By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Goodbyes are always hard. We left our wintry home in Minnesota fourteen days ago. Although we feel some fatigue and are missing our loved ones, bidding farewell to our Imara family has come so quickly. It seems the moms are more aware of the goodbye impact than I recall in prior years. Clearly the kids are clinging. Caleb simply stood near our vehicle in the driveway and the BIG tears just kept rolling down his cheeks – no wailing or screaming or attention-grabbing actions, just tears. Young Bella just turned and walked away, perhaps to conceal her emotions. And the staff, which by the way is the absolutely the best ever, seemed particularly grateful for our presence and visibly conscious of our departure.
We want to express our appreciation for the very positive organizational improvements in the last year. We commend the current staff for their diligence in caring for visitors as well as their daily service to the moms and children. On our final day at the home, we were treated to a Kenyan cultural experience with a tasty dinner including meat stew, chapati, rice and all the fixings.
Uncle Gipson, groundskeeper and daytime security guard, seemed very pleased with the results of our home improvement projects, including the wooden platforms under two large storage cabinets in the main room and the enlarged sheep house including a new door. The sheep house will soon be occupied by patriarch Winston Churchill and his family of six, including nearly one week old Ester Jan. As the sheep family moves to new quarters, the chicken coop will then be available for a new crop of layers to provide a daily supply of eggs to the kitchen.
Our final team devotion started with the scripture from Romans 5:3-4: “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope.” We discussed the times when we might have been tempted to give up during this mission trip as well as some of the highs and lows where persistence counted. As we left for Amsterdam and then MSP, we had another perseverance opportunity when the airline showed great inflexibility in handling a ticket issue with one of our team. We persevered (politely, of course). We are returning home together, as a team, as one.
We relate to Ovid’s thought, “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force, but through persistence” and “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone (author unknown).” We see much perseverance in the Imara family. We feel this team has persevered well through some of the bumps in our road. This has been a mighty mission experience. The group that God brought together is special. We experienced lots of hard work, great fun, and we all feel growth personally and spiritually. Thank you dear Lord for sending us together.
Our journey home includes some time at the Triangle Market where personal and Imara Gala acquisitions fill our empty supply luggage with both volume and weight: almost fifty pounds each bag. You can see (and purchase) these Kenyan hand-crafted treasures for yourself on Sunday, November 5 at the Imara International Gala, along with updates on the new Imara Village and more heartfelt life stories from Carol and her Kenyan family.
We return with renewed respect and hope for Carol’s great dream in Nanyuki. Our love and regard for the Kenyan people again grows. We bring with us some improvement ideas about inventory management, mission team economics, board-to-board interactions, and development and advancement strategy. We thank Carol and Sandy for their great care for us.
We look forward to the next steps together.