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A letter from Brenda Harcourt in Kenya

May 12, 2010

Yesterday started off as any other Tuesday but ended up being a tiring and busy day. I usually do most of my weekly shopping in Meru at the local shops, markets and supermarkets, but occasionally I have to give in and head to Nairobi, which is where I can purchase some American standbys that we miss in our diets. After checking my shelves I realized it had been three months since I had made the trip and knew it was time to go.

Now, Nairobi is not very close to Meru so to schedule a trip to do a bit of shopping takes at least 24 hours and about $100 just in transport. Since I do not currently have a vehicle at my disposal I rent a taxi so I can transport my groceries back to Meru. Five a.m. the alarm went off; I was up and in the shower and dressed and headed out the door by 6:00, grabbing a cup of coffee, of course, on the run. There sat Douglas my taxi driver, prompt as usual. Douglas is a PCEA (Presbyterian Church of East Africa) member and also a member of the parish in Meru. He is a very committed Christian and someone I have just recently met.

The trip to Nairobi takes about four hours and has as many bumps and ditches and potholes as a road can have. Sliding on the mud out my road to the highway was a trip to be forgotten. The rains have created mud and mud and more mud, and the soil becomes slippery and thick and a challenge to navigate by foot or vehicle. But we started out and settled into the best comfortable position for the ride as possible.

The sun was just beginning to peak past Mt. Kenya and light the sky in a beautiful multicolored array. Sipping coffee and trying to make a list of what I needed and what I wanted helped to pass the time. Then in a very quiet but questioning way Douglas asked me, “Rev., why is there so much corruption in the church and its leaders?” Before I could say anything he went further: “It is very difficult to be a Christian when all around you there is corruption.” And then, “If our church leaders don’t set our example, who will?” I realized this was going to be anything but an ordinary four hour drive. Douglas continued to quote several examples in the recent months in the newspapers of clergy who have not set good examples. We spoke about how corruption seems to be around us and will always be a part of our lives; how we struggle to live the best life we can as Christians and to pray for those we know who are heading in the wrong direction. I reminded him that it isn’t something new that is just starting but has been a part of life since the beginning of time. News media just seem to uncover situations that in the past would not have been discussed.

Our conversation continued and the four hours seemed to pass fairly quickly until we got into a traffic jam just outside of Nairobi. The next hour was intense, but as we dodged vehicles and made very close encounters with other vehicles, Douglas never missed an opportunity to cover his list of questions and Bible study he had in mind for the trip.

After two hours of shopping we were back in the vehicle for another four hour drive back to Meru and of course more of Douglas’ list of questions. We arrived safe and sound after many prayers and lots of good conversation.

I am continuously blessed that God has called me to Kenya. I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am that God puts people in my life every day that I need to do my day to day activities or to help in my teaching of workshops. I love that God sends questions my way that are not always easy to answer but keep me growing and remind me of how precious our lives and ministries are.

Please remember all the folks that God places in my path to minister to and pray that God continues to give me food for thought to offer them as our journeys of life and faith intersect in many ways.

Your continued support allows me to continue and places you in the midst of these experiences.  Thank you for all that you do.

Brenda

The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 52

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