Ryan’s last update
Below is Ryan’s last update from Kenya. Ryan describes so much of how I experience the work in Kenya – 10,000 miles from home. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ryan and his family. I must admit I am not looking forward to my next trip without Ryan there! We worked so well together – we couldn’t be more different him young and me well you know old, we are different politically, etc. But, where it counted we are very much the same. We share a love for God, for serving and a believe that maybe just maybe we can make a difference. I would rise at 5:00 am with Ryan getting up right behind me. After sharing our morning coffee we began the work of the day. We shared our frustrations mostly laughing our way through them. And, Ryan loved Marsabit just like me! Imagine the most remote, difficult place to get to in Kenya and that was a place he loved and wants to return. When I was discouraged he would encourage me, when I felt we couldn’t do what we wanted to do he told me we could, when I doubted if I could even do this work he told me I could. I thank God that He in His wisdom knew it was time to have the help, strength and wisdom of a young man named Ryan. For that I am grateful. Connie
How It Works
John 12:25-28:”The man who loves his live will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father put your glory on display.'” (Message Bible) The last few grains of sand have settled at the bottom of my African hourglass. I look back on my trip and can see that each grain has come and gone with its own lesson and its own life. It has been these experiences that have brought meaning to a meaningless land, and life to a place where life is so dear. A grain for the red earth I have walked everyday, and a grain for the people I have met along the way. Grains for the injustices I have witnessed, but grains also for the Hope that remains. Three months ago I started this trip because, as my first letter explained, “I wanted to take a step of faith.” I wanted to see where my life would go if I walked up to my edge and then took another step. God would have to bless that courageous step of mine, right? I was hoping that, by stepping off my ledge, God would whisk me away toward untold grandeur and beauties. I have since realized this is not exactly how it works. “How it works,” has been a constant topic of conversation for me in Africa. How does it work that the eggs in the house are not refrigerated-along with the milk, jam, butter, and…yes, the mayonnaise? Every morning, there is part of me that expects to hear the chirps of freshly hatched chicks in our kitchen cabinet. For some unknown reason of logic, I still eat the scrambled eggs and drink the milk (I will die before I try the mayonnaise). Back to faith, if stepping in faith does not get you instant grandeur and beauties, then how exactly does it work? Much of my time in Kenya has been miserable in its passing. Strangely and assuredly, Africa has had the ability to make me feel utterly alone and but one in billions all at once. The days’ frustrations have made even the most mundane of tasks complicated. Most noble efforts have been made in vain. Even as I type this update, children starve, disease spreads, and evil works exponentially. Comfort is something always dreamed, but never obtained. Alone, frustrated, weak, and uncomfortable is what Africa has gifted me. These are the sands of my journey. Stepping out of your boat can be miserable. It can make you feel alone. The wind and waves leave you frustrated and weak. And there is no comfort to be found on the high seas. Faith brings fear, and fear is never fun. This is what we can expect by walking in faith. But there is some unknown reason of logic that catches our attention and pulls at us to leave our boat. The disciples thought it was a ghost-fear telling them to stay, God was saying “come.” Wind, waves, uncertainty, and fear are the environment in which God walks; do we want to come with? You might have been very surprised to hear that misery has been a constant grain for me over the past three months. It has attached itself to most days. But curiously, as I look at the collection of sand at the bottom of my hourglass, misery cannot be found. I look back on my ride and remember not the miseries. Grains of loneliness and insignificance have been replaced by the love of a God wholly distracted by me and by the wisdom of a God that authors the master plan. Grains of frustrations have been replaced by the perseverance flowered by faith in the God of renewing strength. And sands of helplessness and pain have changed into houses of shelter and rest. THAT is how it works. I read a quote the other day and it said, “You can expect two things when you follow God: You will be absurdly happy and in constant trouble.” Grains will fall that make you doubt and sink. Some grains will be full of fear or misery, but at the very moment you think too much, an arm catches you and says, “faint heart, why so little faith?” Your feet might be wet, but you’ve just walked on water. Surely a strange, but exhilarating process happens when you walk with God-the waves fade away, the wind loses its power, and you are left face-to-face with Jesus. I stand at the end of my trip and peer into the mound of sand at the end of my hourglass and see not the wind and the waves, but the arm that reached out. The arm of the One who commands the storm, and it obeys. *Because this is my last update from Africa, I do want to take the time to thank all of you for the encouragement and love you have given me. It was during some of my darkest hours that I would check my email to find uplifting messages from family and friends. Many times it would be these very emails that enabled me to spur on and continue the race. It has been a blessing to know that those who love me have made prayers for my well-being halfway around the world. Thank you. I cannot wait to return home and be re-united with everyone. I am longing to spend Christmas with my family, and have dessert with a nice glass of refrigerated skim milk that comes from a plastic jug… and not from a pan underneath the sink.
Ryan Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry