There is a rally in Naivasha this weekend. Everyone wants to go, but after seeing the video below, I think I one of the those who does not want to pay the price to see the race. The second video is a bit of information about the race. When traffic gets stopped in Kenya it is a free for all and everyone goes wherever they see an opening no matter if it is in the oncoming traffic lane or in the appropriate direction. It can be on the median or the service road or over the field next to the road. One time a group of students from Nairobi to Kijabe got stuck in traffic for 8 hours. That trip is usually around 2 hours maximum. Ouch!
I cannot believe that David is 18 and headed off to Abilene Christian University. He considered and was accepted at several other good schools, but in the end the idea of attending the “Harvard of West Texas” could not be beat. Allison and I both went to ACU, as did Allison’s parents. Both my brothers and most of my cousins attended as did Allison’s brother. My sister-in-laws on both sides are ACU Wildcats. It is the family school. We are very excited, and David will be rooming with his cousin. We are excited about that too. We are sad to see him go, but he is more than ready for the next stage of life. God was good to us when he gave us the responsibility of caring for this young man, and we are excited to see how he will serve God with his gifts in the future . . . (Read our entire newsletter at this link, Coming To The USA! There are some nice pictures as well as some small further updates).
If you know a church or individual that might be interested in supporting our work, we would really like to meet them!
Today it was 48 degrees outside when I woke up. Yesterday the thermometer said 45! It is winter time in Kijabe. We are barely south of the equator, and yet by some miracle of altitude and weather patterns we are always temperate. And currently it is cold. It is not “USA winter” cold, but chilly nonetheless. As I walked to the hospital yesterday I marveled at the temperature. It felt like the first true autumn chill in Texas. And it stayed cool and cloudy all day. I came home and built a fire at about 4:30 PM (the fireplace is the house heater), and at just that moment the sun came out. (Typical timing. It is like when the power goes out. Just as I get all the candles and lanterns gathered and lit, the lights will come back on.) Despite the sunlight, the outdoor temperature did not warm much, and as the sun set over the valley the autumn chill returned. This time of year the girls wake up in the morning and the first thing they seek is the space heater. In the evening everyone gathers around the fireplace, sitting in camp chairs to be close to it. It is good for family bonding although it can get a bit crowded. I think we will all enjoy the hot summer in Texas when we fly home for a short visit in July! Time by the grandparents pool with the hot sun on our faces. We’ll see some of you soon!
A visitor to Kijabe was coming up the local road when a leopard jumped on the road in front of their car. They slowed down and despite the its camouflage were able to get it on video. As I walked by this spot yesterday with my dogs, I took my headphones out of my ears and kept a better lookout than usual. Today riding bikes with David, we blew by it quickly. It is very cool to have a leopard nearby. We have baboons, hyenas, and now leopards right around Kijabe. A bike ride away I have seen elephant droppings in the forest. If you go down to the valley there are all sorts of grazing animals like giraffe, buffalos, and zebras. When we camp by the lake, sometimes the hippos come It does not feel wild around here, but we certainly have a lot of wild animals.
One year ago our hospital received patients from a massive traffic accident. This is nothing new. We have patients from car wrecks daily. Sometimes a dozen at a time. We are just below the busiest highway in Kenya, and so when there are wrecks. people are picked up and dropped off at our hospital. One thing that is interesting is that often people come in the back of passerby’s cars. There is not a robust ambulance system, and so travelers will help out of the goodness of their character. I had a friend who was in a severe car wreck, and as he pulled his family, bleeding and unconscious from the car, he handed them to strangers who put them in the back of their own cars and drove them to the nearest hospital. He thought to himself as they drove away, that is the last time I am going to see them alive. (They lived and were eventually transferred to Kijabe hospital where our team cared for them).
What was different a year ago was that a very important politician in Kenya was one of the victims. We realized something was different when 2 helicopters landed on the soccer field across the lane from our house. He was operated on and then flown on to Nairobi. He has healed, and this past Sunday he walked from Nairobi to Kijabe hospital to raise funds for our trauma department. He had lots of people walking with him including some of our doctors from the hospital. They started at 2 AM, arriving to the hospital about 12 hours later. It is a long walk. It was nice publicity for the hospital, and it was an honor for us to be thanked and recognized for work we do for anyone, no matter the importance. I was impressed this man walked as he did just one year after his accident. It makes me thankful for the continuing ability to walk and work.
For my recent birthday, Allison invited a few people for coffee and sweets on a Sunday afternoon. I was glad to spend some time with a lot of good people, and I was especially glad to spend time with the Kijabe Hospital Internal Medicine team. We have a great group of American and Kenyan doctors working together to take care of the complex medical cases in the medicine wards, the intensive care unit, and the COVID ward. We deal with a lot of tough cases and some really desperate situations, but there is not a day that goes by without this group giving me something to laugh and smile about.
Our friend Lisa sent this verse to us. Thank you for the encouragement!
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.Lamentations 3:21-26
Wow! One half of a century is completed today. When I was 25 being fifty seemed so far away. Those 25 years seemed an eternity. Now looking ahead, being 75 seems just around the corner. I thought I might climb Kilimanjaro or visit the Holy Land for my fiftieth birthday, but COVID stopped those plans. Instead I rest in knowledge that life continues with nothing big needed to mark the passing of the years while remembering God is in control. This article from Jared Wilson titled Midlife, Christ Is puts many of my thoughts to words well. So although I cannot put becoming fifty years old into words, Wilson does it for me well.
By God’s grace, I don’t feel the need to buy a sports car or to make a career change or to blow up my marriage. But I do think a lot about the distant past and the quickly approaching future. And I don’t know how anybody handles these things without walking with Jesus.
In midlife, Christ is a consolation for all the things I wish I’d done differently. He doesn’t change my past, but he can redeem it. And I’ve discovered he is faithful to do that. He does not judge me by my actions but by his own, freely given to me in love.
In midlife, Christ is a companion through all the worries and stresses. I’ve gotten more serious about my health over the last year and a half, and while I have no illusions about having the strength and energy I did at 25, I have no doubts that my friend Jesus is as strong as he’s ever been, and wherever I have to go, I know he will go with me. There is no partner like the King of the Universe who will never leave me or forsake me.
In midlife, Christ is a constant encourager. His Spirit has been bearing fruit in my life all along, and the longer I walk with him, the further down the narrow road I wander, the sweeter I find him, and the more precious. As so much is wasting away — including myself, day by day — his renewing presence sustains me, cheers me. I cannot imagine getting old without the daily newness of his mercies.
And I can’t imagine dying without him.
Reading those words warms my heart as what Wilson writes rings true. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness to me and my family. At midlife, Christ most definitely is!
I bet we all dislike arguing, at least at a certain level. I have a couple teenagers in my house that seem to embrace it. But even they reach a point where they realize it is getting nowhere. Finding common ground when possible, affirmation of one another as people, and seeking understanding seem to be keys to ending arguing and turning toward discussion. And so I get to this article that I thought was interesting, especially in our East Africa context.
Disagreements in the church discourage me these days. Not the existence of disagreements—those are to be expected. We’ve been living with disagreement since the days of the early church. I’m talking about the way we handle debate.
In the blog post Are Tattoos Worse than Adultery?, Trevin Wax explains how different cultures can come to completely different viewpoints even regarding things that seem to be obvious. And so I want to be a person who moves from disagreement to understanding and peace. I definitely need to be better at cross-cultural communication.