Leaving our warm African neighborhood
For our (c)Old Kentucky Home!
We have arrived home safely after a long, tiring journey. Along the way, we experienced God’s care for us through the kindness of different people. One friend arranged for our airport pickup and hotel accommodations in Dar es Salaam. (We stayed in a quiet, peaceful Catholic Retreat Center). The hosts on our Arab Emirates flights were very thoughtful about all our needs. We were met in Washington D.C. by long-time friends, who allowed us to stay a few days with them to recuperate from our long journey across the ocean. Our son and his friend drove up to Baltimore, MD to pick us up and to drive us home. When we arrived home after a long day on the road, we found our house warmed by the kitchen wood stove and the presence of a house full of friends and family. Our daughter Anna had organized a nice welcome home dinner for us.
We have been encouraged greatly by these and other examples of love from our church and community. This is helpful, since we have been experiencing mixed emotions about being back in America. It is good to be home and to see everyone here, but we also miss our friends that we left behind. I told our children beforehand that it would hurt deeply when we left, but even though this is hard to go through, it is still a good thing. To experience sorrow when parting with friends is proof that the friendship is real and meaningful, that we have had an impact on each other’s lives.
After a few days of rest, we have jumped back into our “regular” lives here in Kentucky with both feet, and life is busy and full again. But we are not the same people we were when we left. It’s going to take some time to process it all mentally and emotionally. Living in a different country with a different culture changes us, and it should. This is not because it is so much better there than here; there are problems in every place we could live. It has to do with letting our hearts truly care about our neighbors wherever we live and investing ourselves into their lives. God calls us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).
I’d like to share a couple of emails we received recently that touched our hearts.
Hello! Mr & Mrs Nathan,
Praise the Lord! We are all fine since you leave Mwanza. Until now we are still remembering your company; sharing food together and some ideas.We are very sorry for being quiet for many days without sending any message to you, please excuse us. Though we still hope you are so fine, also we believe your journey was very nice. You've reached home safely with the grace and blessing of God.
My wife and I are still having joy because the gift you were to our family. But in spite this fact, we can't forget you anymore. Always we'll remember you, your children and everything you've done for us. We can't forget your love, your hospitality and your compassion to us. You were so different than the other WAZUNGU (foreigners) – you behaved as African people. Your heart is very nice and truly we love you. We are so sad for missing you and we don't know in which way again we can meet, because the distance between us is very far, like the sky and the ground.
The community of Nyakato is really missing your presence. Your house is vacant, the playground is also empty every evening. We no longer see children around the house, even in the compound. So, this sign indicates how your family occupied the whole Nyakato compound. May God bless you. I hope you are now recovering from the long journey you had as from Mza – Dar – Kentucky. “Pole sana” (Very sorry). Greetings to Mama, Anna, Svetlana, Irina, Susanna, Jonathan, and Katurah and her family (especially to her mom). Wish you a good recovery in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rev. Capt. Nestor
Many people ask us, “So, how was Africa?” We don’t have good answers for that question. How can one put our experience into words that are meaningful to someone who has never been there? As my wife said to me after we had lived in Nyakato for a few months, “I saw the pictures you brought back from your other trips, but I still could never have imagined what it is like here until I came with you and experienced it for myself.” The Lord is good and we have been greatly blessed to have lived in Tanzania with our family. We are not done with the ministry there, but we need to allow time for the Lord to give us direction concerning our continued work with our Christian brothers and sisters in Africa. I will be continuing to post articles once a month to share ideas, memories, news, and information.
May the peace of Christ be with you,
Sharing memories of ....
Visiting together in the evening
Drinking coffee together in the morning
Conversing together in the afternoon
and Praising the Lord together!