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outside looking in

"From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

As a former student of Texas A&M, I'm accustomed to strange traditions. In fact, I even embrace some odd ones myself. Most of the traditions embraced by Aggies can't be explained to those looking in - especially to those who didn't grow up watching Aggie traditions. This is how I felt on my first trip to Kenya in so many ways.

Before deciding to travel to Kenya with the team, I heard the stories. The excitement. The passion for Christ that was so evident in those they served with. The smells. The sights. The presence of Christ in direct conversations with those from half a world away. I heard all the stories. Yet, I didn't fully internalize a single one of those stories in the way that can only be explained through experience. To those attempting to explain what Kenya is like, I apologize, but I just didn't get it.

Therefore, I won't attempt to provide an exact replica or long explanation of what Kenya is like. Kenya is what it is. It's on the same planet that God made 2000+ years ago and has directed its path ever since. The God that protects us is the same God that protects Kenyans. In many ways, that's where the similarities end. The culture is so vibrantly different than the one we are accustomed to - marred by poverty, yet exorbitantly blessed in so many other ways. While we may seem rich, in many ways, the Kenyans view us as poor, especially when it comes to relationships with others. And while the traditions among the Maasai are strong and may seem strange to the outsider, the traditions are a product of the environment, just as traditions in College Station are a product of the college town environment.

What I can tell you about the similarities is this: Christ died for all. All from the US, all from Kenya. No exceptions. His love and grace bind us to Him, so that one day we will all be with Him in heaven, not because of anything we've done to earn His mercy, but because Christ took the punishment we so aggregiously deserve. The celebration that will one day occur in heaven will be a joyous affair, and I for one, know there will be praise sung to God in Maasai. Trips to Kenya, in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the local congregations, accomplish two things: 1. Adding to that chorus through God's divine intervention 2. Dress rehearsal for that day in heaven when we will all sing in Maasai and English in common understanding of how great our God is. Hopefully that explains it.

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