Well we are finally here. The trip was long and interesting but worth it. I really can't describe what it is like for me to be back among these great friends I have made here. Bishop Muriuki hasn't changed. God's vision for the church here as articulated by him is amazing as well as so comprehensive. It almost overwhelming because of the great need. Being back here has convinced me more than ever that this is the right time, the right place, and for the right reasons that we should be involved in this partnership with the Kaaga Synod of the Methodist Church here. I have only been here two days and I have already been so inspired and empowered related to what God is doing here. I will not try to speak for the others on the trip. I will let them witness to it in their own way. Yesterday I preached one of the churches near Meru. The place was packed with people outside the door. The service was 3 and half hours long and it felt like 30 minutes. The 40 member children's choir sang and I just can't even begin to tell what it was like to listen to them. They are all so welcoming and hospitable. I feel like I am with family when I am here. God is in this place in a way I have never experienced. It is such a mixture of inspiration, witness, faith, joy, thanksgiving, and great poverty and need. I am so excited our church is here. Our investment is distributed here in so many ways. Our dollars go so far to making such an impact and difference. I also believe our prayers are powerfully answered here in the ongoing work that is being done. I am so proud of our church for being willing to risk such an investment in a place and a people so far and so different from us. As I worshipped with them yesterday though I realized more than ever that they are indeed our brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we visited the biotechnical agricultural center. It helps to teach small farmers how to get the most production from the land so that they can be self sufficient. To know that the Methodist Church is doing such work among such poor people to help them to have a better life is awe inspiring. Tomorrow we will be working at a construction site and then visiting a passion fruit farm that was started with a micro loan from the synod. It has now grown to where it has made several families self sufficient. Families who before the loan were poor and didn't know where their next meal was coming from. This is the work of the church! Well as usual I have been long winded. I am now going to step aside and let Brittany say a word or two. Keep us in your prayers. We will be updating daily! We want each of you to sense and experience as much as you can what God is doing here from moment to moment. I miss you all and will see you soon.
-Hey guys! Wow, I don't even know where to begin with explaining how this trip has been for me so far! There is SO much to cover, and I don't want to say too much and spoil anything! So I'll just keep it simple ;). Well, today we did some manual labor stuff...and I must say, it was pretty primitive! I asked if they had machinery to do the things we were doing, along with the workers, and the supervisor said they did, but if they used the machinery, these people wouldn't have jobs! And what I did wasn't NEAR what the workers were doing. They mixed concrete with rocks, water, and shovels. That's it. And to level the area they were pouring the concrete onto? A hammer...to beat the rocks down into the ground and make them flat. It's hard to explain but you will better understand when we show you pictures. Either way, it took FOREVER and I learned a lot from it. I doubt that I will complain about doing any type of work very soon...or procrastinating. Anyway, this experience so far has be humbling in every sense of the word, and, funny thing is, it has only just begun. The trip up here turned us into monsters, but after a few days of rest, we have recovered...for the most part ;). Nairobi was an interesting place, and because it was a city, it was easier to begin adjusting. The trip to Meru was tiring because of all the things to see. The equator was interesting, to say in the least. Ask me about that later :p. We were welcomed to the Thiiri Cultural Center (Thiiri meaning "peace", the place we are staying) very warmly and oh my gosh, if only I could BEGIN describing how beautiful it is! This area is so lush and the colors are so vibrant! Yesterday was our first full day, and as exhausting as it was, it was just as magnificent. The church service is something neither I, nor Pastor Travis could ever adequately describe...but we can sure try. A few of the old men that work for the church all called me "Juju", meaning granddaughter in Swahili. It was always "Juju this.." or "Juju that..". Just the sense of family and companionship there was comforting and inspirational. It didn't matter that we were foreigners...we were one of them. They made us feel so special by their hospitality and graciousness. The children were absolutely fascinated with us! In fact, anywhere we go, they always give us big smiles and wave. It is the most precious thing! Anyway, this is pretty long so I'm going to cut it off for now, but, let me just say this...the presence of God in this place is overwhelming. I questioned some of the aspects of coming on this trip but now that I am beginning to experience Meru, those questions have been answered, in a plethora of ways. I am already in awe of the wonderful people and wonderful ways God influences their lives, and can't wait to see more of it within the week. Thanks for your support and prayers...we will update you tomorrow! It has been a blessing so far and I really do hope you all can at least try to understand what we are experiencing. Bishop Muriuki is incredible and I can't wait to see what else he has in store for us!
Love you all!