Today marks one month since we touched down in Nairobi. That sentence is hard to believe. In one sense, the month has been a movie locked on fast forward. In another sense, it feels like much longer ago that we checked 22 bags and started our marathon trip to the other side of the world—a trip that included one of the kids vomiting all over his clothes and seat, but that’s a story for another day.
Even though we are still basically newborn babies when it comes to living cross-culturally, I wanted to share a few reflections about moving to and living in Kenya.
Doing this would be impossible without a network of partners in the gospel. From the folks in the States who are regularly supporting us in prayer to the friends here who met us at the airport late at night, we are so grateful for the generosity and graciousness of God’s people. (Special shout out to Jimmy Bledsoe, who got pulled over by Kenyan police for transporting our couch on top of his Land Cruiser.)
As William Carey was deciding to move to India, he famously told Andrew Fuller, his close friend who would stay behind and support him from afar, “I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” The Lord has graciously provided many who are holding the rope for us. What a blessing!
Driving is crazy. I knew that learning to drive here would be a big adjustment. Nairobi proper has a population of over 4 million, while the population of the greater metropolitan area is closer to 9 million. From the sheer number of vehicles on the road to the adjustment of driving on the opposite side of the road to the game of chicken that is required to cross basically every intersection, driving is an adventure.
Learning another language is a humbling experience. Our Swahili lessons last 3–4 hours each weekday. By the end of the lesson, our brains feel like mush because of all of the information we are taking in. I’ve had the opportunity to take quite a few Greek and Hebrew classes throughout my time in Bible college and seminary. It’s one thing to study a language in order to be proficient enough where you can methodically work through a passage. It’s a different level of challenge to grow proficient enough in a language where you engage in conversations that require flexibility and quickness.
We are far from that level of proficiency right now. Switching from my doctoral studies to practicing sentences from a lower elementary Swahili workbook is a reality check to my pride.
The Lord is faithful and gracious. Despite the craziness of transitioning to a different culture, the Lord’s grace has been apparent. When we are tired and impatient—anxiously waiting for work permits to be processed and for long-term plans to materialize—our triune God neither tires nor frets. His sovereign plan will come to fruition, and that hope sustains us, though my eyes are prone to fixate on the uncertainties of life.
We are one month into what we hope is a long ministry on the mission field. Pray for us as we continue to adjust to life in Nairobi.