And so we are, the world over, regardless of language, color or creed. But we don't pray in order to be rewarded with blessings. We are blessed because we pray. It is the act of praying itself that connects us to one another and to God, the greatest blessing of all.
Today is World AIDS Day, a time to remember our blessings and renew our commitment to fight disease and discrimination. Every day my friend Mary awakens singing, "This is the day the Lord hath made..." I am trying to rejoice and be glad in it, even though this is also the day I must return to Massachusetts for probable shoulder surgery. It will be good to be closer to family and friends in the U.S. But it's been three years since I first arrived in Maseno, so I have family and friends in Kenya, as well. And I will miss them.
The people of rural Western Province have taken me in. And, as always, a missioner receives much more than s/he ever gives. There are no words to describe the generosity of people here -- as well as the generosity of all of you, our family "there" -- who have made this time and this work possible. And who will enable it to continue, however God may see fit.
Because I am returning early for medical reasons, the Kenya mission funds remaining in our church treasury will be set aside for a special project. We hope to be able to build an outpatient clinic on church property on the highway below Maseno Mission Hospital. We need to provide better access and care for the sick, as well as to improve the economic stability of the hospital. It is a big hope and a small legacy, but it is a legacy of great love. It is your legacy of love.
I have only been able to serve here because of your individual, corporate, church and diocesan donations. I am also here because Drs. Nan & Gerry Hardison, who have been serving faithfully in Kenya for ten years, kindly invited me to "come and see" -- and because the Mission Personnel staff of The Episcopal Church graciously accepted my application and "sent me forth." It is a blessing to be able to hold one another in prayer as our years increase and our missions evolve.
I will be returning home via Southern Sudan, yet another blessing. It is an honor to be invited to walk for a week in the flip-flops of our friends in Juba and beyond, thanks to the warm welcome of fellow missioner Robin Denney. (See her remarkable blog at http://robin-mission.blogspot.com) These are fragile times in Sudan. Please pray for Robin and for the people she serves.
Wana baraka. We are blessed. I am grateful that we can remain connected to one another in prayerful presence, enveloped by a cloud of witnesses and the blessed company of all faithful people. Asante sana, Mungu God. Asante sana, all of you.