Jen and Davis have been serving with Juli in Kipkarren for the past year. They have two little girls who are precious beyond words. Their family is getting ready to go to the Congo. Davis was raised in Kenya by missionary parents, and his grandparents were missionaries here before them. Serving in Kenya is therefore like coming home to him and so his family is preparing to learn yet another language (French) to go to a country that is unfamiliar.
Davis’ parents still live in Kenya and they invited us over to celebrate Christmas Eve with them. Considering the size of our group, this was no small invitation. In total, about 18 strangers descended upon their house. They were amazingly hospital, as has been every person that I’ve come into contact with. What I didn’t know was that the plan was to have an American Christmas dinner. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, carrots, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy and much more. This was topped off with vanilla ice cream with pecan and pumpkin pies. I had no idea what Christmas would be like when I came to Kenya so I was so blessed to have a bit of home.
However, even more of a blessing was getting to share the meal with a group of people who, although strangers, shared the common fact of wanting to join together in celebration of our Savior’s birth. Whether it was through our white elephant gift exchange (a very strange concept to the Kenyans in our group) or through the Christmas skits we enacted (I have video that will provide laughs for years to come), the celebration was a constant reminder that we had a common bond – a bond that transcended nationality, culture, political affiliations, or any other artificial division. We shared the loved of Christ.
I knew my Christmas in Kenya would be different. I’m so amazingly blessed that there was also much that was the same.