"If you want to walk fast, walk alone.
If you want to walk far,
walk with others."
- African Proverb
Welcoming a Foreigner
(second in a series)
When I set out that morning for Kithituni, a three-hour drive from Nairobi, I had no idea how that day would change my life. In Africa, as in the rest of the world, land is vitally important. It puts food on the table, but it is also a major force in the lives of the people living there. Wars are fought over it. Boundary lines are known to the exact inch. Land is passed down from generation to generation. So why would a family in a rural village in Kenya invite a foreigner to live on a piece of their family land?
As I sat with the family’s patriarch, his wife and their two sons, I ﬁelded many questions: “How will you live among us? Will you put a high fence around your home? Will we be able to come in for a cup of tea?” I knew a fence wasn’t part of the plan, and I could certainly make a cup of tea!
After hours of conversation, the mother of the family spoke: “We have listened to April. She could live in the city or anywhere in the world, but God has led her here. God has a plan for us. We don’t understand everything He does, but we have to walk in faith. April, you are welcome to our family.” With that, the patriarch put on his hat, picked up his walking stick and said, “Come, we’ll show you the land prepared for you.”
When I stepped onto that land, I knew it was what God had planned for me. A generation before, a grandmother in this family was given a vision of a person from another country living on this land and adding another branch to the family. It began a journey for me of community and belonging that I will always deeply treasure.
Our destinies are not formed in our lifetime. One generation prepares the way for the next. Nelson Henderson puts it this way: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
What legacy are you preparing for those who will follow after you?