Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Miss Booysen's going to Africa!"

I get to go back to Kenya for a few days. When I was in Iowa this summer, friends of mine asked if I'd lead their team on a return medical mission. I was thrilled to do it, thinking time is not a problem--I work part time. Right?

Not any more!

When the school asked me if I'd take on a full-time pre-K teaching position, I explained that I already had a commitment in October. They were gracious enough to understand. It turns out that though I'll be gone for 10 days, I only miss 4 school days. That's a God thing, really. It "just so happened" that this trip, planned months ago, is falling over two 3-day school weeks.

My little ones are excited for me to go to Africa. When one of the moms asked her daughter what I'll be doing there, she said, kind of in a moms-just-don't-get-it manner, "To see giraffes and zebras and lions, of course!"

So I explained to the kids today that I'm going to "help sick people." How else do I explain that I'm a part of a medical team but have no medical expertise. I'm going as a liaison, helping to facilitate meetings for some future projects (planning to build a clinic in the remote north of Kenya) as well as for ways in which the team's involvement so far can be maximized. (In other words, how can the clinic they funded in Kipkaren be self-sustainable?)

Until this morning, it really hadn't sunk in that I'm going.

I've been pre-occupied with getting things ready for parent-teacher conferences starting the day I walk back into class. And with finishing a Church History class. (Yeah! I'm another step closer to being Dr. Booysen!) And with working on the coursework for two other classes as well, one of which is the start of my dissertation.

Back to Africa, though.

So it really only hit me this morning that I'm going back to Kenya tonight...

Some things I am really looking forward to:
* Seeing my Kenyan friends, especially the kids in Ilula
* Catching up with my friends in Kipkaren, and meeting Allison and David's baby boy
* Telling the kids about life in Taiwan
* Spending time with God by the river in the mornings
* Watching the African sunrise and sunset
* Journeying with the team, helping them unpack what they're learning
* Spending the last two days in the Maasai Mara with the team
* Buying little gifts for my kids here, so they know I was thinking of them

Things I'm not looking forward to?
* Being confronted with overwhelming needs, and trying to discern where to help and where not to help

Each and every one of my little rugrats gave me the biggest hug this afternoon. "Be careful of tigers, Miss Booysen," my quietest boy said. It doesn't matter how many times I've told them that there are not tigers or bears in Africa.

I'll be careful.

But not so careful that I don't have fun. And not so careful that I don't discover unexpected surprises in unexpected places. By that, I don't mean a snake in the bathroom. 'Cause that might happen, you know? It's just the way it is when you're right by a river.

But the river brings good surprises, too.

I know it does. When I was praying about leaving Kenya last year, God kept impressing on my heart that I need to step out in faith, that as I cross the river before me, he will make my feet sturdy, and that he'll build the bridge as I walk.

He has done so indeed.

What a GOOD GOD we serve!

I'll try to post updates from Kenya, of course.

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