Hey! We are back in Kenya and glad to be "home" (once we reach adulthood, do we ever actually have a home again? Ever since i left my parents house 5 years ago, i have been homeless, in a sense)...anyway, geez, let's not go on that tangent!
After our 13 hour bus ride, 18 hour lay-over in Bangkok, and 10 hour plane ride to Kenya, we arrived this morning at 4:30am. I'm just about to join Landon for a nap, but wanted to report that we are home safe and had so much fun in thailand.
it was so weird to leave kenya - to go some place not third-world. Landon and i marveled at neatly paved streets, street lights, McDonalds, reliable transportation, and CNN. It was also strange to be in a place without any Africans... It was refreshing to be somewhere that was safe and clean, where the people are barefoot because they choose to be, and people aren't starving.
We saw some remnants of the devistation inflicted by the tsunami winter of '04. They're still rebuilding beaches and buildings. Landon and i wondered how the people were each personally affected. The Thai people were very sweet (couldn't speak a lick of English), yet i really felt for them. To know that they went through such a tragedy and then to see them seeking solace in bronze buddha's and intricate temples... what a lost people.
We really enjoyed the Thai culture. of course, Thai food was incredible! i guess it's really in style for both men and women to wear mullets - i kid you not! the long boat drivers stand on the side of the road and say, "Hello, Taxi Boat" to us every 13 steps we take. Landon and i (more landon than i) started to jokingly call each other "Taxi Boat" by the end of our trip.
We did get to go climbing. i always feel so stupid when i am the one to blog about the rock climbing...i don't know anything. The cliffs (see the picture from may 2 post) were of limestone - with stalagtites and little pockets in the rock...really different from anything we've ever climbed before. The climbing was really challenging, too, not many routes for beginners. It's amazing though, to climb these cliffs and then look over across the "azure sea" (as landon would call it).
It was funny to see the way Western people reacted to certain things, which i would have reacted to the same way if i had not just come from kenya. i ate everything i wanted...didn't worry about stomach sickness - if my digestive system can withstand kenya, it can withstand anything! monkeys. people giggled in joy as they fed monkeys and took their pictures. i hate monkeys - i could've booted those things if i weren't so afraid of them. don't feed the monkeys - it just encourages them to attack humans for food!!! people were really sweet to all the people haggling items on the beach - i get that every day here and have lost my polite "oh, how beautiful, but no thank you" response. now i simply say, "no", in which they respond, "later?", "NO". no eye contact made, just to the point. what a missionary i've turned out to be, huh? sharing the love of christ not only in africa, but asia as well!
you must know, that when we landed in thailand, they took a disinfectant spray to the inside of the plane and asked us to cover our mouths and noses while they sprayed us. then, when we went to get our passports stamped, because we came from africa, they made us go to the doctor - you have to receive immunizations before you enter thailand, so you don't give the thai's some nasty african disease (of which there are many). good thing we had our shot cards! i just think it's funny the precautions the world takes against africa...
speaking of the world and africa, is anyone going to do anything about the genocide in sudan? we should have learned our lesson before, with hitler and the jews, the hutu's and the tutsi's - why does this continue to happen and baffle us and we sit and watch and talk about how devistating it is. why doesn't anyone take any action!!? but what kind of action would a country take? bush commented on CNN last night, "there was a cease fire ordered in 2004" - as if that should have solved things...2 years later and thousands are dead. why can't the world help africa? how do you save a continent from AIDS, starvation, genocide? i mean, really - if you save all the children from dieing of malaria, then they starve to death...same with AIDS, right? AIDS leaves children orphaned, which also leaves them starving, and if we cured AIDS, then the people would die of starvation or malaria or something else...pretty much, the poverty, the sin of this world, hurts the children most. i don't know much about any of this, but i know that it will take a bigger solution than teaching abstainance and handing out a malaria vaccine- these kids need food, they need parents, they need jesus. there is no way to reach a child without fulfilling their most important needs first. we can't teach them without feeding them first. we can't teach them about the love of jesus without loving them first. meeting the spiritual need in africa will take more than showing a "Jesus Film". These people have material and emotional needs that need to be tended to before they will be open to the gospel - that's my opinion.
this is also a part of the problem when it comes to reaching africa, though. we can't just come here and pour upon them food and material possessions then give them a few sermons and pray with them and leave. that's what they expect from us. we're missionaries, and we're white. So, my African friends, once they know my name, will beckon for me to pay for the children's school fees, give them my shoes, buy them medicine...and all those things are important, but what i came to offer these people is overshadowed by what they want from me. landon and i get so frustrated sometimes - it's a hard line... we want to help our friends - if their kids don't go to school, then they can't get a job and then their own children will starve some day. yet, are we disabling them by giving them things they want? are we hindering our ministry to them by being a money tree? i think landon and i have been really good about when to help and when to say no, but it is a really painful decision that we have to make often. and it makes us question our relationships with our kenyan friends here - are they really selfless friendships, or are they just using us to get what they want? i dono, it's tricky.
wow, this post wasn't supposed to go in this direction, sorry. pictures from thailand later.