I landed in Minnesota 6 weeks ago. It’s never happened to me before. Not so with the return. I’m just propping myself up for a bit longer to try to straighten out the fatigue.

I’d like to take a poll. For those readers that have done some international travel, what do you think it most challenging going from east to west or vice versa? Or is it harder going away from home, or back home? What about north south?

Weigh in, let me know. Please identify yourself if you are a new commenter.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nearly Ready to Fly

I'm setting off to return to Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon. It's been great catching up with so many folks. And a bummer missing some of you. Please keep up with me over email, this blog, Facebook, Skype or even real letters. I'd love it!