Being in Nairobi for two weeks has been the best, most soul-healing experience I have had since, well, probably the last time I was in Nairobi. I don’t know what it is about this place, Kibera specifically, that lifts me straight out of whatever problems I am facing and sends me straight into the safe and loving arms of my Savior. When I was here 15 years ago, I was in the midst of an eating disorder. Yet, for the two weeks I was here, the entire disorder disappeared. All the pain, the thoughts, the compulsions, the behaviors were just….gone. Poof. Only to return the moment I stepped foot on American soil again. This time I don’t have an eating disorder, but have been in the midst of great distress, distraction, and suffering.
But yet again, on this African ground I find a peace, purpose, and healing of soul that simply does not exist on American soil. I walk through the streets of Kibera to see the smiling faces and hear the laughter of children who will never know the luxuries I take for granted in America. At the end of every day, my feet are soiled with the blessed dust of the poverty found here. And I do mean the blessed dust of poverty. I know it sounds backwards, but I come home each night to wash the dirt from my feet and it reminds me each time of Jesus. Of Jesus’ love and humility.
Jesus, the pure and perfect son of a righteous God, who bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, showing us how He…the living God…serves us. Of He who washes the mud, the dirt, the feces from us…something Americans can’t appreciate with our perfectly manicured fingers and toes. Of He who spent His life on earth not holding his kingship as something to be regarded but rather serving, with absolute perfect humility, the “least of these.”
And with God, the ‘least of these’ are always the greatest in His kingdom. And when I am here, I can clearly see why. The “riches” we chase in America are the very same toxins that poison our souls to the point of spiritual death. But this sickness does not exist in poverty. Where there is poverty of riches, there is great spiritual wealth. And in spiritual wealth is such joy. In my eyes, the people…the children… of Kibera are far more spiritually wealthy than anyone else I know. Their hope is not in keeping up with the Jones’s…their hope is in the Lord.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
5 thoughts on “On African Soil”
Good to hear from you, Ruth, and in such a striking, wonderful way. A friend of mine is at the final stages of moving her life to Africa (Uganda) permanently to work with widows and orphans there. I wonder if it might have crossed your mind to do the same (move permanently, that is) since it seems your heart is with the people there? 🙂
Hi Jennifer. Yes it has. Very much so. I have already emailed the founder of the organization I’m with to see if there are any open positions here. I am praying
I had not seen the photos when I made the comment this morning, but I am thrilled to see them now. So clearly shining the love of Christ on your face!!! I’m so SO happy to see this as through your blog I have seen a very small part of the immense struggles and pain I know you have endured. What an amazing turning point this could be for you. I will pray that by God’s will He opens the doors there for you to be an instrument of His truth and love. In love and kindness, your sister, Jennifer
You’re an incredible writer, and I’m moved every time you write. Thank you.
Thank you Daniel. Your words of encouragement have always been and continue to be so humbling. I am grateful!