One year ago our hospital received patients from a massive traffic accident. This is nothing new. We have patients from car wrecks daily. Sometimes a dozen at a time. We are just below the busiest highway in Kenya, and so when there are wrecks. people are picked up and dropped off at our hospital. One thing that is interesting is that often people come in the back of passerby’s cars. There is not a robust ambulance system, and so travelers will help out of the goodness of their character. I had a friend who was in a severe car wreck, and as he pulled his family, bleeding and unconscious from the car, he handed them to strangers who put them in the back of their own cars and drove them to the nearest hospital. He thought to himself as they drove away, that is the last time I am going to see them alive. (They lived and were eventually transferred to Kijabe hospital where our team cared for them).
What was different a year ago was that a very important politician in Kenya was one of the victims. We realized something was different when 2 helicopters landed on the soccer field across the lane from our house. He was operated on and then flown on to Nairobi. He has healed, and this past Sunday he walked from Nairobi to Kijabe hospital to raise funds for our trauma department. He had lots of people walking with him including some of our doctors from the hospital. They started at 2 AM, arriving to the hospital about 12 hours later. It is a long walk. It was nice publicity for the hospital, and it was an honor for us to be thanked and recognized for work we do for anyone, no matter the importance. I was impressed this man walked as he did just one year after his accident. It makes me thankful for the continuing ability to walk and work.
For my recent birthday, Allison invited a few people for coffee and sweets on a Sunday afternoon. I was glad to spend some time with a lot of good people, and I was especially glad to spend time with the Kijabe Hospital Internal Medicine team. We have a great group of American and Kenyan doctors working together to take care of the complex medical cases in the medicine wards, the intensive care unit, and the COVID ward. We deal with a lot of tough cases and some really desperate situations, but there is not a day that goes by without this group giving me something to laugh and smile about.
Our friend Lisa sent this verse to us. Thank you for the encouragement!
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Wow! One half of a century is completed today. When I was 25 being fifty seemed so far away. Those 25 years seemed an eternity. Now looking ahead, being 75 seems just around the corner. I thought I might climb Kilimanjaro or visit the Holy Land for my fiftieth birthday, but COVID stopped those plans. Instead I rest in knowledge that life continues with nothing big needed to mark the passing of the years while remembering God is in control. This article from Jared Wilson titled Midlife, Christ Is puts many of my thoughts to words well. So although I cannot put becoming fifty years old into words, Wilson does it for me well.
By God’s grace, I don’t feel the need to buy a sports car or to make a career change or to blow up my marriage. But I do think a lot about the distant past and the quickly approaching future. And I don’t know how anybody handles these things without walking with Jesus.
In midlife, Christ is a consolation for all the things I wish I’d done differently. He doesn’t change my past, but he can redeem it. And I’ve discovered he is faithful to do that. He does not judge me by my actions but by his own, freely given to me in love.
In midlife, Christ is a companion through all the worries and stresses. I’ve gotten more serious about my health over the last year and a half, and while I have no illusions about having the strength and energy I did at 25, I have no doubts that my friend Jesus is as strong as he’s ever been, and wherever I have to go, I know he will go with me. There is no partner like the King of the Universe who will never leave me or forsake me.
In midlife, Christ is a constant encourager. His Spirit has been bearing fruit in my life all along, and the longer I walk with him, the further down the narrow road I wander, the sweeter I find him, and the more precious. As so much is wasting away — including myself, day by day — his renewing presence sustains me, cheers me. I cannot imagine getting old without the daily newness of his mercies.
And I can’t imagine dying without him.
Reading those words warms my heart as what Wilson writes rings true. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness to me and my family. At midlife, Christ most definitely is!
I bet we all dislike arguing, at least at a certain level. I have a couple teenagers in my house that seem to embrace it. But even they reach a point where they realize it is getting nowhere. Finding common ground when possible, affirmation of one another as people, and seeking understanding seem to be keys to ending arguing and turning toward discussion. And so I get to this article that I thought was interesting, especially in our East Africa context.
Disagreements in the church discourage me these days. Not the existence of disagreements—those are to be expected. We’ve been living with disagreement since the days of the early church. I’m talking about the way we handle debate.
In the blog post Are Tattoos Worse than Adultery?, Trevin Wax explains how different cultures can come to completely different viewpoints even regarding things that seem to be obvious. And so I want to be a person who moves from disagreement to understanding and peace. I definitely need to be better at cross-cultural communication.
. . . you might be surprised when rounding a corner, come to a complete stop, and then grab your camera! I know this is just a normal thing for people who have grown up here, although even Kenyans generally get excited when they see the big animals up close. However for a kid from Oklahoma, these sightings are always exceptional.
RVA usually has quite a few trips planned during the year. Poor David has missed two big ones he was supposed to take because of the COVID pandemic. One was to Zanzibar, and the other was probably to Ethiopia. Sarah missed her sixth grade safari last year. We are hoping that the seniors get to go on their Senior Safo to the beach at the end of the year. Missing that will bring the entire last two years to a crashing, sad end. Most of the kids that we know will at that point be glad to have high school behind them and moving on to hopefully better things in college. My friend Matt tells his kids, and I echo “You don’t want to peak in high school!” No worries about that for this year’s RVA class. Below are some pictures of Sarah with the 7th and 8th graders at Hell’s Gate National Park. They did rock climbing, repelling, cycling, and hiking. The rock climbing and repelling were reported as fun, no one chose hiking, and the cycling was hot and tiring. However, the cycling had the climax of having giraffes and zebras running alongside at about 10 feet distance. That is pretty cool!
I went on a long hike this week. I am not a runner. I have been a cycler in the past. Currently I am a walker. Few exercises are more enjoyable than a long walk with a good podcast or book. This one was long . . . almost 8 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain. You can see small out and back spurs from the main road when I followed untravelled trails that ended up being dead ends. The best part was an “Africa” moment. As I crossed a creek my older dog went running and barking around a bend. I came around the corner and saw what I suspected I might see. On the small cliffs and trees over the creek were a troop of baboons. It looked like a what a zoo might create in the baboon cage mimicking an African setting. A small river with cliffs and trees and baboons. It was a little far for a good iPhone picture, but take my word for it that it was awesome.
From the article “Is God For Us” by by Adam McClendon on the website “For the Church”. Thinking like he describes helps me to trust God in all circumstances, even when they do not fit what I think they should be.
In other words, God is focused on you, yes, but he does so within the grand scope of his redemptive plan for his people. It is about you, as you are a part of a greater body, and God’s securing of that body, even if that means bruising a toe to save the leg. Believer in Jesus, may God deliver us from our “me-centered” lives and help us see that he is orchestrating a tapestry of redemption, and it is our privileged to be used in any way he sees fit. If that means being faithful in a bad marriage as a witness to my spouse, my children, and the world, so be it. If that means risking it all to tell my family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers that Jesus loves them, so be it. If that means selling my home and moving to the mission field, so be it. If that means that I buy an Accord instead of a Lexis, or for most of us, I buy a used car instead of a new car, so that I can give the difference to those in need, so be it. If it means being a faithful witness while cancer ravishes my child’s body, so be it. If it means forgiving the drunk driver who killed my spouse in the car accident, so be it. If it means being faithful in the midst of great financial blessing as my stock portfolio goes through the roof, so be it.
In the end, my life is not my own. It belongs to the King. May we get our minds off of ourselves and our possessions and our families alone and surrender ourselves to God more fully. May we surrender our immediate comfort and happiness and pursue holiness saying, “God, use me as you see fit for your glory and the promotion of your kingdom among the nations.”
I differ from his text a bit as he has the comment “May we surrender our immediate comfort and happiness and pursue holiness saying . . ” I actually think the key to both short-term and long-term happiness is having this attitude.