kenya 2013 | kibera

Kibera.

This is the post I was both anticipating and dreading.

The two days we spent here were simultaneously a highlight of our time in Kenya, as well as the most difficult and heartbreaking.

Kibera is an informal settlement in Nairobi, located approximately 3 miles from the city center.

Covering an area of about 1.5 square miles and home to an estimated 250,000 people, Kibera is the third largest slum in the world.

HEART operates a WEEP center in Kibera, and we would be spending two days here, meeting with the women and doing home visits, joining their weekly Bible study, and doing some painting.  This was the group of women I had heard so much about from my dad, the women who were praying for my mom and I to come to Kenya.  Monday night during our debrief for the day, we spent some time talking about what to expect.  The team members who were returning for their second year spoke about how their time in Kibera was a highlight of their trip, and that they were excited to return.  Our team leader (my dad) warned those of us who were going for the first time that nothing could prepare us to walk into that slum.

He was right. continue reading…

[bible:365] Days 8-10 – Genesis 35-50

I love the Joseph story (and it’s various retellings. Technicolor Dreamcoat anybody?). It’s always been a particular favorite of mine, seeing how God uses one man to impact so many people, even though things don’t always seem to go well for him.

I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to be him: to be sold into slavery by your own brothers. The sense of abandonment he must have felt, and yet he never turns away from God. Then, to go from rock bottom as a slave in a foreign country to being household overseer for an important man, only to have it all taken away from him when he did nothing wrong. I can’t believe I ever complain about my circumstances. continue reading…

[bible:365] Day 5 – Genesis 21-25

Sometimes I feel like I pass over the birth of Isaac as just another birth story. I almost did it writing this. But then I stopped and thought about it: this is a big deal. This is God’s covenant with Abraham finally coming to fruition. It’s in chapter 12 that God first promises to make Abraham into a great nation, and Abraham is 73 at this point. It takes almost 30 years for this promise to begin to be fulfilled. After such a long time of waiting and praying for the child from whom this great nation will spring, the hope and joy felt at his birth must have been astonishing. The child that was promised had finally arrived; how joyful Abraham and Sarah must have been.

This makes the almost-sacrifice of Isaac that much more astonishing. I don’t have children of my own, so I can’t speak from experience, but I can imagine the thought of sacrificing your own child continue reading…

[bible:365] Day 3 – Genesis 11-15

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel story is rather odd. It’s a story I’ve heard since I was a child, and I always thought it was pretty crazy, but reading it now it’s just plain odd. The people want to “make a name for themselves” and build a tower to the heavens, and according to God, they can accomplish that goal because they all have one language. At this point, the story seems to be about the power of a people united, that “nothing they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (11:6).

But God sees something bad in this; whether it’s the pride that they want to glorify themselves, that they think they can reach heaven, or that he sees where this will lead (“this is only the beginning of what they will do.” 11:6), he decides this cannot be allowed to happen. So he divides them. According to this story, God is the source of language barriers.

I look at this and can’t help but wonder, was it worth it? continue reading…