Update on Kenya: “A Kenya Redrawn” – NYT article

We will soon have the luxury of packing our suitcases. Renee and I are preparing to head home for an early furlough. I’ve booked tickets for March 7th, and we’ll arrive in New Jersey the next day. And so, we are packing up a bit, which I realized today, is something to be thankful for. In Kenya the number of displaced or uprooted has reached 600,000. Most of them have fled with nothing. Some watched their homes and livelihoods go up in flames, and some simply ran with no time to pack a single bag for the journey. The country sits in a suspended state. Violence has mostly quelled as Kenyans wait and watch to see what international peace talks can do to bring Kenya back to where it was only two months ago. Life is semi-normal, except for the mass redistribution of ethnic communities throughout. The economy is suffering greatly, and more tragically, many of the poorest Kenyans along with it.

It seems wrong to leave at such a time as this. I am so used to running (or flying rather) into the trouble spots, instead of away from them. Our departure has nothing to do with Kenya’s situation, however. We are landing in New Jersey because my dad is there. He’s been recently released from the hospital and continues his cancer treatments as a very fragile out-patient. I think there are literally thousands of people praying for he and my mother right now. All of us hoping for dad to stay on top of the leukemia. And dad, not surprisingly, just wants to get back to the ministry… his heart far stronger than his body.

Over the past two months we have followed dad’s struggle from afar. With a flurry of emails and scratchy Skype calls home, we’ve been able to stay informed. But his illness is still so far removed, and I do not think the reality of it will hit us until we see him again. In some way, dad will be unrecognizable. But not entirely. I wonder if Kenya will be the same way to us when we eventually return.

Right now, we can see only a few months down the road. This is true for Kenya as well as our lives. As a pilot, I’m accustomed to always having a plan and a reasonable alternate in mind. So, this is new and unsettling territory. But for Renee, a professional suitcase-packer if I’ve ever seen one, the thought of going here or there on a moment’s notice is some kind of grand adventure. I am far too “responsible” for such abandon. Renee just smiles that smile––the one she used to use on me when we were dating––and somehow draws me into her fabulous plan. “Let’s just trust God.”

(I’m so lucky to have her.)