What would you do? Locked out in a foreign land. No phone. No water. No diapers…
It was Sunday. Clark was on call at the hospital. After church Hannah and I were invited to join our neighbor Joyce for uji. Joyce had been shocked to learn–when conversing over chai the week before–that Hannah was uji naive.
Uji is the oatmeal of Kenya—an ubiquitous infant food consumed as comfort food well into adulthood, especially in times of illness.
As we enjoyed the slightly sweet, tangy porridge (think warm applesauce), I wondered along with Joyce how it had taken us this long to enjoy this Kenyan staple!
A few hours later, Hannah and I returned home in post-prandial drowsiness humming Hannah’s going-to-sleep song.
I put the key in the lock. It wouldn’t turn. I tried again. Nothing. The key that had effortlessly locked the door on our departure now refused to engage a single pin.
(And in case this story is sounding rather familiar to you, this account will confirm that I am indeed prone to accidental homelessness…)
5 hours later I had found Clark and his functioning key. We had re-entry.
What had we done in the interim with no phone, no books, no toys, no food, and—most distressingly—no diapers?
We had experienced the blessing of community.
Hannah played with an empty soda bottle with our neighbors. We went to a birthday party. We sat and talked with the guards at the hospital. We had (more) chai with our neighbors.
Though the way to my afternoon plans of writing letters and reading sci-fi while Hannah napped had been barred, I had enjoyed my most restful Sabbath in months.
If our door had opened, I would have missed it. I would have missed fellowship with our neighbors. I would have missed ice cream. I would have missed watching Hannah chase chickens.
Today–with my computer open to unanswered emails, phone binging with text messages, Swahili exercise book lying on the table–I find myself longing for another locked-out day.
The Lord wants us to rest. And I’m grateful that four days a month we’re able to stop. To spend time with Him and each other. To rest.
And I’m grateful that even when my plans don’t work out, the Lord still provides that rest—better than I could have planned!
I encourage you to seek rest, to take a day or an afternoon this (and every) week to be with God and to be with people. Or, if you’re like me, the Lord may just make space to rest for you!
“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” Exodus 33:14
How Hannah prefers to spend her Sabbaths…
5 thoughts on “Homeless and Happy”
Val, you are a terrific writer. I always enjoy reading your updates and am encouraged by them. We are praying for you and we love you!
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Thanks Goods! We also pray regularly for the work God’s doing in Hungary. And as we struggle through learning language I think we are able to send up especially empathetic groaning on your behalf!
Beautiful story Val! I love your ability to focus on what is most important. God bless you mightily!
Launa, thanks for this encouragement. I miss our morning prayer times, but the Lord is so good! Early this year one of our neighbors asked if we could meet regularly to pray. She prays as God’s word and challenges me in the best way. Praying for the Lord to continue to knit you into the Body where you are…
Aunt Dorothy and I so enjoy your letters. I can’t begin to tell you how much. The pictures are great too. You write so well and I often wonder if you ever consider writing a book. I hope you are keeping a journal of your experiences in Kenya. Reading your letters is somewhat like watching a flower bloom You are blooming and your faith and spirituality have stronger roots in each letter. You amaze me, make me think, and entertain me. Watching Hannah growing up is also a tremendous joy. Thank you for sharing so much with us all. God bless you, Clark and Hannah. 💖🤗