So many of you may think that I have completely disappeared, please don't worry. I am fine and very much alive. I have so much to share with you since we last talked I hardly know where to begin!
For those of you who are my facebook friends you may have noticed the many pictures from all over the place recently because that has been my life- all over the place! The 1st of April I traveled to South Africa for the Africa Missionary Conference where I had the privileged to get to know many of the missionaries representing throughout the continent. I cannot tell you how rewarding and inspirational this experience was as a YAV. It is so encouraging to see the church working through people and to learn about their stories and experiences. The conference consisted of many discussions about the plans for the mission in the church.
So after the week of many meetings the YAV bunch decided to stay an extra week in Cape Town to explore I mean really how many other opportunities would we get besides this one to go to the beautiful SA. Compared to Kenya and the little portion of Africa that I have seen, Cape Town is so different! There is orderly driving, pedestrians have actual cross stops and signs where cars stop for you, there are road signs people follow, and the malls are huge (when we went into the V and A on the waterfront I had to ask Nicole if it would be weird for her to hold my hand because my mind was blown at that time). It felt like Europe or I was back home it was so weird. We had a wonderful time exploring downtown. I think my favorite day was the afternoon after going to the District 6 Museum we traveled along the coast and stopped at a nice beach and ate delicious Thai food while watching the sun go down. All in all Cape Town was a blast and by then end we did not want to go home!
But sadly, we had to board the plane to Nairobi where we spent a couple of nights and then Will, Nicole and I decided randomly to travel to Mombasa. I mean you can't live in Kenya for a year and not go to Mombasa. So we hopped on a night bus and landed in the humidity the following morning. Mombasa is beautiful it reminded me of Zanzibar when I was there with my parents. The beaches are gorgeous and we made a few new rifikis at the Backpackers place we stayed at who we went snorkeling with. Then on that Saturday I decided to travel to Dar es Salam with Nicole to see where she and Gina live and work.
So once again got on another bus to Dar and stayed with their host family there. Dar is similar to Mombasa being on the coast with the beautiful beaches but with quite a bit more Swahili. I got to see the girls youth church and even sang in their praise band. We explored a bit of Dar and went to a beautiful beach on my last day there. Sadly I could only stay a short time because the office called me back to do some traveling for work. So I went on another bus ride from Dar to Nairobi- I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to look at your map of Africa so you can see how far this ride really is. It took 18 hours for me to reach Nairobi. The next morning by 11AM I was off to Kisumu another day long bus ride.
I must say though I have made some great friends on those long bus rides. On the ride to Nairobi from Dar a woman was picked up with a beautiful baby boy who only spoke Swahili (which by the way I am still learning). As she got on the bus with many bags as she was unloading her things I offered to hold her baby. I was sitting their and she was telling me all kinds of things who knows what she was saying because I could not understand her. I just asked her what her name was and a couple other basic things. We shared cookies and at the rest stop while I watched her baby she got me juice and some fried egg thing and we ate together. I do not think I will forget this lady and her generosity. She left before we crossed the boarder to Kenya and another young girl sat down and eventually we began talking. She is a 15 year old girl on her way to school in Uganda. She said that she is happy to go so she can try to make something of herself and help her brothers escape their abusive father. She has a dream to one day be an accountant and possibly go to school in the states. I told her to study very hard and one day maybe it would be possible. She taught me a bit more Swahili and gave me a rosery ring to remember her by even though I would not need anything to remember her by.
Once I arrived in Kisumu I was met by one of the Bishops colleges who was with his wife and daughters. We drove to Boyiani where the Africa Divine Church Mission is located. I LOVED the Bishop and his family! I had such a rewarding and amazing experience. The following morning I introduced myself to 400 youth at the Youth Conference then was shown around by some of the ADC pastors. I marched (sings and dancing along the road) with the youth after paying respects to the churches founders burial site back to the mission where the retreat was closed (by the Archbishop who I was staying with). The Youth Conference is an annual event the ADC church has and it continues to grow each year which was very encouraging. The Bishop asked me to stay the week rather than leaving on Monday as I had planed so of course I stayed. We traveled so much around the region and I got a feel for a few of their key programs in community development. It was a great experience and I now have another Kenyan family and I hope to visit them again before I head back home. Speaking of, can you believe it is May? When did this happen? Time has really flown by! I will tell you much more about this experience later and put up more pictures for you too!
I hope everyone is well! I am so encouraged to have emails and letters from the church! It means so much! I cannot wait to see everyone these next couple of months I am sure will fly right by!