So I took a trip to Nairobi, Kenya for a passion conference. It was very eventful and I learned a few things from this.
First of all, the thought of traveling was not on my mind right away. The announcements were made in church, but it never for once crossed my mind that I would be in Nairobi if I wanted to.
It was a fat ‘NOT INTERESTED’ from me. Everything concerning this passion trip was not my kind of want-to-do thing. How wrong I was!
I had a few misgivings, logistical issues to consider, and not forgetting emotional concerns. I could not imagine leaving my son behind with anyone for more than one nite. Passion trip would mean spending more than 3 nites away. That was not appealing at all. I knew I was not going.
About 2 days to departure date, I felt different. It was like a strong force was urging me to sign up for this trip. It was funny considering that it was costly for me and I had no idea how this cost would be covered. I only knew one thing, I was going. I signed up. My deposit for the trip was Zero, My balance was “the whole amount”. It was Monday and the trip was Wednesday Evening. I knew I was a total joke for even considering signing up for this.
By Tuesday after noon, I knew that it would only take a miracle for me to get on the bus to Nairobi for Passion conference. As I sat on my desk at work, I kept asking God, ‘is this what I am supposed to do or not? Pliz show me a sign! I will be happy with whatever.’
That evening, a friend called me and told me that I was going. She assured me that God was taking care of the details. I went for choir practice lighthearted. Everything was falling into place. I was travelling. There were however a few more hiccups. I had not secured my travel documents . I started to panic. Every one gave me their own version of what was going to happen to me if I reached the border without one. The time I had left to rush to immigration to grab the document, was running so fast and yet I had to take care of a few details that were most important.
Wednesday morning, I had my bags packed, got Hamlet to the salon to have his hair trimmed (forgive me for the details), and then got him to another location where he would spend time while I was away. It was a very emotional morning for me. After dropping him at my friend’s place, I couldn't go to immigration. I felt very homesick even before I left the country. It felt strange.
I decided I would take the risk of clearing from the border and if the worst happened and I was bounced, then I could just back home to my son.
Eventually, time to set out reached and I knew that everything was going to be fine. It was going well. Once we got to the border, everyone moved out for clearance. I first made a silent prayer before I moved out that I would find favor before the immigration officials. I then moved to the line. I was amazed. I was cleared ahead of most people that had their passports with them. It was a great relief to me. I learned how God was paving the way for me. Everything was going smoothly.
Then we got to Nairobi. And I had to overcome another fear I had. Where was I going to sleep? I was scared. I kept imagining all the things that could go wrong if I stayed in the wrong place.
The sleeping arrangement was a bit challenging. I shed a few tears. I knew I needed to let God work things out for me. It was me and Him. I needed to learn a few lessons. I am glad that I did.
I learned that He was my one true friend, and the scripture that keeps warning me of not trusting in human beings was very much clear to me. I was to look to Him and no one else.
A few other things happened but each moment was a learning experience for me. Every time we spent praying together was like every prayer echoed what was in my heart. I needed to know that this trip was not about me. It was about Jesus. One of the younger girls on the trip, that I have come to love and respect for her maturity made a statement, “ we did not come on vacation, we came to serve God”. I was deeply touched. This is a girl that is about 12 years younger than me. But she got it. she knew that everything concerning that trip was about honoring Christ not about having fun and comfort. (This does not mean that we did not have fun).
This trip taught me that Christ could make what seemed impossible, very possible (considering my logistical issues with very limited time), He could remove man-made barriers that hindered ministry progress (My immigration situation), He was my only true friend (human friends could disappoint!) , He required sacrifice and love from me (which I learned a lot).
The Passon nite was amazing, the worship was great. I dancing and ran around until I almost couldn't breathe (it was a good thing, though!). Pastor's message was amazing. I recorded it, so I would never forget. And we had to finally come home.
This passion trip was one that I will always remember. There were lessons learned. Most of all I learned that everything is about Jesus. Nothing else matters.