Monday, January 26, 2015


The Christian Reformed Church of East Africa near Kitale
Most countries have significant internal contrasts, with areas of great wealth and areas of great poverty, often in very close proximity to each other.

Recently I experienced such a set of contrasts but in two churches in Kenya.

One week I'm preaching in a church of about 100 people, including children.  It is a mud church, on someone's personal property.  It is in a rural area, surrounded by maize fields and cows pass by the windows regularly.  The service starts at 10 am and finishes around 1 pm.  The people all hang around after the service and share a meal together.

David Masai, a pastor of the CRCEA, also a trainer for CbBaM
The next week I preached three services in a church of about 6000 people, with choreographed dancers, elaborate sound systems and city folks.  I am told I have 20 minutes to preach for the first sermon, 30 minutes for the second service, and 40 minutes for the third service.  At 20 minutes during the first service, the pastor (a student at ATS) gets up to let me know time is up.  Time is managed to the minute.  People are herded out the back door, while a flood of people enter the front door, tightly managed by ushers, to allow the next service to start on time. 

AIC Fellowship Church in Eldoret
Back in the US I am struck by the contrasts in food compared to what I eat in Kenya.  There is a great website that shows what a week of groceries looks like around the world (To see it, go here):
  • In Cairo, Egypt, an average family spends $78/week on food.
  • In Ecuador, $32/week
  • In North Carolina, USA, $342/week
  • In China, $65/week
  • In Mexico, $189/week
  • Food for one week for a family in Ecuador
  • In Mali, $30/week
  • In Kuwait, $252/week
  • In Japan, $361/week
  • In Italy, $295/week
  • In India, $45/week
  • In Germany, $568/week
  • In Cuba, $64/week
  • In Canada, $392/week
  • In Sarajevo, $90/week
  • In Australia, $428/week 
Food for one week for a family in the US
What is interesting is how different the food is in each country - very processed versus very fresh. And I just learned last week that about 40% of the food grown in the US ends up in the landfill due to waste.  This is mostly because of the amount of food that we throw away in restaurants, institutions, and our own homes.

Lands of contrasts.  These are just two very small contrasts of course.  One could list thousands and thousands.  But it can feel overwhelming when changing between cultures.  I continue to get flashes and waves of the contrasts from day to day, and often find it difficult to articulate.

I will be dropping the blog to every other week for a period of time, especially while so much of my time is being consumed by writing the Discipling Marketplace Leaders book and manual.  I continue to appreciate your prayers for this process!

I could see these two children from my seat in the rural church.  They studied the back of my car for such a long time, pointing things out to each other.  It was very cute.