Friday, September 16, 2011

Last Post + 1

Ok, ok; I know my last post on this blog said it would be the last one in 2011 …. Sorry… the trip home and our arrival was just too good not to share with everyone. We are home now; and to see the smiling faces of family and friends can be likened to …well … to a little bit of what it must feel like to go to heaven. But let me back up a little.

Leaving our family in Kenya is always tough. Our home and family in Kenya is almost identical to our home and family in the U.S.A. Both contain precious people filled with the desire to serve God and love one another. They are separated by being located half way around the world from each other, yet, they are joined together at the heart.

Leaving one and coming to the other is a painful joy no matter which one you leave.
We wanted to take George and family ‘up-country’* to our Village; but they wouldn’t fit in our suitcases. 
(*the term ‘up-country’ in Kenya means the village in which you were born in.)

(Sigh…) Hopefully he will be able to come to the next Ingathering.

The drive from Nakuru was beautiful and passing the small mountain called “Sleeping Massai” always reminds us that we have begun the long journey home. The trip usually last at least 26 hours and during that time we get little or no sleep.

When, as was this trip, our departure time ends up being 3 am in the morning we have to arrange for George to spend the night in Nairobi as he doesn’t do well driving back to Nakuru in the night. Last time he drove back at night he hit a zebra! So we get him a hotel room to spend the night in and we crash there until 3 or 4 hours before we have to be dropped off at the airport.

Among the things we do when we get to Nairobi is to visit our favorite little gift store called “Zanzibar”. It’s run by this neat little old man who is the third generation proprietor of this gift shop.  It opened in 1936 by selling things made from Rhino horns and continues to the present day by selling curios from all over Africa. He has become a friend of ours and has the best prices in Nairobi for almost anything to take back to the grandchildren.

This time the store owner wanted to show us everything in His two story store. Here are some pictures of some of his favorite items.

This is one of my favorite carvings. It is made from the ebony tree and carved from one piece of wood. If it wasn’t so expensive to send back to the States I would buy it for 200 dollars and sell it for 2000 dollars back in the States.

After finishing our shopping we ate a lunch/dinner and walked back to the hotel room. Our flight to Istanbul, Turkey would not be leaving till 3 am in the morning. The flight is almost seven hours long and fortunately we had some extra seat room due to the flight not being full so we grabbed some ‘cat-naps’ till breakfast was served. As we ate breakfast we flew over the beautiful Black Sea. It was beautiful coming into Istanbul from the sea.

Arriving at the Istanbul International Airport we hit the ground running  because we only had less than an hour to make it through a gauntlet of security checks (there were at least 5 or 6) to get to our gate. If you had been watching us and all those people run about while trying to get to their gate (corral?) on time it would look surprising a lot like a cattle drive.

We and the rest of the cows were mooing and asking about the location of our gate of departure and everyone we asked, politely gave us the wrong directions. All the while the electronic signs said that our flight was giving its last call before taking off.It truly seemed like this would be a great time to panic!
Yet thanks to the prayers of the saints on both sides of the world we made the flight on time. Bwana asifiwe! (Praise the Lord).

The flight from Istanbul to Chicago O’Hare was almost 12 hours and again, as before, soon as we arrived we had another gauntlet to run. At your “point of entry” you must reprieve your baggage and try to get through both passports checks and customs before your next flight leaves. So there we were; watching with anticipation everyone else’s baggage go round and round on the conveyor.

 Finally everyone else’s baggage showed up with the painful exception of my two, so we continued to wait and watch. I highly suspect that some of the baggage handlers were peeking around the corner and watching me squirm. Finally when they saw I was sufficiently anxious, they allowed my two suitcases to be put on the conveyor. Was that laughing I heard?

Then it’s a quick sprint through the airport to the customs section and a brief cross country race to the trains that will take you and the rest of the herd to their final security check. If completed on time you and your appointed herd will qualify for the final leg of our journey and to the “promise land” of Tennessee.

Flying from Chicago to Memphis we passed some of the most beautiful cloud formations I’ve ever seen. But just as we descended to the Memphis airport, as if our wonderful Father was making a statement, we saw the most beautiful rainbow ever. It was as if He was putting His final blessing on the most fruitful and wonderful trip to Kenya yet.

We were met by family and friends to be whisked away to one of the most wonderful places on earth; our neighborhood.  Thanks again for all who prayed us safely back.

As I previously stated …. It’s really good to be home.

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