Monday, August 13, 2007

Sister symmetry: sad and happy bookends

There are only two people in my life that have ever become so endeared to me to the point of gaining sibling status, so to speak. Eva Nyanjau is my big sis who anchored my high school years, and was tragically killed in the US embassy bomb blast on 7th August, 1998 in Nairobi. That was perhaps the saddest day of my life thus far, and after 18 years of living in Kenya, I flew out to the US on the day after the funeral to begin the next phase of my life.

Thaala Montsi (pictured above) is my small sis who blessed my life during my college years. On 11th August, 2007 she authored perhaps the happiest day of my life as I got to witness her marriage to Jesse Loper (I love you, bro) in the most beautiful, colourful, joyous, laughter-saturated, family-oriented, Christ-exalting wedding ceremony (on a golf course, no less!) that I have ever been a part of. Thaala, I love you! And then get this - after 9 years of living in the US, I flew back to Nairobi on the day after the wedding to begin the next phase of my life.

Folks, all of these dates were set independent of each other. In 1998, I had bought my ticket to the US long before Eva passed away, let alone before a funeral date was set. And then this year, Thaala had her wedding date set long before I even knew that there would be a Google office in Nairobi, let alone that I would be moving back home to take on an indefinite assignment to that office. This is not just "cool" or "nifty" or "lucky" or "funny-how-that-worked-out." Only God can orchestrate these sorts of timings, and it is great fuel for my faith in His perfect will and timing in the days to come.

I'm reminded of the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth. She left home (Bethlehem) happy and headed off for a foreign country, only to return home bitter several years later. My testimony is the opposite: I left home sad (indeed crushed) and after several years, through God's grace and healing, I have returned rejoicing. Thank you Eva. Thank you Thaala. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

08/08/08 arrives a year early!

Those of you who know me well know that I have always been a numbers guy. So it should come as no surprise that during my lengthy sojourn in the US, I wound up setting a "target" date for when I would like to return to Kenya. I left home in August 1998 to pursue further studies with the stated goal of returning "when it made sense." Following a bachelor's and master's degree, I had student loans to pay, and by God's grace I landed a great job with Google that allowed me to pay them off in short order. The question of "when it made sense" to return thus became an open-ended one, and at some point I settled on 08/08/08 as the target date.

In God's providential timing, He orchestrated a chain of events that led to me leaving the US on 2 weeks' notice for an indefinite assignment to Google's new office in Nairobi. And the clincher - I flew out of San Francisco airport on 08/08/07, exactly a year early!