Africa, Day 3: Relationships

Emily and her cousins and aunt.

Emily and her cousins and aunt.

We came on this mission trip with several purposes in mind, all of them good.

Rachel making a great save

Rachel making a great save

But today, on our last full day in Kenya, a new purpose emerged, and I am even more convinced that God LOVES to see His believers grow in their relationships with each other. When we came on this trip, we knew that Assistant Coach Lauren Lindner Anderson had an aunt in Kenya. In fact, Aunt Sandy had already helped Dave with some trip details. We planned on spending some time with Lauren’s aunt and uncle.

I have so many amazing animal pics from today!

I have so many amazing animal pics from today!

Then we discovered that Emily Mascari, one of the players, has an aunt, uncle, and cousins at Rift Valley Academy, an MK school about an hour and a half from Nairobi. Dave and I have many ties to RVA, through my sister and her husband’s family and through numerous friends who have taught there. What we didn’t realize until about two weeks ago was that my nephew Seth would be there for his 2-year alumni reunion. But, free spirit that Seth is, we didn’t know if he would actually be on campus or if he would be out on some kind of adventure with his friends.

This was a mama giraffe very concerned for her new baby. the park rangers were moving it to flat ground so it could stand.

This was a mama giraffe very concerned for her new baby. the park rangers were moving it to flat ground so it could stand.

We drove up to RVA (and made it despite some brake trouble), and had the privilege of seeing Emily and her cousins and aunt reunite. Beautiful!

We asked around about Seth and learned he was still in Mombasa, so we gave up hope of seeing him. We played RVA’s soccer team in a friendly match and went to eat in the cafeteria. Just as I finished my meal, Sharon, my sister’s husband’s brother’s wife (confusing, I know) found me, and we had a wonderful time catching up and sharing. It was a complete surprise! Sharon and her husband are missionaries without a country (too much unrest) who are serving at RVA as dorm parents until their country’s politics stabilize.

And here's the baby!

And here’s the baby!

Then Seth showed up. He’d taken the all-night train back from Mombasa, and when he got on campus several people told him his aunt and uncle were looking for him. He assumed, of course, they meant his Aunt Sharon and Uncle Steve, and was surprised when it turned out to be us. We hugged and chatted for a few minutes, and then I sent him off to find Emily.

The girls climbed on top of the bus after we toured the "island."

The girls climbed on top of the bus after we toured the “island.”

(One funny note. Three years ago, when Seth was still a student at RVA, we did the same thing to him–just showed up at his dorm parent’s house. Both that time and this–I can’t believe it–we failed to get a picture of him or with him!)

Soccer player Emily’s aunt suggested we spend the afternoon at nearby Crescent Island, where Out of Africa (remember the old Robert Redford/Meryl Streep film) was filmed. They took a couple hundred animals to this crescent-shaped peninsula that thrusts out into the Naivasha Lake. Without predators and with plenty of grazing land, the animal population is now at a few thousand, and you simply walk right with them on the island. Crazy beautiful and fun!

DSC_2629We ended the day back at Emily’s aunt and uncle’s house, where they fed us. Seth joined us, and we had even more chances to catch up.

When I think back at how perfectly this day was orchestrated–without our having any hand in it at all (we only knew we could go to RVA two days ago)–I am simply amazed. God loves His children to have good, deep relationship with each other.

p.s. He also protected us so much today. Getting that bus up and down those rutted mountain roads was very difficult.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

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