Christmas Tradition

Since this is our first Christmas here in Kenya, we have been thinking a lot about traditions.  I think it helps to consider what Christmas really means.  There are a lot of different traditions all around the world.  Living without a lot of the ones we are used to, and with others which we are not familiar, really gives us the opportunity to consider what God would have us do.

Having said that, I want to share with you a tradition that is very common in many parts of Kenya, eating goat.

Out of its elementCookingGoats can be very expensive here in Nairobi.  There is not a lot of open land, and lots of people who would like to eat goat.  Now, the basic rules of economics do not always apply here because there are many factors that your mind refuses to deal with that affect the economy, but sometimes supply and demand work as you expect.  So for the goat roast here at the hangar they had one of the up country pilots load up two goats in the cargo pod below the plane and fly them here.

Then the goats were slaughtered right on the hangar floor.  It is a really bloody mess, having a drain nearby helps a lot.  There are some pictures in the gallery that are probably not for the weak stomached or younger viewers.

I have noticed that for most Americans, we are completely separated from the food chain.  We never grow or kill anything.  We hardly have to wash or cut much.  We go to a store and buy prepared food, warm it up, and serve.  It does save a lot of time.

Uganda Pictures

dsc02122I took a trip quite a while ago to Uganda and I finally got around to posting the pictures.  Sorry it took so long.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera out at all the best times like when we were 3 men on a motorcycle (which did not seem odd at the time).  I also did not get any pictures in Kampala, but it is a very neat city, especially if you are not in a hurry.  The whole downtown is so impacted with motorcycle and minivan share taxis.

Most of the pictures are of the house I stayed in near Entebbe and the AIM Air office there.

Dr. Pepper Bday

dsc01346It was my birthday, and I had bought myself a Dr. Pepper.  They are only 79 Kenyan Shillings per can! (Ski resort prices…)  Cammy made pizza, but we are still searching for the right kind of cheese.  This stuff didn’t grate or melt… yet it almost tastes like cheese.  Go figure.

Lokichogio

DC3 jumpseat viewI went to Lokichogio this week to help out a little at the AIM Air base there.  They had a couple of computer issues that I wanted to look into as well as understand how their operation works.  I had done a similar thing in Entebbe a few weeks back (I still need to post the pictures from that trip).  Unfortunately, the pictures were all taken with my phone, which does not have a very nice camera.  But at least it is better than nothing.

Image042I got to ride up in the jump seat on the DC3.  I call it the flying rivet machine.  It is just about a 2 hour flight and we landed in scattered showers. I had been told that Loki was hot and dry, but my visit left me with the wrong impression.  Everything was soaking wet when we landed, and the river was rushing.  I have been told most of the time it is dry.  They said it had been a particularly wet year and everything was so green and there were bugs everywhere.  I even got to play with some kids catching katydids and grasshoppers.  I even managed to catch a butterfly with my hands, but that was a mistake because then all the boys wanted one.

Thursday was declared a national holiday in Kenya to honor Obama’s victory in the US presidental election.  So I decided to take a walk through the town.  The local people are the Turkana, and every male seemed to be carrying a stick and a ekicholong (a stool/headrest).  All the elder men were sitting in circles discussing things.  Later in the day when we drove through town, almost no one was around.  I think because of the heat, they do business in the mornings and late afternoons.Image046

On the flight home we landed in Kitale and then headed back to Nairobi. I was able to get a great view of our home and Kibera from the left side of the DC3.

Petr’s Bike

dsc01315Here is a picture of Petr on his new bike!  The bike was given to us by another missionary family.  Petr is very glad to have a bike since we left his in America.  He is riding on the streets of our estate.  Andrej is waiting for a bike of his own, asking for one every day.  We know that the Lord will provide one in due time.

Why Paul?

A quick aside, I love how written language fails to communicate so many things. Take the title of this post. What does it mean? I am asking, “Why did you do that, Paul?” Or, “Why choose Paul?” Or something else entirely? In much the same way, we fail to fully understand what Paul/Saul meant in Acts 9 when he said, “Who are you Lord?”

Why did God choose to use Saul/Paul the way that He did? Here we have a guy who wasn’t along for the ride with the Messiah as the disciples were, and yet he is the principle author of most of the theological writings that we take to compose our beliefs. Why was Paul important, why not one of the 12 chosen before?

It seemed to me that this was a pretty important part of understanding the New Testament. It is an often attacked part of the church because so many of beliefs are based on the writings of Paul. So God must have had a very good reason to choose Paul.

After thinking about this for much too short a time (even all my time would probably not be enough), I have come to the conclusion that God required his perspective in order to communicate with us His purpose. Much as I wrote in a previous post, each of us have a particular palette and Paul’s was the one required.

Who was Paul? He was a pharisee, one of the elite of society. He was itellectual, and well learned, studying under Rabban Gamaliel, head of the Sanhedrin. Because of this, he was very possibly present at many of the events recorded in the Gospels and also in Acts where Jesus or his disciples were on trial.

Often times, to understand something it is easier to take a step back. Watch the building being built instead of being inside the whole time. Paul was on the “outside” for all of Jesus ministry. Even persecuting His followers after His death. What he lacked in understanding God’s will he made up for in zeal.

After pentacost, the apostles were “busy” building the church in Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria (which, the reason for dispersing was probably due to Paul’s persecution). On the road to Damascus Paul meets Christ. Then he spends 10 to 12 years(!) before his ministry begins.
I think this time was really important to his understanding of God and His will. His intellect, his learning, his standing in society, were all important aspects of who he became. And that person he became was just the one God needed to bring his message to the Gentiles (and therefore me, and most probably you).