Who am I kidding? EVERYTHING has been different since we moved to Africa! I do want to share about our first Easter here in Kenya. It was definitely different, but absolutely a blessing!
First of all, we had some very special visitors from America. Michael’s parents came to spend a couple weeks with us and his dad would have the privilege of being able to preach while here. On Easter Sunday, we rode down the bumpiest road known to man to the IDP Camp. The IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camp was created after thousands of Kenyans fled their homes in the wake of political violence in 2007, and the United Nations provided temporary tents for the people. Our friend, John Karanja, a church-goer with no pastoral training, had a burden for these poverty-stricken people who were trying to rebuild their lives in a new place. What began as worship under a tree, is now a growing church with a building and a trained pastor.
A typical Kenyan service begins with about 45 minutes of singing (all in the local language at this church). We sang as a congregation some, and then every group in the church came forward to present. The worship team came, the children came, the men came (Michael and Mike were expected to join them), the women came (oh yes, Cheryl and I went up there. Our song had arm motions that we quickly caught on to!). John had Mr. Meshaw preach that Easter morning and it was a blessing to hear the message of hope in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Afterward, we went outside with the children to help pass out some things that were provided by generous donors. The children received Easter eggs filled with candy and then a meal was served to all. We had our first nyama choma (goat)! We ate what we could stomach, and then the Kenyans were happy to finish off our leftovers (some of them ate like they hadn’t had a meal in a day or so). After visiting with some of the adults and children, we said our goodbyes. It had been a full day and I think we could all say we had been filled to the top…filled with the blessings of worshiping our Savior on that special holiday, of seeing the joy on the children’s faces from receiving a couple of candy-filled eggs, and of sharing in a meal with these people who have so little and who, out of honor, were serving us first and giving us more than we needed.
Our kids were also able to have an egg hunt, thanks to a sweet RVA family who filled and hid eggs in their yard for us. The kids had a blast and Maverick ate most of his findings before the hunt was over!