Saturday, September 09, 2006

Airport scenes

I was talking with a missionary friend last year and we both agreed that one of the hardest things about being a missionary is the “airport scenes” – that moment in the airport when I walk away from my family and friends and wonder if I’ve lost my mind for leaving my country and the people I love. Well on Monday I experienced the other side of the airport scene – this time I was the one staying behind and not the one leaving. The one leaving was my friend Muigai, who had been selected for a one year ministry internship with an organization in the UK called Careforce (www.careforce.org).

I met Muigai (pronounced Mwee-guy with the accent on the 2nd syllable) in April of last year when I started attending Karen Community Church, where he was working as an intern. We got to know each other through a young adults Bible study and started hanging out together in September of last year. In January, we decided to begin a relationship.

Muigai was born and grew up in Nairobi, and studied economics and sociology at the University of Nairobi. He is a gifted musician and plays the keyboard, guitar, and leads worship at the church. After this year in the UK, he plans to go to graduate school and get a Masters degree in peace and reconciliation studies. Eventually, he would like to go into ministry with African children and youth from traumatic or difficult backgrounds.

Muigai has been an incredible friend to me – we pray together, study the Bible together, he accompanies me to the children’s home on the weekends to play with the kids (who have completely fallen in love with him), and he takes me hiking or for nyama choma (roasted meat) when I am stressed with classes. He is committed to the Lord, caring, compassionate, and a lot of fun to be with.

Several months ago, Muigai found out about Careforce through an elder in our church who had gone through the program ten years ago. We both prayed about it and decided it was a great opportunity for him and could also be beneficial for our relationship by allowing him to experience life in a Western culture. He was accepted into the program, raised money for a plane ticket, and a few weeks ago was granted a visa, which was surprising for a young single male. God’s hand has clearly been seen throughout the entire process. He will be working with children and youth in an Anglican parish in Bargoed, South Wales.

Although I am excited for him, it will be challenging to be away from him for a year and I will really miss him. Please join the two of us in prayer for the following items:

- That as we spend time apart, we would seek the Lord and be able to discern His guidance for our future and our relationship

- That God would give us grace and strength over the next year

- That Muigai would be able to adapt quickly to life in Wales

- That Muigai would make good friends in the UK and be effective in his ministry there