Before I left for Kenya, I was conversing with a friend about homesickness– that awful, sick, anxious feeling that comes into our bodies and hearts when we miss home and all that is familiar and knowable.  We long for something or someone to soothe us.  Perhaps we first experience homesickness when we leave home for the first time, be it summer camp, a sleep over, going away to college, moving to a new town or traveling to a new place.  And maybe, just maybe, it comes when we have to say good-bye to someone we love. Honestly, for me, that is the worst kind of homesickness.

In the preparations for my tenth trip to Africa, I was somewhat startled to find that familiar feeling creeping in and causing me to question whether I should go. And yet, the minute I landed in Nairobi, breezed through immigration AND customs (they didn’t even go through the bags I so carefully packed!), stepped outside into the acrid smell of Nairobi, and saw my dear deaconess sister Mary and driver Rufus waiting for me—well, I knew I was home. Even driving through the crazy Nairobi traffic with fits and starts, the blaring of horns and screeching of brakes, and the seatbelts that don’t quite work—it all made me smile.

Kenya has been the place where mercy unveils itself one person and place at a time. In this place I have witnessed poverty and suffering in ways I had never imagined, and yet also experienced joy beyond belief. Africa was the place where I came home to myself as God’s beloved Child. I heard His voice in the singing of the Kenyan Deaconesses as they entered a mud hut to visit someone sick or lonely.  I felt His touch, and His wounds, as I held hands with a destitute widow, a young child infected with HIV, a mother dying from AIDS, or a deaconess in despair because her husband suffered from severe depression and hopelessness. In this suffering, I entered into the holy place and encountered an immensity of God’s Love that still stuns me.

Proud seller of vegetables in Kawangware slums…I’m still pondering the logo on the T-shirt.

As bleak as this home looks, there is beauty gracing it’s entrance

Visiting a beautiful family in Kawangware slums…a widow with 3 kids

Always Mercy,

Pamela

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrod, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

via Always Mercy https://ift.tt/2ub4EUG