Thursday, May 01, 2008

Life Goes On

Arriving early Friday morning at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, the taxi was taking me to my friend’s house in Nairobi. My mind, of course, thought about that day, over thirty-years ago, when I first landed in Kenya. With my wife and two little girls, 5and 1 1/2 years old, the memory was, like all memories, bitter/sweet and sadly, it’s the bitter memories that cause an emotional stir.

There are certain things about the African culture that is difficult – the poverty, corruption and the sense that the people will never progress. One can blame these conditions on many things. The secularists will point to the World Bank, to poor education and tribalism. It’s no doubt some of these things are the cause of their lack of progress, but the underlying problem is a culture that is in its own prison of disobedience against God, which then translates into disobedience toward others.

The sweet side of my return is the fond memories of a house full of laughter when our daughters came home for their one-month school breaks to our home upcountry; the many dear friends that were and are today, a part of our life and ministry. But even with those good memories, a cloud of sadness creeps in when I think of the many friends I worked with who have passed on, though with a silver lining knowing that they are at rest with the Christ they served faithfully in harsh and difficult conditions.

As my mind wanders in the thick of the morning traffic jam, a matatu (mini van taxi) passes. On the back window a sign reads, Life Goes On and I am struck by the simplicity yet profundity of those three words. As the leaders of Kenya work through the healing of a bitterly contested election which resulted in riots, the loss of property and 1,500 souls, the people try to go work and eek out a living because life goes on. The great expectations of the past are renewed once again and people move guardedly forward, as they must, because life goes on. Knowing that when I arrive upcountry I will be inundated with requests from people who see me as a resource to solve all their problems here on earth I will no doubt disappoint a few and my emotions will range from sadness to frustration, but life goes on.

Life goes on, and it seems to go by so quickly. I started my journey in Africa over 30 years ago; I cannot hope to have that many years ahead of me. So, as we weave through the congested streets of Nairobi, I anticipate the week ahead for good and bad to come my way. There isn’t a lot I can do about it, as life goes on.

This morning another matatu drives by, for perhaps just my benefit, and on the back was written God Provides.