Wow. I knew that coming back to Nairobi would be meaningful, but I never expected it to carry with it so many raw emotions.

For the whole of 2005, I lived in Kenya, interning with a church called Nairobi Chapel (and eventually, its plant, Mavuno Church). The year was phenomenal. Life changing. I went through such an utter transformation in body and soul that I often look back and wonder who the heck I actually was before coming.

Me in 2004 (before my Kenya internship).  20 pounds heavier and WAY more immature.  :)

Me in 2004 (before my Kenya internship). 20 pounds heavier and WAY more immature. :)

For the first half of my internship, I lived with an amazing couple named Muhia and Marcy Karianjahi. They have been part of the Chapel family forever, and now serve at another of NC’s church plants called Karura Community Chapel.

Well, as I got off the plane this time, it was Muhia who picked me up from the airport, and it was to their house that I returned.

As we drove to the house late on Tuesday night, I was overwhelmed by the flood of memories and emotions that so quickly came back to me. The smell of wood smoke and burning trash, the haze of dust hanging over the city, the noise of car horns and minibus drivers…

Me last Wednesday.  I've learned a lot, but I still have a long way yet to go.

A picture of me from last week. Yeah, I've changed a lot, but I have so much farther to go.

These sights and sounds were enough to remind me of the excitement and adventure of my year in Kenya as well as the fears and insecurities that had dominated my life until that point.

After 30 minutes of driving (and admiring all the new construction and road projects), we arrived at Muhia and Marcy’s home. As I got ready for bed, muscle memory took over. I set up my mosquito net, washed my face and got a drink from the water filter. It was as if I had never left.

But then, as I stared through jet-lagged eyes at a blank page in my journal, I realized the truth: I have come a long way from the jittery, insecure and frightened boy who first slept in this house four years ago.

And even though I learned so much my first time around, I am reminded of why I’m back…

There is so much more to learn.

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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Sarah McLaughlin said... 


    March 27th, 2009 at 8:19 am  

    I’m enjoying the beta test. :) Great site thus far. I especially love the post about going back to Nairobi. The many pictures make this site very engaging. I hope that you are considering frequent video blogs. They are captivating and I think would really draw your viewers/visitors in. Thanks for sharing.
    Jeff & Sarah McLaughlin

  2. Kathy Whitesell said... 


    April 9th, 2009 at 3:58 pm  

    Ok. Now I know what you look like!

  3. Barry Rod said... 


    April 10th, 2009 at 2:06 am  

    Hah… Yeah. Eventually all the WND journalists will have profile pages with pictures, links to blogs, etc.

    So it should be a bit easier to figure out what we look like in the future. :)

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