We are glad to be home! I am working again in the hospital. In fact this weekend I have been busy covering the ICU. I am glad for the meaningful work, and again I am impressed with the challenges of doing good care in complex situations. Allison is teaching at RVA, and the kids are in school. We all feel a hole in our lives where David was, however it is not a painful hole, but a sudden missing of having him around. We are happy for him at ACU! He seems to be having a good time. The weather has been beautiful overall, and that has allowed us to get out and do some walks on the weekend. All these pictures are taken within an easy walk of our house. We live in a beautiful part of the world. We are thankful!
This will be a problem. We have to renew our passports! They are submitted, expedited, and now we wait.
We are stateside! We would love to see you if you are free. We have a couple goals . . . the most important is a successful install of David at Abilene Christian University. So far this goal is progressing well. The next is to get our passports renewed. This is not going so well. We tried to renew in Kenya, but embassy appointments were impossible to get without an emergency. We have to renew then before we can fly back to Kenya, but we cannot do a fast passport renewal without a life or death situation. We do not have that, and so we have expedited our renewal (read that as expensive!), but even with that, the renewal can take up to 12 weeks. That is better than the 20 weeks for a non-expedited passport, but still not very fast. I am hopeful it will take less than 12 . . . maybe more like six. Is that too hopeful? Please pray for us in regards to our passports.
We are doing some support raising visits. Please pray for that as well. I have very mixed feeling about support raising. I have made new, good friends through the process. God has given us strangers to support our work, and now those strangers are friends. I feel blessed to be taken care of by God and by other Christians. On the other hand, I do not like the humbling feeling of asking for help. One of the things that pulls me to leave the mission field is my desire to take care of my family financially. Knowing I can be in the US working and providing well for Allison and the kids, instead of living much more frugally in Kenya is a weird temptation. I love working in Kenya, yet the desire to be “self-sufficient” and a “provider” are very strong urges. There is tension there. Taking care of your family is a Godly trait, so it is weird to choose a path that hinders that responsibility (at least from a worldly perspective to which I am susceptible). My thoughts on support raising are complicated, and instead of going on, I will just ask again that you will pray that God will provide as he always has so far.
Goodbye Rift Valley Academy Buffalos! Come on Abilene Christian University Wildcats!! David managed to graduate well, avoiding too many demerits while being in National Honor Society and winning the award for the best Senior student in the Social Studies department which he demonstrated by being a part of the African Model United Nations, taking multiple AP history classes, and being enrolled in the most Social Studies classes of any student in his class. He was proud to have his first term late night boxing match (RVA legend making) mentioned by the school’s graduation speaker from the podium. Last week he went on his “Senior Safo” to the beach, and last night we ended the day with a small graduation party at our house.Today we will take him to his favorite restaurant in Nairobi right after we get our preflight COVID tests done. We are looking forward to his next steps at ACU? Do we have a future businessman, politician, or lawyer? Could we hope for a university professor? The next four years (maybe more) will sort it out!
September will mark 10 years since Mom entered the rest promised to those who love the Lord. So long, in fact, that many of you blog readers have never met her. As I was considering this, the first word that popped into my mind to describe her was “powerhouse.” This may conjure images of a pencil-skirt wearing businesswoman who doesn’t take nothing from nobody and who is getting things done, walking briskly through the office in stilettos. Not that kind of powerhouse. Mom was more like a miniature sun. Powerful, yes, getting things done, yes, but warm, inviting, bringing growth and light. She came into a room and you just felt better, felt like basking in her presence. When you were with Mom, there would be empathy, laughter, genuine peace, Scripture, and probably some good food.
When Mom first died, people would comfort me by saying that now she was looking down on us from Heaven. Heaven just seemed so far away, so remote from the world, and I would say “Thank you” and think in my heart, “Oh, she’s got far better things to look at and participate in where she is. There is a vast gap between Heaven and here.” But in the intervening years, I’ve grown to think differently. Maybe the connection between heaven and earth is stronger than I used to think. Just as the angels rejoice over one sinner, it seems that the victories that Christ accomplishes on earth are celebrated in Heaven.
One of the satisfying things about growing older is having a longer view of what the Lord is doing on the earth and having a bit more experience watching how His plan is unfolding. I consider that might extend into Heaven. Maybe the saints can praise the Lord for the way that He is still moving and changing people, for the redemption stories that dot the earth.
Perhaps Mom can participate in the satisfaction of watching our kids as teenagers, maybe she can still feel proud of the men and women they are becoming. Why not if all good gifts and pleasures are created by the Lord, including seeing people grow up? Annie responding well to a word of correction, Peter talking about praying for enemies, Sarah expressing her creative gifts, David accepting the love of his friends, Will caring for his hospital patients. These are deep joys I know Mom would appreciate. All of this growth comes out of pain and struggle and fight against the flesh, which glorifies and beautifies the victory.
And if it’s not true and it’s only God the Three in One who sees, but it gives us comfort to think of the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we run the race, what’s the harm in that? So, God, thank you for being so intimately among us and for fully participating in our puny lives. And, Mom, if you see me, I sure do love you. Thanks for shouting from the sidelines.
I am no longer my own, but Thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt,
rank me with whom Thou wilt;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for Thee
or laid aside for Thee;
let me be exalted for Thee,
or brought low for Thee;
let me be full, let me be empty;
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and heartily yield all things
to Thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am Thine.
So be it.
And the covenant
which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
I am on my way to the Mombasa area to serve as a physician on the Senior Safo (senior trip). I have mixed feelings because I always miss Allison and the kids, although David is on this trip. However, he would probably prefer I was not I’ll try and be unseen! It is great to drive across Kenya. I feel so blessed to be here. I stayed last night at Maneaters Camp near the old Tsavo train depot. This is where the Tsavo man eating lions were killed. The movie The Ghost and the Darkness is based on this story. It was great to sleep in my luxury tent last night and hear the lions making their odd night time moans/roars. Today I finish the drive to the coast and await the Seniors. I am going to lay low, be useless, and enjoy a sort of working vacation. (Truly more vacation than work!)
It has been a weird four years. Moving to Kenya as a freshman and then all the losses COVID caused. David heads out on his Senior trip tomorrow. We are super happy for him! He graduates next Saturday. Hopefully we will have a trip to the our favorite restaurant in Nairobi to celebrate the following day, and then back to Dallas. The group in the picture above were the core of his friends. Not all of them made it through all four years as their families moved home or away, but they flew back this summer after they finished school in the US to have one last hurrah in Kijabe! I am thankful for each of them. We had barely arrived in Kenya in 2017, and on our first full day in town this group walked by the house and invited David to go up the hill with them for a bonfire. That was the beginning and they have been good friends since. God has been good to David with these loyal friends. Now we look forward to how God gives him friends at ACU!