Dear Praying Friends,
October and November were very difficult months for me, but God is good, and now I am thoroughly enjoying all the delights of Christmas preparations. Yay!
The beginning of October found me in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, at a language school trying to get my old brain to accept some more Kiswahili words and useful phrases. I have this fantasy that I should be more comfortable in the main language of my adopted country, but sigh… it really is a fantasy.
My good intentions were thwarted the first day of class when I got a phone call from our regional leader in Nairobi, telling me he received a call from our home office in Georgia, telling him they received a phone call from my brother, that my mother had fallen and hit her head and was in the hospital, not conscious and not expected to survive. Needless to say, my lessons were moved from the classroom to a street vendor where my teacher helped me navigate buying a Tanzanian SIM card for my phone so I could call home, which I was then able to do. I had a good talk with my brother and then with my niece and nephew while they were visiting Mom and held the phone to her ear so I could say good-bye, even if she didn’t comprehend.
I did scandalize my teacher when I told her we (my brother and sister and I) were discussing the funeral arrangements before my mother had actually passed. That is so taboo in African culture, tantamount to wishing her dead. But it was complicated trying to decide when to hold the memorial service. I was in Tanzania not only for language school but for meetings with mission and church leaders and for our TZ field conference, at which I was to make a presentation. The next week after my return to Kenya, there was the re-voting for president (the opposition having rejected the first vote in August). There promised to be a lot of mayhem and as a unit leader and member of the contingency committee, I needed to be there through it. After that, I had promised to take the boys from Kibera camping the next weekend. We hadn’t gone camping all year and they would have been highly disappointed not to get to go. Also, I was in charge of our AIM annual spiritual life conference just after Thanksgiving, so sorting out a good time to be away was very difficult.
I had some meetings at work Monday and Tuesday, November 6 & 7, so finally got away from Kenya on the night of the 7th. The trip home was long and arduous, as usual, but I made it and got to spend a week with my brother in New York. My sister came in from Colorado on the 14th, we had the memorial service on the 15th and I left for Kenya on the 16th. The memorial service was very nice. Two friends from Boston made the trip, as did two nephews from Colorado. Two cousins (one from Vermont and the other from Maryland) completely surprised us by showing up unannounced. I hadn’t seen one of them for 44 years! It was nice to get to catch up with them.
Below, left: My sweet mother, Jean Cummings, who went to be with the Lord a week after her fall. Sunday, October 8.
Right: My niece’s children, Sadie and Seamus, at the gravesite service.