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Submitted by Karen Rispin on Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:00

I’m in Kenya right now.

I'm here with the LeTourneau University Wheels team,which I lead.  This time, there are five students and two other LeTourneau faculty members with me. Yesterday, I came up to Kijabe alone for two days to meet with the BethanyKids leadership. I’m feeling grateful, both to the two other faculty members taking leadership with the LeTourneau University Wheels team while I’m away, and grateful to the BethanyKids leadership for the invitation and the chance to facilitate their goals.  Its lovely to work with such great people. 

The room I’m staying in reminds me of the dorm rooms where I stayed as a child at Rift Valley Academy, which is just up the hill from where I’m sitting writing this. Construction methods here include the use of concrete and African hardwood with metal windows designed for security. It’s the wet season. At Kijabe that means chilly temperatures, red mud, and nearly constant fog, cloud and rain.  It also means cold cement and iron and no heating unless one is blessed to have a fireplace. To me it also feels emotionally cold because it brings back the lonely feelings I had here as a child away from family.

Grace is knowing we have meaningful work in a loving community.It’s a real reminder of God’s grace.

Last night, I had been planning to make myself a quick meal in the shared kitchen, but the stove was not working. Instead of being alone, I was unexpectedly invited to a very pleasant supper.  

As a child and even as an adult, I’ve often felt somewhat outcast. Phil has been such a comfort!! Thank you Phil! I think all of us long to be part of something meaningful and to be part of a community.

I’ve come to love the Bible passage in the book of Philippians, chapter one. Just after the well-known verse where Paul explains that he isn’t worried about dying in prison.  he goes on to say, “If I am to go on living in the body, that will mean fruitful labor for me.”  I am so grateful that Phil and I have meaningful jobs facilitating the work of wonderful people who are reaching out to give hope to those living with disabilities. 

I’ve become very aware that there is hope and meaningful work, even for those who are feeling the most isolated and unable. Some of the quotes by Joni Eareckson Tada, who is herself in a wheelchair, have come to mean a tremendous amount to me: “Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in you.”