Because of Kenya’s proximity to the equator, we do not experience the four seasons like we did in the United States. Instead, we only have wet and dry seasons. Right now, it is the dry season. Not only have we gone months without rain, but also the temperatures reach between 85*-100* each day. The land is barren, crops have died, and water is scarce. You long for a bit of shade or relief from the you’re your thirst is hard to quench. It has been a long time since I have written. Sometimes I do not know what to write. It is not as if we have not been busy. We have been incredibly busy, and there is so much that I could write. However, I feel as if I (Erin) have endured the dry season along with Kenya. I have been overwhelmed by what I see, smell, and hear.
I see children in rags collecting plastic bottles for just one more high. These children, who at age 8, are bound by addiction and lost-ness. I pick up meat from the butcher only to discover that there are bugs in the case with the meats. I smell burning trash and sewage when I drive to the grocery store. I hear the cries at a local orphanage of the children whose parents have abandoned them because they cannot care for them. I kiss their faces so that they may feel love’s touch. It is overwhelming. I hear a knock on our gate from a boy we befriended (and love) from our local slum. He is coming not only to greet us, but to receive a bite of something to eat.
Sometimes it seems that the life of the missionary is glamorous. You get to see new places, experience a new culture, and not have a “real” job. However, being 3,000 miles away from your family is hard. Learning a new language, which sounds nothing like English is hard. Being available for ministry 24 hours a day is a “real” job. Enduring the dry season, whether natural or personal is hard. I do not write these things for pity, but for honesty. Many people no matter where they reside experience dry seasons. Through loss and hardship, you can feel as if you are stranded in a desert with no direction in sight.
But then, today, something amazing happened. It rained. It was such a sweet sound after such a long period of silence. It was not a long rain; it only lasted for a few minutes. But in this time, I was reminded that God pours out his rain of love on us each and every day. There have been so many periods of his blessings poured out on us even in the dry season. He provides respite in our times in the desert.
I began to reflect on how the Lord had “rained” on us since our last blog post. We were able to travel to the United States to share Thanksgiving with our families. We celebrated Christmas with our Kenyan family, in a country that has become our home. On New Year’s Eve, we shared the gospel with 400 people in a rural village. We announced the arrival of our first child in January. In February, we took communion in a village that had never experienced this before. The Lord has poured on his protection on us. We have rested in his security in tumultuous times in Kisumu.
The Lord is faithful, and his faithfulness endures through all generations. We continue on in the work the Lord has called us to here in Kenya. Whether it is dry or wet, we forge a trail to remote villages or simply take a pastor to lunch in our city. We pray for a nation that desperately needs the Lord. We pray for its people that undergo unimaginable struggles. We pray for the serious persecution that our brothers and sisters are enduring in this place. We are thankful for those who have committed to visit us this year. We anxiously await those people who bring us joy, laughter, and a piece of our home from the United States. We are thankful for the rain poured out on us even in the desert.