There’s a movie that I watched on the 18 hours of air-time flying back to Nairobi from Edmonton, Alberta called “Inside Out”. It personifies the different emotions that make up our personality. It was great timing to watch, because I think we’ve hit all those emotions in our transition back … joy, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness.
We landed into Jomo Kenyatta at 9:00PM Friday, an hour earlier than scheduled. Great, right? Joy! Then we entered the immigration line and waited… and waited … and waited …and the realization that we’ve departed not just from America, but also from the quick pace we had become accustomed to, seeped in. As sheer exhaustion set in, joy faded. We just wanted to get home.
A new day brought new energy – JOY with lying horizontal for a full night’s sleep, or at least 5 hours, and reconnecting with old friends and meeting new team members that arrived while we were in America.
It’s an interesting conundrum to re-engage in a third world country again. Nairobi hasn’t changed much, except I really think the potholes have gotten worse. Traffic is as crazy as ever, and to try to increase efficiency, some round-abouts and turns have been closed (and really confused our GPS that is doing its best to direct us where we need to go).
The fumes of exhaust and wood smoke burn our throats again. Monkeys walk tight-rope over power lines and slide down the slide (true story!). Our mornings start with hearing Muslim chanting from the mosque down the road. As I was walking to see a friend in another neighborhood, a man who was inebriated (I think) and staggering past me suddenly realized he had passed a muzungu (white person) and quickly turned to try to get my attention. I smiled and continued on … my white skin stands out again.
Many times in this last week, I smiled and continued on, refusing to let disgust, anger, or fear catch hold. I reflect on two years ago when we were seeing this all for the first time, and feel comfort that it’s not shocking this time.
Also this week, we received news that some of our dearest friends have experienced some trials since we’ve been gone and will be heading back to the States earlier than originally scheduled. Our hearts cried with them. We weren’t here. I think that might be one of the things about being a missionary that you can’t prepare yourself for … the desire to be with all the people you love at the same time. We’re thankful for the rich time we had with friends and family in North America, but a hole was left in our life here. Sadness.
Joel has had a whirlwind week of getting his flight details in order, studying for his Caravan tests (which he took AND PASSED!!! Friday), getting base checks done and back in the flow of AIM AIR. His endurance amazes me, but I guess that’s part of the reason God called him to be a missionary pilot. It’s not for the faint of heart.
This is our life, our mission family, our home. It FEELS like home. We can’t wait to get to Loki … another couple of weeks. We have conference next week, and then home to Loki. As Renee and Ian say, “Home is where the cats are.” Home means different things to different people, but for me, home is where I slip back into somewhat of a regular schedule. Home is where I breathe. Not that I haven’t been breathing, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
Through all the range of emotions in yet another transition, joy is by far the ruling emotion in all of us. We’re where we’re supposed to be. God has kept our hearts united in Him, to each other, and to this land.