Thursday, November 19, 2009

What they don't tell you....

When I think of the things I didn't know when I signed up for this missionary life, I think it was a good thing. I might not have had the faith to do it! God knows what he is doing and so I am here. He gives me the strength to face each day and the mercy to stay, when many times I want to just leave it all and head home to a place that really isn't home anymore - but seems better than the home I have here at the time. I am thankful for that daily mercy!
Yesterday I hired a new guard. His name is Moses Kakalei. A few weeks ago he came to me at church and asked for work. I told him I was sorry, but I didn't have any work right now. He is an IDP. That is a new set of letters for me since 2008. It means an internally displaced person. He used to live down country (anywhere south of Lodwar). He used to have a small plot of land and a home. He grew tea leaves and sold them to be mixed with other tea leaves to make one of the best teas (I think) in the world (Kenya tea - of course). He used to work as a guard for the tea company. He had a decent life. Then, the election of 2007 happened and his world fell apart in early 2008. He was chased from his home and became a refugee in his own country. He was "sent" to Lodwar because he is a Turkana. "The Turkana people should live in Turkana district not down country in other tribes' lands" - so the people said. Luckily, he didn't lose his physical life, but he lost his life - his way of life and his livelihood. So, when I needed a new guard, I thought of the men in our local church who needed work. I asked others for advice. I asked him to come talk to me and then I offered him the job.
Whoever thinks that a missionary is an employer who must hire and fire employees? I certainly didn't when I first thought of being a missionary. I have always been an employee. I know how to do that. Here, I am an employer and I have learned some about how to do that. I fired a guard on Monday. Adam worked for me for almost five years. He has a wife and two small children - one of whom is named after me. I am not sure I can say he was a friend (in the way we think of friendship), but I cared for him and his family. I helped him buy land. I helped him with money so he could build a house of sticks, mud and palm leaves on his land. I fed him sometimes when he was at work and celebrated holidays with him and other employees. I got to know him a little bit in the almost five years he worked for me. I liked him. I trusted him. Then, he stole from me when I was at church. It breaks my heart, but I had to fire him. It doesn't make sense. He stole a little more than his month's salary. He could have taken more, but he didn't. For one month's pay, he lost his continuing livelihood. He admitted it, but never said why. I guess I have to be happy with that and the fact that God knows.
So, now I had work for my fellow worshiper. I am glad for that. I am sad that I had to fire someone I trusted and liked. I didn't sign up to fire people (or to hire them either). Sometimes, we end up doing things we don't expect. God is good. He gives us the mercy and the strength to do the things we need to do on the days we need to do them. So, I fired Adam. I hired Moses. I have four guards and three of them are now named Moses. Hmm, I wonder what that is all about! :). I am only calling one Moses. The other two are being called by their Turkana names. Either one works for them, so the one who is Moses to me has worked for me since I moved to Lodwar. I think it would be really hard for me to call him by his Turkana name, because I have always called him Moses. So, the others are Longok (Low-Ngok), Kakalei (Kah-Kah-Lay) and Simon. Please pray for these men. Pray also for Adam and his family in this new situation of life in which they find themselves.
I might not have signed up for it, but it is done. Now I just have to try to be a good employer. I hope I don't have to fire anyone again, but I have had to in the past and I might have to in the future. Thank the Lord for his mercy and strength!
Blessed be the name of the Lord!!!!

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