As I type this, I am on a flight home from Nairobi, Kenya. My friend Alex and I spent four days speaking at the Enjoy the Bible Conference, hosted by River of God Church. Sunday afternoon, they sent us on a 2-night safari at Amboseli National Park, a stone’s throw from Kilimanjaro (the highest point in Africa). As I ponder the last seven days, here are the passages running through my mind…
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
Kenya is beautiful. To come out of our room and see Kilimanjaro in the morning sunlight is breathtaking. To see hundreds of zebras, wildebeests, elephants, hippos, giraffes, foxes, water buffalos and gazelles living in harmony was humbling. To feed a giraffe by hand and kneel down for a picture next to a cheetah frawesome! (That’s our family’s word for something that is both freaky and awesome.) To watch two female lions eye each other for 30 minutes, then come together in what can only be described as an affectionate hug is awe-inspiring.
God is an Artist with no equal.
I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The people at River of God Church are amazing. They labor hard for the Gospel. The love Jesus deeply. The pray with sincerity, frequency, and a passion I haven’t seen – sadly – very often in the United States. They worship with joy and reverence. They understand “community” and do it very well.
I saw the building they’re expanding and heard them dream out loud of the ministry they will be able to do when it is completed in 2020. I heard the sounds of hammers and trucks as I taught. I am in awe…and I know God will complete what He has begun! I am honored to call them “partners in the gospel.”
Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.”
I can’t tell you how many times Alex and I used the word “hospitality” after returning to our room each night. Every time we turned around, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were taking us somewhere new, telling us stories, or feeding us. And when they were done, they would feed us some more. Wow! I haven’t eaten that much food in a very long time.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
Three different times we were welcomed into a home. We met their children, ate their food, sat in their living rooms, ate their food, laughed together, ate their food, prayed together, ate their food (wink) and simply kicked off our shoes and “did life” together. We were never rushed. An un-rushed conversation is a lovely thing.
Their greeting – whether at church or home or a store or on safari is “Karibu” (ka-REE-bu). Simply put, it means “We welcome you.”
Boy did they ever welcome us! I am flying home today with a full and grateful heart. And I am already dreaming of the next time I see a wide smile on one of my Kenyan brothers or sisters and hear Karibu one more time…