|Nairobi traffic chaos|
But on the other hand, if you chose to ignore the street beggars and one of the biggest slums in Africa, the standard of living for many people seems to have gone up a notch: new buildings springing up, newer cars on the road and new shopping malls popping up around the city where you can buy pretty much anything. One thing I can’t get used to is browsing the book section within a supermarket and finding Christian books for sale. At the check-out of a clothing store, equivalent to the likes of M&S, I found copies of an illustrated children’s Bible! And in the doctor’s waiting room the TV screens were showing God channel- type programmes. One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 29 years is that there still seems to be some respect for the Christian faith. That respect may only be on the surface for many people, and I do wonder how long it will be there, but at least there’s still a general acceptance of Christianity that often catches the visitor to Kenya by surprise. What a contrast to the UK!
Our base during this time has been AIM’s Mayfield Guest House, a place of ‘comings and goings’ as various missionaries stop to refuel (spiritually, physically and mentally!) as they make their way here and there. It’s been fascinating to hear the various stories and catch a glimpse of what God is doing in lives around this vast continent. We’ve met up with AIM staff at the Eastern Region office and visited a Kenyan friend that Steve worked alongside whilst leading a Tearfund team back in 2004. We spent an afternoon on safari in Nairobi National Park doing a spot of birding and where we also had a close encounter with a rather hefty white rhino! Yesterday we attended a service at Nairobi Pentecostal Church where over 3000 people clapped and sang in unison as part of a very well organised communion service – just imagine washing up those cups after the service!
One of the highlights so far though has been a visit to an Africa Inland Church project called the Kajiado Child Care Centre, based about 40 miles from Nairobi. An AIM friend from the UK was working there for a month and encouraged us to visit. Those in the AIM family will know the name Colin Molyneux and you’ll be able to make the link when it comes to Kajiado and off-road wheelchairs!
|Esther in her adapted wheelchair|
It was an inspiring day, especially as we were able to meet a wonderful Christian man called Daniel, who had grown up at the centre as a child suffering with polio – and who is now its Managing Director! We also spent time playing with the children, some of them wrapped up in their balaclavas, and others bravely battling their various disabilities. The teacher was more than happy for us to spend time in the classroom although we’re not sure we contributed much with our ‘stick-men’ drawings and faltering Swahili, but we certainly came away feeling blessed! If you would like to know more then please take a look at their website: www.aick.org.
So, we’ve tried to do as much as possible during our enforced stay in Nairobi and although it’s been a tad frustrating not being able to ‘carry out the plan’, we’ve made the most of our own Nairobi-based orientation course! On Thursday (8th) we begin our six-day LAMP course (Language Acquisition Made Practical) and this will hopefully set the scene for our 3 month Swahili course which begins in Tanzania on 24th August. We hope to leave Nairobi and fly back to Tanzania a week on Friday (16th).
Thank you once again to those of you who have prayed for us; for Ruth in particular at this time. We’ve certainly felt that support and appreciated the many emails we’ve had along the way. As serious as it was, we’re thankful that Ruth’s health issue wasn’t any worse and we’re thankful for the excellent medical care that she has received. As from Thursday, we hope to be back on schedule but, as we’re finding out in Africa, never hold too tightly to a timetable and trust that He knows better! We hope to be in touch in September – God bless.