Friday, Aunt Shirley drove us around Nairobi, to a shopping area where we were going to meet with another director at AIM. On the way, we really got to experience some of the more rural areas around Nairobi. The poverty here was incredible, many many roadside markets, people digging through garbage, workers harvesting produce in the fields, people walking everywhere you looked. Where were they walking to? How long had they been walking? It seemed like we could be out in the middle of nowhere, not close to any town, but everywhere you looked you’d see dozens of people walking along the road.
We met with “K”, one of the directors of AIM, and had an incredible time with him talking about the work they are starting in North Africa, and TIMO (Training in Missions Outreach)- an intensive, medium-term, immersive introduction to missions. After our meeting with K, we visited the Masai Market, a big flea-market-like weekly market, and we grabbed several souvenirs here.
Later that afternoon, we hooked up with our friends, John and Joy Haspels. John lived next door to me at Sterling College, and Lesa and him had many missions classes together. It was great to catch up with him, and hear about the building project he is working on in Loki, northern Kenya.
That evening, Katie and I attended a worship concert at a big pentecostal church in Karen, near my aunt and uncle’s. It started out pretty slow and boring, a bunch of drawn-out, old American worship choruses. Katie and I tried to leave, but the monstrous downpour of rain must have prevented the cell phone signal from working. We were glad we didn’t, because as soon as the worship leader shouted something in swahili, the place erupted. Everyone jumped to their feet and started dancing, and it was the best 30 minutes of worship I’ve ever experienced in a language I don’t understand. It’s amazing that once they started singing in their heart language, the difference it made in the participation and engagement of the congregation.
I should mention something about the rain here. When it rains, it pours, and when it pours, the power goes out. I think the electricity must have gone out 4 or 5 times a day, and it seemed to be every time we were having dinner. Roger and Shirley were always prepared, with candles and UPS’s and battery powered lighting. I took the picture to the left during a lightning flash (it was dark outside at this hour), the greenish light in the kitchen is from a flourescent light that is powered by a battery that is charged by solar power during the day.
I also need to mention the Tumaini Counseling Center, where Uncle Roger and Aunt Shirley work, and live. It’s amazing, and I remembered as a boy helping pack the big sea container full of building supplies they were collecting when they were getting ready to build it. I’d grown up seeing pictures of the place, but wasn’t prepared for really how awesome it is, and what a professional facility it is. There are offices for the counseling staff, a large library, several conference rooms, and an incredible lobby (where Aunt Shirley is standing, in the photo on the right).
Outside is an awesome garden/nature walk. The photo on the left is the front of Tumaini, with Sydney being trailed by one of the dogs (everyone has German Shepherds here, it seems, as an added security measure!)