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5.02.2010

First stop Mombasa

Right about the turn of the century I had a dream that came in the same form, multiple times in one year. I dreamed of a group of black women in white dresses holding a worship service under a canopy of tall trees.  They sang in a language that I did not know. I awoke after each of these dreams strongly moved by these women.  Then the dreams stopped and I mostly stopped thinking of them. About a year later  I saw a movie which had dialogue and music in Kiswahili and I knew what language the women had been singing in. I got a grammer and started working out little bits of Kiswahili - just as a side project.

Then in 2002 I met a Burundian and was asked by God to help this man, and I did. The language of Burundi is not Kiswahili - though as a trade language many Burundians have some. My new friends thought my interest in Swahili was odd, but interesting and humored me with some practice. I did not advance much in my skills.

Eight years later and two trips to Burundi, Rwanda and the Congo in my passport, I know more than  once did. I know that the ladies in my dream were likely Kenyans. The tree likely to be found out in Western.  The women I have actually worshiped with wear rainbow hews, not white. They dance. They drum. I love them. But I have not forgotten the dream. (I searched Google images for an hour for such a picture and failed)

As I prepared for my third trip to central East African this year I was planning to maximize my time in Kigali and Bujumbura. And then an invitation arrived. Did I know that the USFWI was meeting in Kenya just as my itinerary had me arriving on the continent?  Could I divert a bit and join them?

And I found that my heart diverted, and said yes,  without asking my brain. So I am going first to the triennial of the United Society of Friends Women International.  This is the women's missionary society of  Friends United Meeting (FUM). These days there are more women in the society in Kenya than in the USA and Canada.

We will meet at a lovely resort with white sand beaches rather than under the trees of western Kenya (I am determined to know the name of those trees). I do not know what my purpose being there will be. But I feel like I am completing my call by showing up. I will bring with me the spirituality of generous orthodoxy and Christ-centered inclusion that we have found at Freedom Friends Church. I am sure that I will have many interesting conversations, with sisters from Africa and America. We will sing together study together and worship together. I will take all of me and all of the Christ within me, to meet them and the Christ they carry.

Then at the close of the conference I have elected to ride the peoples bus with the African sisters back out to Western Kenya (a very long ride). Perhaps to find those trees, and perhaps they will teach me to sing in Kiswahili.

USFWI.org will get you to the societies web page
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Comments:
I'm sure they will teach you to sing! One of my favorite memories of the World Conference that was held in the Netherlands was learning a song from the Kenyan women.

Kenneth
 
Friend Peggy, even if all you do is to show up, you will be speaking to a concern I have long carried. There is vast disproportion inherent in gathering many people from the US and Europe and including only tiny numbers of representatives from the much more numerous yearly meetings of the global south. I am sure there must be some nicer, more spirit-led term for that last concept though I cannot think what it should be.

In any case, somehow I imagine you will be doing much more than just showing up even if you do not know yet what that will be.
 
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