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Wilhelm picked us up at 9am.
I was dressed in my “mission trip clothes” and had my game face on.
Today was going to be the day that I fell in love with Kenya.

it didn’t happen

Wilhelm took us to The Junction {Nairobi’s version of a mall}.
We walked around looking for a place to exchange money and eat some lunch. We hadn’t eaten anything since our flight from Paris.
We had to walk through security just to get in the door.
They opened my purse, patted us down and then we went inside.
There were guards at every store, some with machine guns and some with sticks.
I kept looking at John and then looking around me and he noticed that I was struggling to take it in.

My heart was prepared for dirt floors.
For dirty laundry hanging everywhere.
For kids that were half naked and covered in bug bites.
People who couldn’t speak English.

not this

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Wilhelm wanted to show off his city. The city he loves.
And what better way to do that than to take us to the affluent part of town. The place where business men and women spend $30 for lunch and shop at their version of Wal-Mart.

It just wasn’t what my heart was expecting.
Nairobi is a hub for lots of international business. A place where new buildings are being built left and right and where traffic is a nightmare and a half.

But this girl from the states expected Nairobi to be like what you see in the movies. Or on Feed the Children commercials.

The sweet missionary couple who were staying in the guest house adjacent to us said to not judge Kenya based on Nairobi.
“Nairobi in and of itself is like city state and doesn’t represent accurately the rest of Kenya.”

John could tell I was discouraged. That my heart wasn’t “in” today.

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But as the day has worn on, I realized that I wasn’t fully accepting all that God had for me.
That He orchestrated this unexpected time in Nairobi.
That He wanted us to see the affluent parts so I could gain perspective.
That He wanted me to search myself and find the flesh in me that wanted to secretly stay here in the safe.
The protected.
The secure.

But we aren’t called to a ministry of security. A ministry that plays it safe and always uses the lighted sidewalks.
It’s good to spend some time there because it helps prepare us for the dark times.
The times where we rely on the faith we had when it was “easy”.

So, did I fall in love with Nairobi today?
No.
But I fell deeper in love with a God who uses all the things, including the safe and affluent, to change my heart.

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