I feel selfish when I say I miss Kenya at times. Here I am with an incredible husband, expecting a daughter, on the verge of owning our first home, and working in my dream career. Yet, there are days when I just ache for the countryside of Atemo with their maize fields and red clay roads. I wish Trav and I could pack up for a trip over there so he could experience a place that has captured a part of me.
I also feel bad when sometimes I think everything is just too "white". Seems silly, right? I texted my sister in law a bit ago to ask if she ever just needs to be around other ethnic groups ( in my case, African) and if she ever wants to roam inner city LA I am more than happy to join her :)
Thankfully it is when my heat is aching for the people of Kenya or when I feel that while I love my job and helping others in the medical field, I want to be amongst the lost and suffering, that God provides some way to fulfill that without sending me to the other side of the world. Right around Thanksgiving my in-laws hosted a night where they were providing a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless in Long Beach. What a blessing as it just happened to be at a time where I found myself longing to serve in a new way. Katie came along too and it ended up being a wonderful evening as we provided this community with a Thanksgiving feast. What I loved most was how they were served dinner at their seats. For some, I'm sure they may have never been served a hot meal or waited on in that way. I loved watching Trav interact with everyone there. From organizing in the kitchen to conversing with the homeless community while they ate just grabbed at my heart. While others passed out food my mother in law and I manned the kitchen, preparing more food or filling plates. It was such a joy being able to share moments like this with family and to know I married into a family who all have hearts for helping others.
At the end of the night we were all cleaning up. I heard my name called and I turned around to see Katie with these two adorable African American toddlers I had been eying all night. One of the little girls was leaning through the window with her arms stretched out my way. I did not hesitate to drop what I was doing and go scoop her in my arms. For a few minutes Katie and I had time with these two girls as we passed them between us. It was just what I needed to fill that hole although I did want to take those sweet girls home with us.
That night I loved watching Katie serve in person. If you know her you know she has a heart of gold and changes lives wherever she goes. But usually I hear of her ways of service through stories, or blogs, or pictures from mission trips. But that night I witnessed it in person and was in awe. I watched as people came to her. From finding a family who often helps during these dinner Katie made sure they were welcomed by all and as much a part of our little group serving as we were. The little girls clung to her side and gazed at her with big eyes. I watched as she served dinner to the homeless community with a big smile and kind words. People responded when she was around. It was as if each person she passed by she touched in some way, leaving a little bit of light around their darkened lives. I also watched as she stood back at times and took in all in. I'm sure her writer's mind was racing with what she was feeling as she stood in their midst. It was such a special night and I look forward to going again with the Hardeman's church.
God used another family to show me a little bit of Africa. Many of you know the Brinks and there incredible adoption story. Their journey to Uganda, meeting their son, hurdles they jumped through, bumps in the road, and their journey home are living proof that our God is BIG and when something is in His plan He will most certainly guide the way. Following their journey through conversations, emails, and reading their blog was incredible to say the least. There were a few times she would write about Ugandan culture or post pictures of the city and I could envision myself back in Kenya with the people, "Kenyan time", the crowds everywhere, and the difference in lifestyles. They are home with their son ( Praise the Lord) and as I gazed at him wanting to kiss his soft cheeks I was flooded with memories of the precious children that came through our clinics. I was fighting back tears because here was one of those children right in front of me in a loving home with a huge future ahead of him.The Brinks are special people with having hearts for the lost children, the ones that may never experience what love is, and have been given a huge gift of a son who is now a member of one of the most loving families I know.
Our baby girl was given one special gift. One that will sit out in her room and will hopefully spark some good conversations at a young age. Her first doll straight from the heart of Uganda :
While I often search for a little piece of Africa, Baby H is going to have one with her from the moment she comes home. Maybe one day when she is old enough we will head back to Kenya as a family and I can introduce my daughter to some of the most incredible people I've come across. Until than, Trav and I will be open to the Lord giving us ways to serve right here. And pretty soon, taking our girl along with us!