Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Reality on the Ground

After a few days of denial and just not sure how to proceed, the reality of closing down life in one place to exit started to kick in – that was Monday.

My main daily tasks are any one to five of the following 6 things:

  • Inventory and pricing of items to sell.

  • Networking for ministry opportunities in East Africa (or farther afield).

  • Packing and sorting - making tons of decisions on what to keep, sell or pitch. (Some of this is urgent as I learned of folks going to Minneapolis that could take a couple bags. They left last night.)

  • Finishing up some work related tasks, like figuring out how and then shipping three 6-8 feet carved giraffes to Arizona for an auction.

  • Planning a quick trip out of the country over Easter to buy a little more time to pack up & say good-by.

  • Booking appointments like car repair and dental visits.

I have found myself rather scatter-brained this week in an almost frightening way. Distracted might be a good description of what’s happening. No matter what word you use it’s not safe for driving in Nairobi traffic nor is it really productive for getting all these different things done. Never mind that as soon as word is out, people are asking you what you have for sale and trying to bargain with you for it.

I can’t forget to mention that networking and this trip out of the country can be related. So I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone. That might not really happen, but I’m trying.

I am normally a very decisive person, but put me in this kind of situation and suddenly it’s much more challenging to “pick one,” especially if there isn’t an obvious choice bubbling to the top.

If you are inclined to pray, I’d sure appreciate it; for safety, for clear mind, for sleep at night. (I lost at leave half a night last night.) There is absolutely no way I can control this exit process, even though I would like to and it may sometimes seem attainable. I need the peace that passes all understanding to navigate this season. And this is without even thinking about the season that starts when I arrive in the States.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plans Change, God Doesn’t

A chapter is closing for me.

My missionary Class E work permit was finally denied at the immigration office. The other type of permit that Daystar could apply for is super cost prohibitive. That means that my time in Kenya (for now) has come to an end.

I don’t have any idea what God has in store next. But I can tell you that I will be coming home in May or early June and staying there for the foreseeable future, working in the Daystar US office in Edina. If you are inclined to pray about my future – please do.

The sky seems to be the limit right now. I have strong interests in staying in this part of the world so before I leave I will be doing as much networking and checking into future ministry options as I possibly can. But I’m open to seeing where God might have me elsewhere.

More details as they come to light. Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easily Amused

You’ve probably heard enough about ‘fashion’ from me here, but it’s a constant that never ceases to amuse me.

The rains have started (take a moment to thank God for that with me) and we’ve exchanged the ever present dust for pervasive mud. (Of these two I cannot tell which is a better problem to have, they both have advantages and disadvantages.)

Yesterday morning I went to pick up a friend in a housing estate that has all dirt roads and now some pond-size puddles. I wished for my camera as I made the first turn off the main road. The first stretch of road – about two blocks long has dukas (small shops that sell various items, like vegetables or convenience store items) on either side of it. As I made my way finding the shallowest puddles I saw a man step away from a duka smoking, it was wearing flip flops and shorts and a jacket – it was a chilly morning. I smirked as the sight.

Almost no one wears shorts in this country (well, tourists do) and certainly not in this “cold” weather! But the sight made me think of what some Minnesotans might look like when the weather starts to get into the 40s after a long winter, but it wouldn’t have been surrounded by dukas and huge mud puddles.

I guess you had to be there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Randomly Missing My Mom

Sometimes it bothers me a little bit that I get so sentimental about missing my mom, but then I realize it's because she was the one person in this life I was ever closest to. (Not sure that's good English.)

I'm relaxing at home this evening and listening to Van Morrison. He has a hauntingly beautiful song that I really like. But today it brought pouring tears because I realize that I do sometimes feel like a motherless child - so far from home.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Long way from my home

Sometimes I wish, I could fly
Like a bird up in the sky
Oh, sometimes I wish, I could fly
Fly like a bird up in the sky

Sometimes I wish, I could fly
Like a bird up in the sky
Little closer to home

Motherless children have a hard time
Motherless children have a, such a hard time
Motherless children have such a really hard time
A long way from home

Sometimes I feel like freedom is near
Sometimes I feel like freedom is here
Sometimes I feel like freedom is so near
But we're so far from home

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
[Incomprehensible] sometimes I feel like, motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Long way from home

Sometimes I feel [Incomprehensible]
Sometimes I feel [Incomprehensible]
Sometimes I feel [Incomprehensible]
But we're so far from home

The sound of the music captures the feel so well. Give it a listen if you are able.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“It’s good to make them cry”

I’ve been so quiet.

It’s not as if my brain doesn’t still power through topics to share here while I’m driving. I just can’t possibly write and drive at the same time.

I have been working diligently on our student semester reports. We have about 50 students on our regular scholarship through Daystar US and another I-don’t-know-how-many on “private” scholarship through our US office. I try to gather the students at one time and have them write out their answers to 5 or 6 questions about how the last semester has gone. But in some cases, especially for foreign (from other African countries) students it’s a bit like pulling teeth. It’s challenging and frustrating and sometimes very telling and rewarding – all at once.

There is a meeting scheduled tomorrow at which I hope to talk to them about taking better responsibility for their scholarship. Some ownership and some gratitude for what they are being handed. Frank, my office mate tells me, “It’s good to make them cry once in a while.” I think what he’s saying is that it’s good they know how serious things are. And I hope to help them see that it’s time to grow up a bit.

I don’t want to make anyone cry. It’s not the point. But I do want to do my part in helping our students mature in the servant-leader men and women God is calling them to be.

Here’s to hoping the next round of semester reports are a little easier to go through. And I hope they show up for tomorrow’s meeting!