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"I say goodbye to this chapter of my ever changing life"

Updated on March 28, 2015

So when the day comes and
The sun won't touch my face
Tell the ones who care enough
That I finally left this place
That's been so cold
Look at my face
All the stories it will tell I can't erase

The road is long
Just one more song
A little something to remind you when I'm gone
When I'm gone

So this is it
I say goodbye
To this chapter of my ever-changing life
And there's mistakes
The path was long
And I'm sure I'll answer for them when I'm gone
When I'm gone"

-Staind, Something to Remind You

This is my buddy Alex and me on a typical day in the streets of Kitale, Kenya.
This is my buddy Alex and me on a typical day in the streets of Kitale, Kenya.

Some brief thoughts on leaving the mission field.

"So this is it
I say goodbye
To this chapter of my ever-changing life
And there's mistakes
The path is long
And I'm sure I'll answer for them when I'm gone

So when the day comes and
The sun won't touch my face
Tell the ones who cared enough
That I finally left this place
That's been so cold

Look at my face
All the stories it will tell I can't erase
The road is long
Just one more song
A little something to remind you when I'm gone
When I'm gone

The road to hell
Along the way
Is paved with good intentions so they say
And some believe
That no good deed
Goes unpunished in the end or so it seems


I've been listening to this song on repeat for a while now. I first listened to it last August. It was the early hours of morning; still dark out side. I was on a shuttle leaving Kitale, Kenya where I had spent most of the past two years. I was leaving because a few days before I refused to pay a bribe to a corrupt immigration officer. My case got escalated to the highest level possible in Parliament. The MP over immigration did me a favor: she gave me 48 hours to get out of the country or I would go to jail, something that this immigration officer was pretty eager to see happen. While I held to my strict view of not paying a bribe, I was not willing to go to a Kenyan jail if I could avoid it. I took the first flight I could get on and left the country.

That was August of 2013. It is now June of 2014. I have been in the US for almost a year now. This is the longest I've spent in my home country in the last 2 years. For months I tried to get back into Kenya. I applied for different permits and was denied each time. Finally, I decided that it was time to stop trying. I moved on. I am choosing to live life in America again. I got a regular 9-5 type job. I traded in my African outfit of jeans, t-shirts and flip flops for nice pants, collared shirts and formal shoes. I traded in living in a third world nation for settling back into life here in the USA.

The transition has been a challenge. There are those who mocked me first for moving to Kenya in the first place. Now there are others that hurl insults at me for not going back. One person went as far as to imply that by me leaving Kenya and not going back I have done what my family did to me as a young child. As a side note, I was adopted at age 8. I came from an abusive, drug addicted family where I had an uncle pull a knife and try to kill me. To have someone even imply that I have done anything even close to that is incredibly hurtful and inappropriate on so many levels. To know that it was someone I was in ministry with is even more hurtful.

So, I say goodbye. I say goodbye to the chapter of my life in Kenya. I did some amazing things there. I will never forget the times I had. I spent 6 months hanging out with boys in the streets. I spent another year plus at a children's home for abandoned babies. I will always fondly remember Peter Lojore, the boy that I found in the streets beaten nearly to death and how I was able to get him to the hospital. I will never forget the unfortunate story that came next as I got him into a home that he ran away from only to die back on the streets a year later. I will never forget the first time that someone legitimately threatened to kill me for standing up to him. He was a conman that I warned everyone around about. Needless to say, he and his buddies didn't like that so much. Still, after 4 months of death threats nearly every day, I was still alive and they were finally arrested.

While I say goodbye to that chapter, I also say hello to a new one. My book has not ended yet. I say hello to a new job. I say hello to new friendships. I say hello to reacquainting myself with old friends and family that I've been away from for so long. I say hello to a chapter that will bring new memories and new stories.





© 2014 Ray Smith

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