Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Return

I sit in my seat and look out the window. The terrain is familiar. The well -populated green soon gives way to a sparse dusty brown. I fidget with my water bottle as I eye my watch only to see it slowly advance by.

I think of friends I love—
on the brink of life
in their prime
just starting out
finishing well—
and know the distance is soon no longer to separate.

I hoped it could lead to this. A teacher’s summer schedule and enough savings and God’s prompting provided a way. A community that you live and breathe in for a year can have a way of opening the seams of your heart and nestling itself right in there. In some sense, returning is like holding your heart out in your hands and undoing those seams so that you can affirm its contents to those whose being is the content itself.

An announcement from the pilot jars me from my thoughts.
“Please make sure your seat belts are securely fastened.
We’ll be landing in Korr in ten minutes. Thank you.”

Korr. A broad smile overtakes my face in acknowledgement of the near reunion with my students, teachers, and others from the community that I so recently called home.

We land in a cloud of dust, and I climb out of the opened door of the small aircraft. I breathe in the air. I feel the heat on my skin. I hear the familiar, yet foreign language from small children nearby. I see the mountains, acacia trees, and rocky, rocky soil. I take it all in. I’m in Korr once again.

I’m greeted by the dear friend whose home will be mine for the next two weeks. We enjoy a meal with her family before setting off to make the oh-so-familiar trek to the group of buildings just past the wells and up the hill where 350 young people come to have their minds and stomachs filled daily.

We approach the classroom where 40 of my pupils sit unaware of their approaching visitor. Surprised laughter and chattering permeates the air as I walk in. Heads turn to the left and to the right for confirmation. One bold pupil speaks out,

“Madam, do you remember me?”
The reply comes easily.
“Of course, Boyden. Of course I remember you.”

I go around and shake each of their hands, using their names to show I haven’t forgotten.

“Hello Lacha!”
“Dorcas, how are you?”
“Greet your family for me, Enoch.”
“Rongo, it’s good to see you!”

It doesn’t take long for my presence on campus to no longer be a secret. The word is out— Madam Christina is back in Korr!

I spent two weeks in Korr at the end of July, and they were filled with much joy, much visiting, much affirming of worth. I ate meals in homes, drank chai on porches, and enjoyed sweets in the staff room. I taught some lessons, supervised  exams, and went on a choir field trip. I hosted a movie day, taught friendship bracelet making (lovingly termed “mzungu beads”), and passed out handwritten letters. I listened to stories, asked questions, and fumbled around in my very limited Rendille and Swahili. I stared at the vast, starry night sky, looked often at the mountains in the distance, and peered out over the desert horizon.

Mostly, I just spent time with people. Enjoying their presence while they appreciated mine. My deepest desire is that in some small way, my return visit further stamps the gospel into their lives. That they would be reminded of their value, not just as individuals, but as children of God, and that my love for them would only point them to the deep, deep love of Jesus.




One night, I spoke to the secondary school students, and I was able to speak of a return much greater than mine. A return that will impact all nations and all tribes. A return that will not only cement the gospel into our lives, but be the very culmination of the gospel itself.

Dear friends, dear family, Christ is coming back. 2000 years ago, he lived on this earth to demonstrate his love for us. And he will come back again, holding out his heart and opening its seams to show his followers where they’ve been safely nestled all along.

He IS coming back, and if we live in light of that knowledge, we will be radically transformed. We practice righteousness now, because we are preparing for righteousness forever. We can withstand the attacks of the one who hates us because we know we are living empowered by the One who loves us. We ground ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, understanding that right living does not come without right knowledge. He will come back, and He will take those who love Him to be with Him forever.

“But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.” [2 Peter 3:13-14]

But God is patient— he wants all to come to a knowledge of him. If you don’t trust in Christ, I encourage you, grab a Bible off a shelf and examine it for yourself. Look at the life of Jesus – the compassion, the mercy, the love—and know that it is for you. Might his return be something you, too, experience with deep joy and confidence in faith.

It brought me much joy to return to Korr, and I look forward with great anticipation to the day that Christ will return and my joy will be complete.

Might you acknowledge all the blessings God has given you this day, and might you look to the sky with eagerness, knowing He will return.


  1. Hope you had a splendid trip! Best.

  2. Christina! Wow, I didn't realize you were going back so soon. I am soooo jealous. Aren't the rural plains of Africa amazing? Aren't the songs of the children wonderful? Isn't being called mzungu hilarious? (I kind of find it endearing). Be encouraged sister. God is with you and wants to lead you in this journey. Continue to share the awesome news of Christ our King! My friend Greg just arrived in Moroto, Uganda just a few days ago...maybe you'll run into each other ;)