Comfort, culture and Kenya

Comfort, culture and Kenya

Rose Newbigging

Rose is a young adult fellowshipping at St Stephens in Tāhunanui

Comfort, culture and Kenya

a couple of people hugging

A few weeks ago I came back from a twenty-eight day journey to Kenya with over 30 other young adults, led by Waweru Kanene and Mato Kariuki. We partnered with Nairobi Chapel and volunteered in their ministries, in the hopes that we would learn how they do life and ministry, and experience God’s greatness through another cultural lens.

As soon as we arrived, we were overwhelmed with warmth and hospitality from the locals. I was amazed by the way Kenyan culture valued people, no matter who they were. Despite the financial poverty in Kenya, the people I met were so spiritually rich and their faith in God was truly inspiring. The contrast of cultures made me realise how spiritually and socially poor we are in New Zealand. 

Sit in the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable.

Waweru said when we were over there, ‘Sit in the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable.’ I say that to myself every day now. I’m finding that being comfortable back home is uncomfortable, because I’ve seen over there. Their God is the same God that we have here… So why did theirs seem so much bigger?

I think it’s because we put God in a box. We limit him to what we know. Our culture is so materialistic that it’s easy to rely on our physical comforts and confine God to where he fits nicely beside that. But the joy I saw in Kenya was so pure, because they saw God in every aspect of their lives. They relied on him for all of their needs - physical and spiritual. They welcomed me as family with open arms because they already had everything they needed. I’m even still getting text messages from some of them, checking up on me.

Now that I'm back home, I know that God is continuing the work that he started in me. Teaching me to love others as I was loved in Kenya. Showing me that he’s so much bigger than I thought.

My trip to Kenya was only three and a half weeks long, but I know that I'll be learning from it for a long time to come. I’m still processing the journey. It has truly opened my eyes to a new perspective on life, and I'm excited to see where this journey will take me next.

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We have invited these writers to share their experiences, ideas and opinions in the hope that these will provoke thought, challenge you to go deeper and inspire you to put your faith into action. These articles should not be taken as the official view of the Nelson Diocese on any particular matter.