June 7, 2021
I safely arrived at the Mission here at Gekano parish on May 29th after travels that were wearisome. Officials at each airport—Bismarck, Denver, Frankfurt, and Nairobi—carefully scrutinized all documents, especially, a negative co-vid test. In Nairobi, there were problems with my visa, and I ended up for one and one-half hours in the Immigration Office at the airport—not the most hospitable place at 9:00pm.
My intention had been to write earlier, but the past week I have experienced intestinal discomfort that sapped my energy and insight for writing. So, it goes…
My stay in the United States was extended nearly two months because of a surge of co-vid cases in Kenya. Because of this, travel was restricted in the nation. I had the good fortune to preach about the Mission and its activities in parishes around the Diocese of Bismarck—Epiphany in Watford City, Our Lady of Consolation in Alexander, St. Hildegard in Menoken, Sacred Heart in Wilton, St. Ann in Hebron, Sacred Heart in Glen Ullin, St. Mary in Richardton, St. Thomas in Gladstone, St. Stephen, rural Richardton, and Corpus Christi in Bismarck. As I reflected on the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles on the Solemnity of Pentecost, I was consoled that the Good News was heard and understood by people—“Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, visitors from Rome…Cretans and Arabs”
The preaching about the Mission and its activities was received favorably by the people. The preaching was the news of ‘mission,’ not only the Bismarck Mission but the Mission of the Church. “Because of the love of God and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ” the Diocese of Bismarck has established a mission in Kenya, East Africa, to bring the gospel of love and hope to our brothers and sisters. Mission is the work of the Church—mission involves spreading the gospel message, helping those in need, and conversion of life. The people of the parishes communities wherein I preached were like the people on Pentecost day—they heard and understood the Good News. We can only thank God.
Even though my stay in North Dakota was extended, there was much not done—I would have liked to visit more members of my family and other parish communities, especially those in Bowman, Rhame, and Marmarth. With St. Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians he writes about the desire he and his companions have—it is my desire—“We are all the more eager in our great desire to see you face to face” (1 Thes. 2:17).
In preparing to return to Kenya, there was the realization of the frailty of human life because of ageing and disease—various members of my family have been afflicted. Their afflictions humble me; their afflictions cause me to intercede for them; their afflictions also help me focus on the work of the Mission. I leave home, family, and friends for one reason—for the sake of the gospel.