In Swahili the word for blessing is “baraka.” I love how Kenyans attach a relational aspect to the word. In the States we generally consider blessings to be circumstances that go well for us. Yet, Kenyans use this word as it relates to relationships. For example, children are a blessing from God.
Rain is a blessing from God. After spreading a portion of our former coworker Marsha Bacon’s ashes on the regional center property, it rained. The Kenyan staff immediately commented that God was blessing the dedication of her ashes! In September we celebrated 20 years as a ministry in Nairobi. About an hour after the event finished, it lightly rained, and the people smiled saying God was blessing the ministry’s past and future.
Visitors are a blessing from God. While in Nairobi for the celebration, I stayed in the small apartment of Isaac and his wife, Anna. During my week with them, at times I felt like I was imposing on them. They arranged their schedules around long drives to and from the airport, preparing wonderful meals, and allowing me to use their guest room. They insisted, “No, Mike, you are our guest. This is a blessing!”
In Africa, regardless of the circumstances, children, visitors, and honoring others are blessings. If punctuated by rain, then in African culture, they are truly blessings! I’m thankful for this reminder in my hectic life to take time for people and to look for God’s blessings.