We are a group of eight, seven seminarians and our leader from Global Ministries, Mary Schaller Blaufuss. Some of us graduated just days or even hours before catching a flight to meet in NYC. Some of us have more time at seminary still to come. But we are all theologically trained and interested in the partnerships that Global Ministries has formed around the world. We are traveling to Kenya to strengthen the relationships with our partners there. We are traveling to Kenya to be enriched for our own ministries. We are traveling to Kenya to understand more of God’s Kindom on the vast but ever shrinking earth.
Our first day was spent in the air. I often think of flights as liminal space, where time and geography seems to stand still. The plane moves in real time, but somehow my experience as a passenger feels much more like how I imagine a wormhole would feel. After a series of hours, you awake to a whole new world. We spent 15 hours in our first cocoon, wrapped up in our own thoughts and expectations as we traversed the Atlantic, landing in Johannesburg. Tired but energized to be on the continent of Africa, we navigated the airport and boarded our second metal cocoon of the day. Moving north across the continent, we landing four hours later in Nairobi. We had reached our destination.
For me, my time on the flights was spent being excited for the beauty I hope to find in the land. I am also hopeful for the special gift that a new, even if brief, relationship can bring. Cross-cultural conversation has the potential to change me if I am open to it. I can learn and I can share – a gift exchange that I often feel trades in human experience. I am hopeful to have me breath taken away in the natural beauty and given back to me in new conversation.
Once in Nairobi, we met our hosts, traveled to our guest house, and had a lovely first non-airplane food meal. We welcomed our beds after a long day of traveling in the cocoons of liminal worm hole tubes we call international flights. Spit out on the other side, we are in Kenya and full of expectation.