Last month marked two years for us being in Kenya. I love these sort of “landmark” times in life. I’m a list maker and journal writer, and watching the passage of time is always a bittersweet amazement for me. In Facebook all of my memories that pop up are of landing here after evacuation, trying to figure out how to navigate Nairobi, feeling very lonely in the process except for a couple amazing Serge families who literally walked with us through it all, and having whiplash in our thoughts and hearts as we realized we could not go back in South Sudan – that the quick drive through town as we left in a hurry to get a flight out the next day was our only real goodbye to a place that had been in our hearts for 4 years, and the guilt at the relief of the truth of that to some degree – we didn’t have to go back. Several times in life I have thought, “This is the hardest thing we have ever done.” Then something comes along and tops it.
Still, landing in Kenya – despite the way it happened and the chaos that came emotionally for the next year – was one of the best things that has happened to us. Not the easiest, for sure. But I am learning the older I get that those two things don’t usually go hand in hand. It took a year of processing and counseling and another year of starting to allow ourselves to put roots here, but we feel like we finally have our feet under us. God made us (Shawn and I) for ministry – specifically church ministry. When we are in a church where we can use our giftings and love people, we thrive. And God has lead us to New City Fellowship here. From the beginning it was a job description for Shawn that couldn’t have been planned better. Now, with all the kids in school, I am starting to really love my job. This summer I get to walk alongside interns in a cross cultural church setting and introduce them to the beautiful, messy, broken, redeemed, hard, chaotic, magnificent walk that it is!
Our kids are thriving in a school that is not perfect, but is perfect for them. We are settled into a house that feels like home and is open to people at all times. There is a certain contentment in my heart – a place of settling – that hasn’t been there in years. I never pictured it this way, yet here we are. Almost daily I long to be closer in proximity to family in the States – especially John as we watch him grow into an amazing young man from a distance. But even in that I know and see His plan and love for each of us.
Life certainly isn’t A+B=C, is it? In the original plan for life on the field we would be in South Sudan with a large team of people – including kids that were all our children’s ages, teachers for them, and medical people to help us figure out those issues. That wasn’t what life looked like there, but it was still a time of beauty in many ways and I am grateful for it. And Nairobi definitely wasn’t part of my plan – but I am so thankful it was part of his.