Monday, May 19, 2008


Friends!  So sorry to make you wait for word - but this is the first time I have sat down since arriving in Rwanda.  YES, we arrived!  We made it with our children, all our luggage and everything we carried on us.  God is good!  We were greeted at the Kigali Airport in true African fashion - a delegation of friends waiting to offer words of welcome, warm embraces and help with all our clothes and comforts we brought from home.  The hotel is actually 5 minutes away from the airport, so in no time we were able to settle into our room.

The kids traveled so well - no outbursts, no melt-downs, no worries!  They slept on the longer flights, they enjoyed the airplane food (go figure!), and they kept count of how many planes it took to get to Africa (four, in case you were wondering!).  They did get antsy from time to time.  They wanted to know why Africa was not closer, when they would see Ron and Sarah, and if they would have friends in Africa.  Emma kept repeating 'I'm ready!" to let s know she was ready to board the plane, ready for the plane to move, ready to eat...just READY for the adventure!  I love her enthusiasm!  Justin always asked about the next meal or snack - some things are that same even as you are in transit!  But on one flight he did comment 'there are a lot of brown people on this plane, mama.'  I had to laugh.  Then he added, 'you are still white, mama,'  Indeed, I am still white!  Justin and Emma met their new friend (nanny) last night, and are enjoying their first day with her.  Right now they are enjoying their nap.  (Oh, they finally saw Ron and Sarah, so they are at peace!)

Claude has been in constant motion since we hit the tarmac in Kigali - no surprise!  He has already managed to go out for a fresh shave, get cell phones and buy a soccer ball for the kids!  He is surrounded by great friends who are offering great assistance.  I cannot imagine how he did this last year without the likes of Moses, Sean, Sarah and others!  For those of you who have never witnessed it - there is nothing quite as amazing as Claude in Africa!  I am a blessed women, indeed, to be with him.  

Today we have been greeting friends all day, as they fly in from the US, Australia, England, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, etc.  It has been a deep joy to meet them at the airport, to welcome to La Palisse for the gathering and to see them connect with one another.  There is a spirit of sweet reunion as you watch people find each other again, and it is beautiful to be a part of so many encounters!  As Kent Hotaling says, it never gets old!  

And me?  I am tired, but also energized.  I am a bit torn between the greeting of old friends, meeting new friends and helping the nanny get acclimated with the kids!  I think I've only seen Claude in passing all day - but this is to be expected on day one of our gathering!  I am surrounded by amazing friends, how could I not be humbled by their willingness to travel to be with us here?  How could I not be brimming with joy when I am in such company?  My spirit is soaking in these moments, even as my body is longing for another nap!  I have moved from Diet Coke (drinking as much as I could on each flight) to Citron (a lightly carbonated citrus drink), so I am absolutely in Africa now!

Thank you for your prayers and patience.  So far it appears God has been answering all your prayers - as we have been blessed with favor at every turn.  (Right now there is a gentle breeze blowing across the veranda, as I look out to the green hills of Rwanda.)  

Well, I am going to enjoy this quiet time, as friends rest or on tour in Rwanda.  For tonight... The Gathering begins!



Robin Adrian said...

Kelley, I am SO happy to hear that you made it there safely! I will continue to be praying for you all! What a wonderful journey. Love to you all!

Valerie Jackson said...

I love reading your entries . . . especially Justin noticing all the "brown people" on the plane and observing that mama was still white! I sat here all by myself laughing out loud! I will miss those sweet little faces and personalities, but hope their time in Africa creates a lifetime memories! Love & hugs!

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying reading all of your stories. Glad to hear you made it safe and sound. Enjoy your trip and experiences. We await more stories...Cami