Funny how that works.
Being born and raised in Canada, I’ve always loved the quiet beauty of the land and people. National pride for those qualities that are … Canadian. They’re hard to write on paper, but are written in our hearts and how we see/live life. So when I left Canada to work in the U.S. (totally thinking it would be temporary), I was sure I would never love Americans the way I love my native homeland. I was wrong. 23 years later, tears roll down my face when I hear the American national anthem, and I pray with all my heart for this nation. This not only is the homeland of my husband and two children, but in my heart is my home as well. My heart has swelled to adopt this nation as home. So much for thinking it was temporary.
Enter Kenya and the Turkana people. I saw pictures on Facebook of the ladies I teach Monday morning devotions to, and my heart wept. Two years in Loki, two months being back in the U.S.*, and my heart yearns to be with them again. I want to see their smiling faces as they greet me, hear more of their stories, and see our prayers being answered. Sorrow began to descend; then I smiled. My heart has grown again.
The thing I’m learning is the more I choose to love, choose to let people into my heart; the easier it is to love strangers. Strangers don’t stay strangers for long. They become friends.
I love how God works – binding hearts together in the most unlikely places through perfectly orchestrated encounters. Of all the things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, a growing heart to love the people God puts in my path is top of my list. Thank you, God. You knew.
*For those who are out of the loop, we emergently returned to the U.S. for a family emergency (Joel’s mom) and found out my Green Card status does not allow me to live out of the U.S. for more than 6 months a year. I’ve applied for a re-entry permit which allows me to return to Kenya and be allowed back into the U.S. with my Green Card status intact; and also applied for American citizenship. All paperwork has been filed, so I’m waiting for approval of the re-entry permit and an appointment for citizenship fingerprinting and photographs. Lord willing, we hope to return to Kenya within a few months.