A letter from Marta Bennett in Kenya
Dear loved ones around the world:
Greetings to you and joy as we proceed through Advent toward Christmas, anticipating the celebration of God’s incarnation in Jesus.
Celebration. In Kenya, celebration means food, community, music, dancing, prayers of gratitude, and votes of thanks all around. As I reflect back over the last few months, I think of many events of celebration, in various forms:
- The excitement of commissioning a team as our church launches a new church development in Meru, a town northeast of Mt. Kenya.
- A campus picnic day at Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST), a chance to take a break from Hebrew exams, ministry reports and leadership evaluations for moments for food, fun, fellowship and sport.
- The Christmas cantata at my children’s school;
- My home fellowship group (called E-group — for “ecclesia” or church group), pausing for a games night and potluck after 12 weeks of small-group Bible study.
- The weekly campus worship time, filled with music and dance.
- A Thanksgiving dinner gathering (on Friday night — at the end of a normal work week — with several Americans and many Kenyan friends).
- Birthdays! Justin became a teenager on November 30!
- Camel rides and tea for all, as part of the Advent celebrations at church.
- Rice pilau, chapattis, nyama choma (roast goat) and sugar cane as special treats.
- The resounding chant of “God is good — all the time! And all the time, God is good — for that is His nature!”
Indeed, God is good, even “in the midst …” It is good to stop, to say thanks for the many good gifts of life, breath, health, family, friends, opportunities to learn and grow, hope, progress, daily bread, the beauty of blooming jacarandas, the wonder of the wildebeest migrations, glorious African sunsets and the sound of torrential rain beating on the roof.
May the joy of Christmas catch you and fill you! May we each be God’s gift to those around us this season. May we stop at Christmas to kneel before the manger, welcoming once again the Christ-child into our world, and offering up gifts of gratitude for all we have received from the Giver of Life.
Peace to you, and joy, both now and into the New Year,
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 52