Monday, June 29, 2009

Missing Kenya: Our conversation with a Kenyan gate attendent in Abu Dhabi, June 28, 2009

by Rev. Stephen R. Parelli. KATHMANDU, NEPAL. At our gate in Abu Dhabi, waiting to board our connecting flight for Nepal, a young attractive gate attendant dressed in Etihad airlines uniform walked up to us. We were standing where we could view the plane. I assumed she thought we perhaps had a question (or did she find Jose attractive?). Either way, we soon learned that she was from Nairobi, Kenya (and a member of Valley Road Baptist Church). Her East African ways were too familiar for me. I began to choke up a bit and really fought back the tears as we told her about our last two summers in Nairobi. We named places she knew. Told her about the friends we made and the ministry now going on there with Rev. Kimindu and Rev. Makokha. I told myself I was just too tired and the "crying" was because of my lack of sleep. But be that as it may, it was the tender memories that pushed my "tiredness" over the brink. I truly was saddened and felt myself missing my Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as I observed her beautiful features and listened to her lovely East African voice. Our first trip to Kenya was in 2007 and we flew Emirates airlines and had a connecting flight with a long lay over here in United Arab Emirates. Now we were here again, only this time our connecting flight would take us away from Kenya. Our last two summers with our East African friends -- from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda -- were very enriching and fulfilling. We will miss not returning there this summer. As we took seats in the waiting area, I told Jose, "I'm sure glad I have you in my life. It seems that in ministry friendships are both lasting and yet too short." We have friends from East Africa that will always be our friends. But our time with them was too, too short. We would soon board the plane, only to take us into other lands and places, to meet and make new friends. And our time with them will also be too, too short.

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