All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

OK, I WISH, all my bags were packed and I was ready to go.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Awaking at 4:30 on a Sunday morning and try as I might,
unable to go back to sleep. My mind on alert and captive to the to-do list in
my head as my body stumbles out of bed. My trip to Kenya is three days away and
evidence of what still needs to be done shouts at me from the breakfast nook,
my study, the guest bedroom. Piles of clothes, electrical cords, stacks of
papers, notebooks and the endless list, blink back at me and I find myself
retreating to familiar routines and rituals in order to gain some sense of
calm. I Inhale the scent of coffee brewing, toss in a load of laundry and let
the familiar rumble of the washer soothe me as I sit down to read, pray, write
and sip my café con leche. And it works!

As the panic subsides, what bubbles up is a deep sense of
gratitude. Gratitude for the first opportunity to travel to Kenya ten years
ago. Gratitude for the relationships I’ve developed during the many trips I’ve
been honored to make. Gratitude for new relationships forged here and all over
the United States as folks support the mercy work in Kenya. Gratitude for the
generosity that continues to flow from people, often in unexpected ways:

A friend from Oregon not only supports several orphans each
month in Nairobi, but also faithfully sends money each month for the mercy work
in Kenya. And this has been going on for years. 

A Bible study group in Kansas has been sending money for
over 5 years.

Many, many folks at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rocklin
where I serve, give generously and continually, including a quiet little girl
who handed me a sandwich bag of money, with a note that says, “Money for
Kenya”. I discovered this was money she saved from her allowance and it added
up to $26.12!

Friends from yoga, my writing group, my family and other
good friends, give of their time, love, support and money.

My good friend and travel partner Carrie Beth Bowin and her
foundation, For One Another, http://ift.tt/1olrRtr, donated 100 water filters
for this trip!  That’s a whole lot of clean water. 

Concordia Publishing House donated 30 copies of Visitation,
a beautiful devotional book, for the deaconesses in Kenya. 

A good friend colors me a picture to accompany me. 

So, when I get a little anxious about traveling by myself
(the first Africa trip with no travel companion), I am reminded again, that I
am never alone. Christ is always with me, and He often shows Himself through
the kindness and mercy of others. I think about what it means to be poor in
spirit– to go through loneliness and longing and how that can lead to
surrender and trust, and then I breathe a little easier. 

I leave on Wednesday, September 21 and return October 12.
During this trip, I will catch up with old friends and hopefully make new ones.
I will have a day or so in the slums of Nairobi, then off to the rural area
where I will teach deaconess students at the seminary in Matongo. Then I will
also lead a seminar for about twenty of the deaconesses of the ELCK.  After that, some time to visit friends and
follow up on projects. 

And, I am happy to report on this Monday evening, my bags
are mostly packed, including the two boxes containing water filters, books and
teaching materials. Many thanks to my ever patient husband who secured the
boxes and fashioned a handle out of rope to make it easier for me to carry.

I guess I am not completely alone….my trusty travel companions who go with me each trip.

Always Mercy,

Pamela

via Always Mercy http://ift.tt/2d7jGlY