We started writing this post when we were flying at 37,000 feet looking down on the snow-capped Alps on our way to Nairobi. It’s been a long time coming but the day of our departure eventually arrived. (Mark: I’m not completely sure that I really believed it would actually happen, but it has!)
We didn’t want to leave, but we did want to go – so we have said our goodbyes to friends, family and church.
What a blessing they have been! Over this last week in particular we have had more help and support than we could possibly have imagined – kind emails and practical help: taking furniture to those who needed it, moving stuff to store, providing us with delicious meals and putting us up over the last few days when our last two chairs and mattress went elsewhere. And finally taking us to the airport – perhaps that was to make sure we actually did get on the ‘plane!
It reminded me of the saying, “See these Christians, how they love one another”*
We had a great flight and it was amazing to see this sunset over the Sahara – you can just make out the Nile in the foreground.
Arriving at the airport we were pulled over by a stern-looking customs officer who was about to search all our bags, but, when he asked us our reason for being in Kenya, we replied, “To do voluntary missionary work with Africa Inland Mission”. He said “In that case you are doing God’s work. You are very welcome here” and he waved us through. We tried, with some difficulty, to imagine such a response from a UK customs official…
We are mindful that we are just two of 20+ new missionaries with Africa Inland Mission arriving in Nairobi for a three-week orientation course. AIM staff collected us to take us to the AIM Guest House where we are staying for the first 3 nights, and here is a photo of us arriving there at midnight with all our luggage.
Yesterday, we had a welcome lunch at Tumaini, the counselling centre where I will be working. It was lovely to see staff we already know and to meet a few new members of the team. (We understand that there are many reasons for the interminable traffic jams in Nairobi, but we had to time our journey to Tumaini so as not to get snarled up in the jam caused by people leaving church services each Sunday!)
First impressions? We are already beginning to pick up from when we were here in 2011, though two and a half years of UK-time have passed in the meantime. And it feels ‘right’ to be here.
On the transition:
• Three hours time difference: not much really
• 4,300 miles by ’plane: quite a long way
• Cultural difference: much further (and intriguing!)
For those of you who are the praying kind, please pray:
• giving thanks for a safe and trouble-free journey
• for all the new missionaries, including ourselves, who are going on the three-week orientation course from this Tuesday, 14th January
• that we would be interested, gracious and loving towards those whose home is here in Kenya
• that in time we would also come to be at home in Nairobi.
* Quote from Tertullian, 2nd Century AD (I believe)