Jeff shared some of these same pictures and a few details on his Facebook page on Sunday and I was a little overwhelmed and could not put my thoughts down yet. Finally words and thoughts are coming together so I wanted to write it out and share it with y'all. Last week, Jeff told me that we would be going to the church in Tulumba that was recently planted under AFM. I agreed, but already had my doubts about going because Sundays are chaotic for our home (we have a church that meets inside our gate so we add 75+ people) so I hate for both of us to be gone. Saturday rolled around and I told Jeff I wasn't feeling well and likely wouldn't be going on Sunday. Sunday I woke up and felt like I had been ran over, we have some type of cold/flu but meds don't really help so it just drags on and on.
I decided I wouldn't be going and told Jeff that and went back to sleep because I was so tired. Honestly, everyone loves Jeff, he is outgoing and the front person or face of our work here. I'm way more behind the scenes and heard from less, but that's where I love to be. So I wasn't worried about going because what they really care about is Jeff, or at least that was my thought process. Suddenly, Karson comes in my room and tells me that Nickson said that I HAVE to go. It isn't a choice, Nickson said you are going to Tulumba today. If you know me, you know I don't take orders from many people. However, if something is that important to Nickson I should probably go. Nickson has gone above and beyond for our ministry and our family personally. Nickson has been working with us since we moved here. He's driven us to the hospital late at night in the cold rain, helped us move during our times of trouble and helped us take in most of our boys who came from the street. He would do anything we aked of him, so I should get up and go, but I feel terrible. So I ask Jeff "Do you REALLY want me to go?" and he says "yes" so I got up, got ready and we went. Thankfully Jeff had ironed my skirt for me (Jeff always irons for me 💜) so I was able to get ready quickly while still waking up.
We get to the church, which is just a small home we have rented and everyone is happily greeting us. Then we start church. Jeff gets up to teach and he teaches about when Mary poured the expensive ointment on Jesus' feet (John 12). While I'm paying attention, I'm fighting the tiredness, pain, lack of focus and somewhat wishing I could have just stayed home because I'm sure at least some of this is showing in my actions and reactions. Once Jeff is done I know we are nearing the end of service, which means lunch and I'm hoping lunch will give me a boost of energy and I will feel better.
A few ladies leave the room and I'm told they have something for me because they felt bad they couldn't be at my father's funeral. In Kenya, funerals are a HUGE deal. Everyone chips in something to make it all work and it is an all day event. Many people come and go all day and there is lots of food prepared. So the ladies come in singing and dancing and present us with flowers (the red garland you see around our necks), then they wrap me with a shuka and shower us with food. Beans, bananas, plantains, eggs and 3 live chickens. I was honestly blown away. We've lived here almost 2 years and we've never been celebrated or honored, which I am totally okay with because I hate being in the spotlight, but this was full of love and SO special.
Now I'm having all these thoughts of "I can't actually take this food", "Maybe I can just donate it back to the church and they can use it for Sundays", "Surely someone here needs this, I can't possibly take this.". Crazy thoughts I know because these gifts were given out of pure love, but I have an idea of how hard life is here. I will never fully understand just how hard it is, but I see so many others struggling. Some of the very ladies gifting me things are struggling right now. The pastor of that church rides his bicycle to and from church twice a week. He lives in our village and it takes 20 minutes by MOTORBIKE to get there. Some of the road conditions are terrible and he has a problem with one of his feet, but he makes it work. So yes I spent some time trying to figure out how to decline their beautiful gifts because how could I take from them when they were in need? Then I had a peace come over me and I knew I was just supposed to accept the gifts. If they couldn't have done that, they wouldn't have. They genuinely wanted to bless me and I won't even be able to ever explain to them how much they blessed me.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10
What I experienced on Sunday was genuine love. They quite literally poured love over me, something I didn't even know I needed. It is something that I haven't felt here in Kenya (outside of my husband, children and donors) at all. God is in the details of our life, He cares about the big things and the small things.