Update from the USA

December 12, 2008 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Good morning!

Here is a good scripture passage for this time of year…

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work” (II Corinthians 9:6-8).

Our venue has changed from my last writing. We have moved from the plains of Kenya to the flatlands of northern Florida. Wow! What a difference. We have been going through a kind of reverse culture shock since returning to the states. Driving on smooth road with lines, order in the traffic, and safely driving at night was the first big thing that we noticed. Being able to go to a water fountain and get a drink was another luxury we had gotten away from. I’m afraid that as Americans we too often take for granted the riches that we have and don’t realize that most of the world doesn’t begin to compete with such things.

We have spent a little time in shopping malls and restaurants and wonder about all the recession talk. The stores are full, the restaurants are full, and people seem to be going on with their holiday plans as if they are invulnerable to financial hard times. Again, it seems to be all a matter of perspective. If you have a job, insurance, and manageable mortgage then the recession doesn’t seem to hurt so badly, but if those safeguards are not in place I am sure that many are feeling the pinch. All I know is that in Kenya the recession doesn’t appear to be noticed yet. When so many have so little it’s hard for them to be concerned about having less.

We left the campus of ANU last Thursday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. We arrived at the home where we were staying in preparation for our first service 41 hours later. There was a lot of sitting in airports and long flights that took up our time. We were two very weary travelers when we finally hit the bed that night. We did see some interesting things are we traveled however. Dubai’s airport was like a luxurious shopping mall – complete with a McDonalds (which, of course, we had to sample). Throughout the airport not only were there fancy stores and businesses, but also Rolex clocks mounted on the walls all over the place. The bright lights of the city were a sharp contrast to the dark streets of Nairobi that we have gotten used to.

Also, Gatwick Airport in London was a new experience for us. It gave us an opportunity to get on line again and let family know that we were progressing in our travels. It too was a beautiful airport – all decked out for the holiday season. We had plenty of time there to look around and do a little window shopping before our next flight. From London we flew 10 hours to Atlanta where we went through customs and finally stepped foot on Amercian soil. It was a long trip and good to be home.

We only had one snag in our travels and it happened after we had already picked up our rental car and made our way to the neighborhood where we were to stay for the next few days. Our hosts, Leroy and Janet Holt, had told us that they might not be home when we arrived and so we were invited to go on into the house and make ourselves at home. So when we arrived we proceeded to do just that. The door was unlocked and we went inside and sat a bag down and then returned to the car to unload all of our other bags into the driveway and were just preparing to carry them into the house when a car pulled up in the driveway. To our surprise it was not our friends and we found that it was also not their house. Their house was two doors down, but it had exactly the same floor plan as the one where we had entered. We quickly made an embarrassed retreat and went on down where we were supposed to be. The funny thing is that if we had been given fifteen more minutes the neighbors would have found our luggage in their spare bedroom and us plopped down in front of their television. Talk about a surprise for all!

We didn’t realize until later that we had left our first bag in the first house and had to call to get it back. Fortunately, the owner was a minister of music at a local Methodist Church and he was good-natured about it all. After all, it wasn’t breaking and entering; it was more of a entering and depositing. I guess after 41 hours of travel and only 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before that we were liable to do anything. We all had a good laugh about it the next morning.

Even in the midst of an economic recession we have been greeted by wonderful church families and we have a had a wonderful reunion with old friends. The people of Clearwater First, Clearwater Central, Fort Myers First, and Archer, Florida have been more than generous and their kindness to us has been overwhelming. How blessed we are to be a part of a church family that supports mission endeavors is such a great way. This next week we will be in Live Oak, Florida, and Dublin, Wrightsville, Albany, and Gainesville Georgia. We look forward to meeting new friends and telling the ANU story to them. We know the Lord is opening doors for us and we are so grateful for the opportunities to share.

So, this morning we are in the middle of three days of down time. We have been invited to a Christmas party tonight with good folks from Archer and tomorrow night to a banquet with the people of Live Oak. It is so considerate of these churches to include us in their holiday plans! We trust that God will richly bless these folks for their faithfulness to us.

We are able to use Skpye once again, so if you have an account or want to sign up for one on the Internet (it’s free), then perhaps we can talk face to face through a video camera. Just look up Randall Lee James for a connecting number. We have been enjoying getting to see my mom again this way.

Well, there are no zebras, lions, or giraffes to report on this time so I guess I’ll sign off. We look forward to our future travels and will report on them to you next week.

Have a blessed Christmas season!

Randy and Mary Jane
Africa Nazarene University
On the road in the USA


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Update from Africa Nazarene University Update from the USA

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