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Remembering my friends in Africa today…and shuffling through some images I should have posted long ago…

A sharp pain brought me quickly to reality as my head slammed abruptly to the side of our safari bus—another pothole.

As we drove through the city streets, I will admit guiltily that I thought, “Well this isn’t that bad,” but the paved streets of Nairobi gave way all too quickly to the unruliness of the earthen Kenyan countryside.

We turned down a rutted dirt road onto a side street—if it can even be called a street—our driver cautiously navigated our bus of tourists snapping pictures outside the windows on their digital cameras. I watch as a man, unable to use his feet, struggles with flip flops on his hands to drag his limp legs out of the way of our vehicle.

This was my first real taste of poverty. The scent of earth mixed with untreated ditches of feral water and the live image of disease in the third world—the entire scene is still locked in my memory.

But poverty was not what I took away from Kenya.

My trip to Kenya taught me an immeasurable number of things, both about myself and about God. The trip was about getting down to people’s level, seeing part of their lives, getting personal, the way Jesus did…for an hour or a day or maybe just a few minutes.

It was about looking people in the eyes, giving a face to Christianity, and living out the body of Christ.

It was about kindness, goodness, and generosity…on the part of our hosts.

It was about hardship followed by hope, and guilt followed by grace—such amazing grace.

It was about forgiveness. And it was about love.

Love that reaches across language barriers, cultural norms, skin color, continents, and the world. The kind of love seen in kids’ smiles, whether found in suburban America or in the center of the largest slum in Africa. The kind of love that shakes mountains and souls, tears down wall, and dies on a cross.

This trip was about reminding people, and reminding myself, just how unique that love and the body of Christ is. It reminded me that God is and always will be our Strong Tower, our Merciful Redeemer, and our Good Shepherd.

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