07 September 2010

Updates from Jamie McKinley

I attended my first African Funeral/Memorial Service.  The worst part was it was not that I just attended as a church leader, but I attended as a friend.  Yes she was a friend from past trips and I remember just talking and laughing with her not that long ago.  Celestine Achieng Juma, was a lady who served with us in the women's ministry.  She was a quality control worker who would hand out the Rabuna Fi crafts and help with checking the completed crafts.  She was such a joy to work with, helping teach me the ropes of the Rabuna Fi ministry, showing me how to hand out pashminas and to whom.  She not only served in women's ministry but she even attended the tailoring bible study, even though her and I after the study would just watch the ladies sew since we did not know how.

My last trip out during the tailoring study Celestine taught Natasha and I a Swahili song.  She wrote it out for us so we could sing along and then taught Natasha how to play it.  Yesterday it was beautiful to hear Natasha play the song at the service.  Celestine was only 26 years old.  She is with the Lord and our other dear friends who have passed away as well.  It is still amazing to me that it didn't even seem like she is gone until I attended the service.  It was as if I felt any day she would walk in and hug me and smile and tell me about what happened when I was away in the USA doing internship.

The service took place at her home.  Many people came to mourn.  When we first reached her house all I could her was the cries of her family and loved ones inside her house.  Then they brought the body out of the house and out in the area where we all stood to pay our respects.  The joy is when you look at a dead body you realize it is just a shell the one you loved is no longer there.  It never looks like them, and the spirit and soul that made them who they were is visibly gone.  I take comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering she is not be buried, she is already gone Home to Jesus.  The tears come out of my own selfishness of losing a friend, but then the comfort that only God can give floods in knowing she is with Him. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

The loss of another friend and loved one just brings me back to the verse Philippians 1:20-23:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

But as Paul writes he knows that his time is not yet come because the Lord still has work for him.  That is how I feel the Lord has called me here to Kenya for a reason, He is not yet done with me and still has work for me to do.  I might grieve at the loss of a friend for a time, but I rejoice in knowing she is where I would love to be in the presence of my King.

Please pray for Celestine's family.  Her husband Charles and her son Edwin that they would receive the comfort only God can give and look to Him for strength.

In Him,  Jamie McKinley

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