the far side

I wish you could see the hills here. In the first hour of morning, they roll out smoky and glazed from the sun, freckled with houses and trees. When I look up on my way to bread and jam in the dining hall, I wonder about the people who move and dream on those hills, if they hike out for work in the town or if all they’ve ever wanted is right there, in the peace and the sun.

We’ve been in Africa for more than a week now, though it seems newer than that, and mostly I feel displaced. I’m the sort of person who takes a while to get my bearings, and until then I’ll float along happily enough, but I doubt I’ll be much use to anyone.

I think part of that is the transitional state of living out of suitcases and dorm rooms, with nothing to make into a home, but all that is coming in a few weeks. We’re good for now.

So far in our orientation/training we’ve discussed HIV/AIDS, healthy living, transformational community development, and the nuances of cross cultural perspectives (monochronism vs polychronism, individualism vs collectivism, etc). A lot of it has been a review of information from books we’ve read or courses we’ve taken, so that’s helped us feel semi-competent and a little bit like maybe we can do this Africa thing.

I mean to take pictures and go on long wanderings and blog and think, but we’re in classes 7 hours a day, and meals and cleaning up kids and laundry (by hand) require some time and doing. By sunset I’m nearly done being human for a while. So much of this is good stuff, but also I’m tired.

The kids are doing great, mostly. They’ve fallen in with the other young folk and I think this comes off like summer camp with chai and mandazi. (On the other hand, a certain child of mine, who shall remain unnamed, did try to pilfer money from the offering box at church yesterday. The pastors said they hoped to see us next week, but they may have meant that more in a theoretical sense.)

We’re faring pretty well, I think. There’s an undercurrent of stress present in each day, but we’ve made great friends and we can see God here, alive and doing His thing. Thank you for praying and sending us notes and whatnot–the internet doesn’t often register a pulse here, but we’re glad for the times we can holler back at you. We love you and miss you a whole giant bunch.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
(ps 139.9-10)

Author: nic

saved by grace.

6 thoughts

  1. Love those verses. And of course you can do this Africa thing. I think maybe you were born to do it. Your afternoon is well on it’s way and I’m just starting my day. I have a Nairobi clock on my desktop. My sis lives in Arusha, TZ and Nairobi was as close as the world clock program would let me get to her. She had a baby in Nairobi a few weeks ago. I haven’t seen you in the flesh for a very long time and I don’t really know you other than what I’ve read on your blog BUT it is oddly comforting to me that you are 5ish hours away from her.
    May God give you what you need for today.


  2. this one brought a laugh (your church happening) and tears. love that passage at the end. reminds me of a quote I am enjoying these days, “no matter where we are, in your presence, Lord, we are home.” you all can do africa. with Him, in Him, through Him, we can do all things. truly amazing. that land has a special sweet whiff of Jesus coming their way coming in the form of the owens. love and hugs.


  3. Always thankful for your rich words and the way you carry us right alongside you even in the million miles away sense of being. I love that God is here and there and everywhere else and I want to be you when I grow up.

    Praying and praying and praying,



  4. amen. even there your right hand will guide me and hold me fast.

    loved catching up, so grateful for these glimpses of your new. praying all the time for you sweeties! xo


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