Friday, January 21, 2005

Kenya Email Update #4

Yo Yo Yo from Kenya!

It’s Barry. Obviously I changed email addresses again and I promise – this is the last time it’ll change (unless something changes of course). Now I can use Outlook for answering emails without paying to use the internet cafĂ© all the time. Basically it means that I can actually respond to individual emails now! Which reminds me… I have loved the encouraging emails you all have been sending! Thanks a ton!

Anyway, I suppose I’ll update you on my life here in Kenya… I have finally become more independent, finding my way around the downtown area and taking matatus all over the place! Ok, so basically matatus are one of the primary forms of public transportation here. They are basically small 16-passenger vans (actually they fit 12 people but have 16 seats miraculously crammed in) that run along certain lines and stops just like busses do in the States. They usually cost only 20 Kenyan Shillings (only 25 cents!). From the shouting conductors to the crowded interior to the blazing music, it can be a pretty intimidating ride the first few times.

Automobile drivers in Nairobi are absolutely out of their minds (especially matatu drivers)! Imagine the worst and most reckless drivers in Chicago on drugs, trained in high speed automobile stunt driving, and late for a meeting with the President of the Universe… The basic mindset of drivers here is “I am more important than you. If you don’t get out of my way, I will destroy you.”

The other interns are so cool. Each one brings a different set of experiences and gifts to the internship. I can already tell that we’re going to become close friends! Angie (the other intern working with Pastor Muriithi) is a lot of fun. She and I have a whole lot in common. It’s going to be quite a trip to see what God has in store for us (not to be clichĂ©! We seriously have no idea what to expect!). I attached a poorly done picture that shows who the other interns are (all I have for picture editing is Microsoft Paint – if falls a little short of Photoshop… sorry!).

I finally know what my main responsibilities will be this year. All I have to do for the next 11 months is help Pastor Muriithi with sermon research and book editing, make sure everything goes smoothly and help plan the 10am services at church, organize district events for the church plant, design the new church’s advertising materials as well as disciple a small group of youth that I first have to seek out and evangelize… not to mention my responsibilities as an intern which include reading several books, attending classes, and guiding short term groups that come in from partner churches in the states. Um, yeah… I’ll be pretty busy (especially considering that these are only my primary responsibilities).

Ok, forgive me again for the long email! I just have so much to write about! I bought a cell phone the other day, so if you want to try text messaging me (I guess it’s really called SMS or something) from your cell phone, my number is +254-0721-179000 (+254 is Kenya’s code, though you might not need the 0 in front of 721 – I’m not sure). It’s a really cool (and cheap) way to stay connected in real time. Just remember that I’m 8 hours ahead of Indianapolis!! I suppose you could call too, but that gets really expensive (if you do, call between 10am-1pm Indianapolis time).

Ok, enough. I’ll let you get back to your lives! If you think of it, please pray for me as I really hit the internship head-on. I am going to be sooo busy! Pray that I will continue to learn and grow, not just get swept away by all the stuff I have to do. I miss you all! Two weeks down, 48 to go!!!

Still happy and healthy,

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Kenya Email Update #3

Well, I made it!

After two 8 hour flights I thought my life was over. I wanted to chop my legs off so bad… When we made a really rough landing (seriously, swerving all over the runway), I was just like “Fine… Let us crash… As long as I can get off the plane…” After that I had the pleasure of standing in line at customs for 45 minutes amidst screaming babies and confused white people. Good times…

So Kenya… perfect weather. Seriously. Breezy, blue skies… perfect. A little warm in the middle of the day, but I’ll take that over Indiana weather any day.

I’m staying with Mo and Marci (remember them? They were at Grace Church for a while…). They have two extremely hyper boys… Their house is so nice. I have my own room with a desk and everything.

It’s a little weird being the only Mzungu (white person) around, but I don’t mind. It’s refreshing to be the minority for once. You guys would be surprised at how modern it is over here. I don’t know what I expected, but after passing 3 shell stations and about a million car dealerships on the way to Mo and Marci’s house, I realized that my mental picture of Nairobi was a bit off.

For those of you who want to pray for me, I could use it! Right now I’m loving the whole experience, but I know there will come a time (probably soon) where I’ll wish I was back at home. Please pray that I’ll be able to cope and get beyond that quickly.

Well, I don’t want to bore you with drab details of my trip. Have a wonderful January and don’t forget, I’d love to hear from you!

Alive and jet-lagged,