Kirangare reunion

Kirangare reunion

The long, rough road up the mountain from Hedaru to Kirangare is now paved in concrete in places. Still, it rocked me to sleep and jerked me awake many times. I kept thinking of Jesus’s Advent invitations to stay awake! But of course, there was no sleeping through our arrival in Kirangare!

The people sang, waved woven palm leaves, pulled us into hugs, and draped necklaces of flowers on our necks. Afterwards, Mary said, “You didn’t prepare us for this!” Probably there’s just no preparation for it, because so many times I have told the story with pictures and videos and described the blessed “too much”-ness of the Kirangare people’s welcome and love. But how would you know until you know? Until it happens to you?

I posted many pictures on Zion’s Facebook page, including each of us being introduced with our hosts. Mary with Upendo, wife of Pastor Kivatiro. Julie with Evangelist Elisante Rombo and his wife. Wendy with Simon Simon, whose daughter I was blessed to name. Joseph with Jasper John, the chair of the Companionship Committee. You will see tearful faces. Julie said, “I was too overwhelmed to cry! It wasn’t until we sat down in the church building that I burst into tears.” I don’t mean to embarrass anyone with unflattering photos. But how else will I show you?

In the story of God calling the boy Samuel to be God’s prophet, it’s written, “But Samuel did not yet know the Lord.” And there is for many of us this before and after. Before and after we knew the Lord. Before and after we knew love.

I am staying with Pastor Fue and his mother, Elizabeth. She left medical treatment in Dar Es Salaam early to host me. She did not want to miss my visit again, as she did last year. “We love you, and we welcome you,” she said. “Karibu sana. Sana, sana, sana.” You are very welcome. Very, very, very.

Now I must go. To the water they have heated for my morning shower. To the breakfast they have prepared for me. For the love the Lord wishes to make known to the world.