This past month, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the homes of many of my students. It’s been more than a privilege to be welcomed inside their homes, to meet their families, and to understand more of where they come from. Some of their homes consist of little besides a place to sleep and a place for a fire, but boy are they proud to show it off to their mzungu teacher. And boy do I feel blessed for being considered valued enough to see deeper into their lives.
A group of my students on the porch of Marian’s home
Christine, with her mother, inside their home
Joseph and I outside his home
With Mary, the mother of one of my students, in her kitchen
Chulayo in his home
In Kulmise’s home, making chapatis with her cousin
Outside the home of Eysimbasele, one of our night guards
What makes a place a home?
Is it the four walls (or in most cases here, the dome of sticks) that surround you as you sleep at night? Is it a place you’ve been for a sustained period of time? Is it the relationships with the people surrounding you? I'd like to think that it's a nice blend of all these, with the people giving purpose and meaning to the structure and location.
Three summers ago, my home was within eyesight of the mist of Niagara Falls. The following summer, the mountainous backdrop of West Virginia became my home. Last summer, I was back to where my roots are in good ole suburban Delaware. And now this summer, my home is found within the remote desert of Northern Kenya.
And after six months here in Kenya, I’ve settled in well and become adjusted to life and routine here. Right now, this is my home. But I also know this isn’t permanent. In six more months, I will pick up my life here, and go back to Delaware, to where I grew up and to where the majority of my family and friends live.
But at the end of the day, Delaware isn’t permanent either. Not because I have some grand plans to travel somewhere else when I return, but because no place is permanent.
And whether you've moved so many times that you've lost count or you've never been outside the boundaries of your state, I’m reminded how fleeting the term "home" is.
Ultimately, our home is not here on this earth. We were not just made for this existence. I am looking forward to the day when I meet Jesus face-to-face. Then I will be home. For good.
“For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” [Hebrews 13:14]
The same God who I will spend forever with in Heaven is the same God who loved us enough to send his Son, Jesus, to earth so that we could be brought back into a relationship with Him in the first place. I don’t deserve this Home. None of us do. But Jesus offers it to us all as a free gift. This home that will never change, never become broken, never end. Whether you read the Bible or not, I would encourage you to check out John 14 to read what Christ says about this.
Yes, I anticipate the day when I will be reunited with my family and friends back in America, but most of all, I am yearning for the time when I will finally, truly, be home.
This is my temporary home // It’s not where I belong // Windows and rooms that I’m passing through // This is just a stop on the way to where I’m going // I’m not afraid because I know this is my Temporary Home