Stories From Kenya, Part 1: I Love Lucy

Hi friends!

Now that I'm feeling a little bit (a LOT!) better, I want to dive into Kenya and share some stories with y'all from our amazing trip. There are so many wonderful memories from my time there, and I'd like to write them all down, but I fear that would take months! So let's start with a little girl who turned out to be an extraordinary gift...

Our arrival in the village of Marwa that early Saturday morning was nothing short of miraculous. Our bus was swamped by a thousand tiny hands, eager to touch us and hear our voices. We were rockstars. They were our adoring fans. Little did they know just how much we adored them.

Getting off the bus was no mean feat. No one on our team could move more than one tiny step at a time, as hundreds of smiling, laughing little ones reached out for the chance to hold our hands, put on our sunglasses, or clutch our fingers. All any of us could do was look up at each other, our eyes like saucers, our faces stretched wide with grins, and think, "Me?"

At least, that's what I was thinking. In that incredible moment, I saw Jesus clearer than I ever have before. One of my team members later said she believed the children of Marwa showed us what Jesus wants to see in our faces: Expectation without fear. Love without condition. Hope.

I saw I had much to learn from these children...one in particular.

We spent every morning and afternoon at the village for the next five days, teaching in classrooms, helping with construction on the secondary school, and building relationships. By Monday, I realized one little girl kept showing up wherever I was, her bright, gap-toothed smile wide each time I looked down to see her standing next to me. I'll admit that with nearly identical school uniforms (save various stages of wear and tear) and uniformly shaved heads, it took me some time to recognize familiar faces. This beautiful little girl couldn't have been more than six years old, but her expression was always one of curiosity and understanding that defied her years. She looked at me like she could see through every fear and flaw and peer straight into my heart. Perhaps she could...for that's where she remains.



My best girl.

Each day, when the children greeted us, I would look down and see her face. She sought me out. I couldn't imagine why, or what she saw in me that made us gravitate towards one another like magnets, but it was my favorite time of day...seeing her face and feeling the tug of her hand on mine.



Dancing with Jennifer during "Little Sally Walker."
 Finally, I asked our 410 Bridge coordinator, Anne, how to ask "What's your name?" in Kikamba, the little girl's native tongue (they speak fluent English and Swahili, as well, but I wanted to make my best effort).

Anne said something that sounded like "Wait-ah wat-ah" and I turned to the little girl and repeated the phrase.

She smiled shyly and dipped her head low. "Lucy," she replied in a small voice.

My heart lept.

"Jesus," I thought, "How is that you love me so much?"

I almost didn't dare believe what I'd heard. Lucy. Could it be true?

When I was a child, I would sit for hours and watch episode after episode of "I Love Lucy." I couldn't get enough. I still can't. Lucille Ball will forever fascinate and inspire me. She's brought me more laughter than anyone else in this world. To say that I'm a fan would be a gargantuan understatement.

Years ago, I decided I wanted to name my daughter Lucy- in honor of my favorite commedianne- in hopes of instilling a strong, independent spirit, a love for life, and a passion for family and community.


Lucy, representing my alma mater.

Me and my girl.

Anyone who knows me knows this...and hearing that this child's name was Lucy was a gift from the Savior, an acknowledgement of what I mean to Him, a whisper of His love to remind me when I forget.

Lucy.

Lucy.

What a sweet sound.

Until next time,

Wendi

1 comment

C.Curley said...

How awesome is that?? God works in miraculous ways for sure! :)