July 29, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I find myself in the United States of America. The land of Big Macs, smooth roads and endless choices of Cheez-its at Walmart. I arrived in Detroit and had a short two-hour drive to my in-laws’ house. While everyone else went inside the house I stood out on the green grass, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The sun shone on my face and the wind blew in my hair. This may sound crazy but it just felt different than Africa feels. It sounded different, it smelled different, it just felt different. It felt familiar. Like a hot Michigan summer should feel like. Now, I didn’t say it felt better, just familiar. Homey. Like I remember it feeling when I was younger. My beloved country.
We are currently in the States for just a short visit, just until the end of August and then we will return to Kenya. We are here because Emily will be getting married on August 6th, just 8 days from the date of my writing this report. It has been a hectic visit so far. Up to northern Michigan to visit my parents, back to southern Michigan to visit Julie’s parents, a quick trip to Dayton to visit our home church, back to southern Michigan, and we head back to Dayton tomorrow for another quick visit to Emmanuel Baptist. Finally, a hectic week next week leading up to the wedding. This will be my first experience of a child of mine getting married so I don’t know exactly what to expect. I don’t want to predict how I will be feeling come next Saturday but I suppose those of you who have already gone through this experience could teach me a thing or two.
We temporarily leave some very precious things back in Kenya. One is Chloe. We tried and tried to get her to the US but we did not succeed. We spent a lot of time, effort and money but in the end we were not able to procure the documents that we needed for her to travel to the US. Kenyan immigration refused. We were greatly disappointed, even heartbroken. The thought of leaving her in Kenya for a month was devastating. But in the end we knew and accepted that it was not in God’s plan for her to travel here with us. We have left her in God’s hands and also in the hands of some very dear friends of ours in Kitale who had graciously accepted to keep her until we return. We know she is in good hands but getting back to her will make returning to Kenya sweeter. The other things we leave in Kenya is obviously our ministries. Because our trip to the US is only a short trip, we were able to suspend most of our ministries until we return. The people we are working with in Kitale are eager to start the teachings and ministries back up upon our return and we should be able to restart things without a hitch. Other ministries have been left in good hands. I was excited when Kefa volunteered to continue the group meetings that meet in his house while we are absent. He will take over the teaching and leading responsibilities until I return. I was praying that he would be willing to do this and I know this ministry is in good hands.
Our hearts are torn between two places that we love so much. We have children, family, friends and churches on both continents that are dear to us. It is hard to live with your heart in two places when your physical body can only be in one.
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
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