"And if you SPEND YOURSELVES on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."

"The Lord will continually guide you. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."- Isaiah 58:10-11

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Some differences between the US and Kenya

We have arrived back in Kenya after a wonderful visit to the United States!  We thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family and getting to spend time planning for the future face-to-face with Oasis staff members planning for the future.  Each time we visit, we are also struck by the differences between Kenya and the U.S. and that is the focus of our letter this month. 

Oasis Get Together 

The first difference is the presence of old friends and family.  Though many have come to visit us in Kenya, we miss the day-to-day interactions with our former small group, neighbors, church friends, Oasis friends, and our amazing families.  While our previous visits were in the winter, summer has lent itself to building lasting memories with many of these precious people! We wish we had time to see everyone but as they say in Kenya, next time.

Rick's side of the family
Ann's side of the family

Second is food!  It took us a week or so to re-acclimate to the rich American diet but we pushed through the discomfort and forced down deep dish pizza, fast-food anything, ice cream, grapes, blueberries, and of course slushies! In addition, we found clean water from the tap remarkable and ingenious.

One of our awesome host friends/families!

Visiting colleges with good friends!
Water-skiing with the cousins
Fun in Lake Geneva with great friends!

The last difference is the contrast between being supported and being a supporter. When we visit the US, we are often among the financially neediest people in the room.  Recognizing this, so many of you generously provided us with food, gave us bags full of clothes for our children, planned entertainment opportunities and provided lodging for us.  Words cannot express our gratitude to you for your generosity.  We felt beyond blessed every day and appreciate your support in physical, spiritual, and emotional ways.  As soon as we stepped foot in Kenya this shifted 180 degrees for us and we felt the burden of being the supporters again.  After leaving the airport, we didn’t even reach home from the airport without receiving phone calls from seven different people needing help. This is not easy for us.  It goes against our cultural bent and leaves a constant pressure to discern God’s voice in saying yes or no. Though it can be wearying, this is part of why we are here, to meet the needs that God brings into our paths every day.

Thank you to all of you for your support and encouragement.   We love you and look forward to the next time we can see you face to face. 

Other differences:                                                                                 
Cost of 1 lb of grapes in the US: $2.99          Cost of 1 lb of grapes in Kenya: $10.00 
Cost of a dozen roses in the US: $25.00       Cost of 20 roses in Kenya: $2.40           
Average income in the US: $200/day           Average income in Kenya: $2.00/day  
Cost of 1 lb of coffee: $12.00                          Cost of 1 lb of coffee: $9.00                    
High school fees in the US: $250                   High school fees in Kenya: $1400.00