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Thursday, 15 March 2012

March 2012

Masai-Land, Kenya Sunday March 4th

Jennifer, Joshua and I left Nairobi early Sunday morning March 4th, and headed out of town to Masailand.  This is a beautiful area of Kenya, on the edge of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, about an hour and half from Nairobi’s town center.
Jeremy and I. He is interpreting into Maa, the
Masai Native tongue. 
A view of the outside of the church. Gotta love the kids!
Since 2008 we have had a good friend out there, a young msn named Jeremy Saloji. Jeremy is a member of the Masai Tribe.  The Masai are the most well known of Kenya’s more than 40 tribes.  In fact, it is widely accepted that the Masai are the best-known tribe in all of Africa.  One of my favorite qualities of the Masai is the tenacious hold they have on the old, pre-colonial way of life.  Many changes have come in to their culture, but they hold on to many of the old ways of life.  I find it to be refreshing. The Masai are pastoralists; they keep sheep, goats, and cattle and they are nomads, following the best grazing for their animals. The Masai are sought after as night watchmen.  They are known to be fearless protectors of their animals.  They carry a sword on one side of their belts, and a hardwood club on the other called an orungu. Always in hand is a shepherd’s staff. 
We have been good friends with Jeremy and his family since we met in 2008.  Now, having moved here, our friendship has deepened.  We spent several days with Jeremy in December delivering Christmas Hampers to some very needy families who are part of the Masai community.  This led to an invitation to visit their church this month. 
 The Ladies Choir.  Most of the ladies are in traditional
Masai garb. 
What a privilege to share God’s word with these precious people, and what an awesome experience to worship together with them.
What I took away from that Sunday with our Masai friends is this observation.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of who Jesus is and what He did for us, it crosses the boundaries of time, geography and culture.  It touches that place in the human heart that only Jesus can touch. 
Here, on the other side of the world, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in a tin roofed and tin walled church, I am worshipping with family.  As I share the story of the prodigal, and we all marvel at the grace and love of the father, these precious Masai believers sit and listen intently with tears rolling down their cheeks.  His love, His peace, it touches hearts across the boundaries of culture. What an amazing and encouraging day.

The Children's choir.

The view from the church. Beautiful.

A meditation from God's Sanctuary
I recently took up walking the dogs in an urban park, called Karura Forest.  It’s a beautiful sanctuary from the crowding; the hustle and bustle of very busy an often-loud Nairobi! This is as much a time for me as it is for the dogs.  They get to run off of their leashes.  I get much needed exercise and peace and quiet.
On a recent walk I was stopped in my tracks by a new super-highway! In fact, as I looked up the trail, I could see several new super-highways! The traffic was thick, bumper-to-bumper in fact and you could see how the forest floor was being impacted by all this new traffic.  I was intrigued, so I got down on my hands and knees for a closer look.  Yes, I said my hands and knees.  These new super-highways that I had never seen before were in fact ants! I have seen many ants in my time, but nothing like this.  It was amazing to watch the progression! Thousands and thousands of ants, on the move! They moved in perfect order, carrying little burdens of leaves.  It was just incredible.  I watched them for some time.  And there were at least 10 such “super-highways”! These pictures aren’t the best quality, as they are taken on my blackberry, but I wanted to try and capture the moment.
The Ant Super-Highway
Since making Africa our home, we have travelled to the corners of Kenya, and we have even had a road trip in Ethiopia.  I have spent a good bit of time marveling at creation! I have stood at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Kenya, I have balanced on a narrow ledge overlooking a volcanic crater and marveled at the forest now inhabiting the ancient and fertile bowl left behind. I have looked out over the vast Serengeti Plain at huge herds of Wildebeest, and I have been wowed by the largest of Land Animals, mighty bull Elephants with Massive tusks.  I have been within meters of the always-graceful Giraffe, and stood a few feet away from Rhino and Hippo’s.  I have even swam in the Indian Ocean and marveled at packed schools of colorful fish of various size and hue.
All of these things are big.  Some of them are huge.  And each of them caused me to pause and wonder at creation.  But I tell you; these tiny ants were really an amazing sight to behold.
I was on a stroll, taking time out of a busy schedule to slow down a bit. It was quiet with only the sounds of nature, wind rustling the leaves, birds singing, monkeys chirping and howling, and occasionally the dogs barking at some new discovery.  It was being relaxed, enjoying creation and slowing down that allowed me to see these “little things”, and be amazed at them.  In my regular routines, when all walking is about the destination, in the busy-ness of life, I would have walked right over this discovery.  Even if I did notice it, it would have been at best a glance.
Proverbs 6:6-8
 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
      Learn from their ways and become wise!
 7 Though they have no prince
      or governor or ruler to make them work,
 8 they labor hard all summer,
      gathering food for the winter. 

I guess what I am getting at here is that its not always the big things that matter, its not always the big things that should capture our attention.  There is plenty to wonder at in the little things.  There is amazing detail, incredible design, and really cool cooperation. 
This simple lesson that I was struck with from creation can have real application in our day-to-day lives as well. Sometimes in the pursuit of what we think are the big things  we can crowd out some very important and very significant little things.  Maybe moments with someone we love, a spouse or a child, that just pass us by because we are so focused on what we think are big things. 
I think if we let enough of these significant little things pass us by, they can add up to missing out on having a life, because we are too busy trying to make something of our lives.  When its all said and done, and we look back on our times, it’s the little things that add up to something very big!