Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your prayers and support for this mission field of Kenya. Now we are in the rainy season. Sometimes it rains “cats and dogs” in Nairobi. When it rains, people here say that it is a blessing, because crops in the field need the rain to grow well. However toward the end of last April, a few buildings in Nairobi collapsed due to the heavy rain. The blessing turned into a tragedy. People lost their lives. I see sometimes things turn into something else which was not intended. For example, I prepared handwork for children after a pattern of an owl because I saw owl crafts in almost every shop I entered during my visit to IBPFM in Philadelphia. I found it is nice and easy for children. So one day I arranged a class to make paper owls. They seemed to enjoy it. Only after a couple of months the very teacher who conducted the class told me that the owl is a bad omen in Kenya. People think of death when they see it. Why didn’t she inform me earlier? What did parents think of me or the Sunday school teaching when their children came back home with a paper owl in their hands? Sometimes things happen that you have not intended.
Normally I get busy during the vacation holiday. Last April, immediately after the final exam, I had to travel back home to see a doctor. It was to follow up the medical case after the operation last year. The examination was done and the result was optimistic. I was thankful for the medical service of the hospital because it treats missionaries free of cost; moreover it is a well-known hospital in the field of which I needed the medical care. Of course for this treatment I had to submit a number of documents to prove my missionary service on the field. Anyway my airfare was covered by the free hospital fee. On the other hand, it was an opportunity to visit my parents. My mom’s food, TV news in the Korean language, and the fresh green leaves of spring were enjoyable.
Then I got back to the Bible College of East Africa a week before the end of the month. Receipts, pay slips, bills, etc. were there waiting to be recorded in the bookkeeping. BCEA kindergarten teachers were back to prepare to open the school the following week. We do lesson plans, cleaning, decorating and arranging classrooms or even shopping for teaching materials to prepare for the new term.
Most of the Junior Youth in the Campus church would go back to their boarding school by May 3rd. Before they went back, the last Saturday of April, more than ten children came for a one-day Bible camp. At this time they read the book of Nehemiah. Other activities like cooking, eating, praying, etc. went smoothly though we had to change some of our plans due to the heavy rain during the camp. After the Sunday service they left to their respective schools for another term. Those who do schooling as day scholars in Nairobi are the ones who attend the fellowship regularly. Last term, with the help of a few Christian friends, I could afford storybooks only for the children. They borrow books and return them after a month. It is interesting to observe that they prefer storybooks in the Swahili language than the classics of the English language. They say they would need a dictionary to read the English story books.
Before opening a new term of BCEA, I needed to work out room and duty arrangements in the women’s dormitory and calculation of school fee balances of students. Finally students came back from vacation and began classes on May 10th. Normally the very first class is a hard one for everyone because some are still in the mood of home with family and others are in the mood of missions outside. Some are too tired because of the overnight journey that they did to come to Nairobi.
This is how I spent my time during last vacation. Most vacations, I am busy with children’s ministry inside or outside of the BCEA compound, or my duties in BCEA, or attending medical treatment. For this reason, I travel to different parts of Kenya and even abroad. One day I was talking to my neighbor. She said that she wanted her child to become a missionary. I expected a spiritual reason.
The reason that she gave was something far from my expectation. She said missionaries travel and she wanted her child to travel also. Whoops, I was surprised that things can be interpreted this way. Then was this the impression that I give to others in my missionary service? I thought I was serious about my service. I chose not to explain but remained silent. If the service is genuine, its fruits will give better explanations than my words. Now, if they see only this far, can they see a further inner struggle of missionaries in their sense of belonging; a foreigner on the mission field, and a stranger back home because of being away for years? However the goal of our lives is to encourage others to proceed on, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:14)
Thank you for your prayers and support for this field of Kenya. May the Lord be with you and give you His peace from above.
In His service,
Bai, Eun Young