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August 2, 2009

I guess I’m still on “Africa time”.   I wrote that I would post more “later today”–which turned out to be five days later!  As we expected life in the US continued without us while we were away.  How could that be possible?  Ha, ha that’s why this post is entitled “Re-entry”.

Certainly the term re-entry feels a little cliche.   The term reminds you of the early space missions when the capsule was re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.  You can often hear this term thrown around when missionaries who have been overseas come home and try to reintegrate into their home culture and life while trying to integrate the formative experiences from the field.

Coke undisputed King of Colas?

Coke undisputed King of Colas?

But  can short-termer’s like us really experience the re-entry phenomenon?  After all it’s just like we’ve been gone an extended family vacation right?  I confess I don’t know the answers to the preceding questions.  Some things were certainly easier to come back to–for example, high speed internet to update the blog!, clean water and toilets available everywhere (well maybe except some of our mega retail stores with public restrooms which shall be nameless), the supermarket conveniently located a few miles from home, etc.  But really we weren’t hurting for much at Tenwek.  After all Coke is even more omnipresent than McDonalds.  The nearest McDonald’s was probably hours away, but there were no problems getting Coke products.  In fact in the picture to the right you can see our last breakfast the day we left Tenwek.  Coke, Fanta and a Mandazi (fried donut/pastry)–all for the low price of 60 KSH (Kenyan Shillings).  At the time one US dollar was worth 70-75 KSH.  Of course a similar light breakfast (if Mandazi’s can be considered “light”–click here for an easy Mandazi recipe) at Panera’s would be about $5-7.  I wouldn’t recommend this breakfast daily for one’s cardiac health, but it sure hit the spot for the 32 some hours of travel that lay ahead of us.

Probably the best moment of re-entry was seeing the kids again at Caleb and Melissa’s house.   The kids certainly had a great time with their new found “Uncle Caleb and Aunt Melissa”.  Thankfully plenty of people prayed for Caleb and Melissa and came to help take care of the kids while we gone.

I think it’s safe to say the kids missed their mom nonetheless.  It’s amazing how much the kids change over two weeks at this young age.  When we left Esther couldn’t say her brother’s name, but it was no problem when she came back.

People ask us are we changed now that we’ve gone?  I think we’re still trying to figure out that question.  Certainly I miss the people we worked with both nationals and US missionaries.  You do form a close bond over a short time when you serve a greater Christ-centered purpose.  These special relationships occur here in the US today, but we often neglect opportunities to serve in the “busy-ness” of the moment.  I was reminded of this when someone spoke today at our small group re: the Good News Ministries which seeks to help the homeless and hungry in our community.  I’ll post more as we process all our thoughts over the next few weeks.  We have a few continued prayer requests such as raising funds to cover our air travel and for our upcoming presentations about our trip.

Financial contributions can be sent on our behalf to :

World Medical Mission Attn: Gail Gambill

PO Box 3000

Boone, NC 28607

Project number 003832 (in memo line)

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