Jambo! My name is Annie Pitschka. I come from Crystal, MN and belong to Peace Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, MN. I am one of five who is accompanying Pastor Seter on his 2012 journey to Kenya. I tried to prepare for this trip by learning a little bit of Kiswahili. The Keyan people typically speak at least three languages: their respective native tongue, Kiswahili, and English.  Pikipiki (motorcycle) along with magi (water), asante sana (thank you), and hakuna matata (no worries) are some of my favorite Kiswahili words. To give you a feel for the language, I attached a song that helped me learn a few simple Swahili words. Click here for the youtube song of Jambo

As I have now been in Kenya for five days, I continue to be fascinated by their language as well as: the vast diversity in the terrain, the exotic animals, and the woman who carry everything on their heads (bags, wood, water, you name it). However, nothing compares to the joy of the Keyans. I am both inspired and in awe of the faith and trust they have in our Lord. I had the pleasure to meet Deaconess Elizabeth and Deaconess Monica. Our team joined them as they made three house visits in Kisumu. And just like their roads, traveling by foot is no easy task and these ladies not only travel great distances in the heat, but carry bags of food on their heads! The families we visited were over joyed to welcome us (the two deaconess, two pastors, and our team of six) into their house to pray, encourage, read scripture, find out their needs, and bring some provisions to help get them through a couple more days. Each of the three women we visited expressed how blessed they are, they thanked God for their homes and children, and declared their trust in God.  These women varied with needs that ranged from being sick, living positively, widowers, caring for their own children, caring for grandchildren who were left behind  after their own children passed, and people without means to support themselves. In attempt to provide for her family, one woman even has to leave her children home alone for days while she seeks work.

As I reflect on the visits, two things stick out in my mind. The first was a thought I had at the first home. The home was divided with a wall in the middle to distinguish a sleeping area and a living room. Sitting in this small space with 13 people in this tiny living room, I thought I could live in something this size. Now I don’t have any children or husband for that matter, so for a split second I thought, I could manage. And then immediately I  was ashamed and horrified at the thought that I just had. How dare I think such a thing. My bedroom is bigger than their whole house! I don’t even have to share my bedroom as the Keyans share theirs with their children.  My bed would practically take up the house. The second thought was at the third house. I sat looking at the widowed woman with her four kids as she stood with a magazine clipping hanging on her wall behind her. It was a picture of a elegant, grand hotel with the tagline “Why settle for anything less”. How ironic. For many people, the very house I sat in, which the church just helped put a tarp underneath the grass roof so it does not leak when it rains, would be considered the least of houses.  Why do we need more?  The answer is we don’t. We need nothing but our Savior Jesus Christ.

7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” Romans 14:7-9