Kenya Calling

11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
1 Thessalonians 3:11-12

The country of Kenya – a contrast of life. From the busy streets of Nairobi to the emptiness of the Rift Valley. From the lush, green tea fields around Kisii to the dry aridness of Lodwar. From the poverty and hunger of the children forgotten by life to the extravagance of the safari resorts. From the barrenness of Mutenkuar church to the fullness of the people’s hearts within the Mutenkuar church. Everywhere you look, there is a contrast of life.

And yet it is that contrast that attracts one. Compared to most people in the United States, the majority of the people in Kenya have almost nothing. We take for granted our roads, electricity, plumbing, a hot shower, and finding a fast food restaurant at midnight. Yet, with the roads that are worse than a farmer’s turn row, the guarantee that the electricity will be off sometime each day, probably 10,000 outhouses for every actual bathroom, and eating chicken or goat with rice and beans, if you can find some, and ugali each day, there is a happiness in the people that surrounds you.

And that happiness is grounded in a hunger for, and a trust in, the only One who has the ability to fulfill their needs – God Almighty. It’s the only answer there is when you try to explain why more than 100 people would walk in the mud and rain to an all-night prayer meeting. It would be difficult to find that much commitment to anything in this country, much less to God.

So every time you make contact with a Pastor Esther who refuses to give up in caring for orphans, a Pastor Jackson who has a heart for people, or a Pastor John who still loves the church he grew up in, you leave behind a piece of your heart with them. They, and so many others I could name, care for the people around them with a care simply based on God’s love for them, and for everyone. It really is that simple.

Not everyone can go to Kenya; not everyone even wants to go to Kenya. But it would be good if we all could live with the same joy.

The last day has come and now we all must go.
Returning to the family and friends we miss so.
Left here in Kenya are small pieces of our hearts,
With friendships renewed and some that we start.

Despite all the harsh darkness that one can see,
There’s a beauty that shines that can only be
The work of the Creator’s masterful touch.
That’s why the leaving seems to hurt so much.

Back home we will lie in our comfortable beds,
While the pictures and sounds play in our heads.
The music, the dancing, the smiles and joyful tears
Override the people’s doubts, frustrations, and fears.

We wish others could understand the things we saw.
That happiness doesn’t require that you have it all.
There are so many things we take for granted each day.
A family could survive there on what we throw away.

It’s what’s in their warm hearts that will always be
Etched in our minds, and remembered continuously.
The love of Jesus that they’re not afraid to show;
A love some in our churches won’t admit they know.

While a return to Kenyan countryside tugs on us all,
‘Tis not the people’s physical hunger that extends a call.
But their hunger for God’s love is the sound we hear;
A hunger that brings the presence of God so near.

We pray, God, that a return is within Your plan,
So for another day, we can see the Kenyan land.
And rejoice with our brothers and sisters so far away,
Yet through Your love, we grow closer each day.

© 2014 Charles A. Kalkomey
August 31, 2014