Tension Relief

Moving is stressful. Moving to your third home in less than a year is hard. Moving to your third country in a year might be crazy. And we are a little stir crazy in the small house in which we find ourselves without a car and without much knowledge of the world outside of Kijabe. But we were pleased to discover that just 30 minutes from us is a recreational area called The Forest which has fun adventure-type activities. It has East Africa's longest zip line, mountain biking, hiking, archery, and most importantly for our family . . . paintball. Best of all, it is paintball without any age limits, so even Sarah could play. On the kid's mid-term break we found a driver and we took a day to go out there and shoot each other up. It was a good break for all of us, and I am still carrying the bruises of my family's wrath!

Bring it on!

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Does this put the fear in you?

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Field Day

You will remember that a big part of what we are doing in Kenya is working with a boarding school called Rift Valley Academy. Allison is a teacher at the school and our kids attend classes in its hallowed halls. The school serves missionary kids from all over Africa. We love these kids, and we want the best for them as they spend so many years away from their parents who serve God in some of the hardest places to work in the world. Last weekend was field day, and I was glad to be able to go and watch the kids have a load of fun with their classmates and teachers! Click on the pictures below for more details. I especially like the last two pictures of the tug of war between the students and teachers.

This is us.

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Go, begonias, go!

We have a super friendly garden guy named Isaac. As soon as he met us, he asked for permission to tear out a lot of the old growth on our property and plant some “contrast,” as he calls it, plants instead of bushes. He brought cuttings from different people’s yards and planted the most scraggly bits of plant all over. It looks pathetic. He has been faithfully watering, though, and some are starting to take root.

Friday morning I was walking to school and mildly shaking my head at the puny struggling plants when I realized, “This is us.” We just need time and we are going to be beautiful, flourishing, joy-giving. Right now we’ve been transplanted. God, like Isaac, has given us manure—not literally, but challenges, joys, new friends, His Holy Spirit, trials—in order to help us grow. He has faith that we will be lovely one day. Isaac says, “Just wait and see.”

But right now we feel a bit pathetic. We look like we are on our way through death to life. A passerby might see something a bit wilty.

 

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When your stem is dead, grow out of the side

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Some are thriving, some not so much, but they live in the same garden/ house.

 

Some of us are growing fine right alongside someone who needs a bit more time in order to flourish.

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Your family is beautiful!

We meet people who have been here several years and they have lovely flowers, their family looks like it was meant to be planted right here, growing together. What is their secret? Mostly just more time. They are not as new a transplant as we are.

Please pray for quick-growing roots, for just the right fertilizer for each Caire, for God’s pruning and for patience until we sprout some new leaves.

 

First Day

Thank you to God that school is starting and that our kids can continue in their education at Rift Valley Academy. They have moved around a lot, and they have been blessed to go to some great schools such as Scofield Christian School and Dallas Lutheran School in Dallas, Texas as well as Colegio Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, Peru. We are hoping and praying for more great opportunities for learning here in Kijabe, Kenya. Also Allison starts here first day teaching 9th grade English!

Pre-school Orientation

img_0691Please pray for the students and families of Rift Valley Academy this weekend. Today was the new student and parent orientation and tomorrow is called “Arrival Day,” which means that the dorms will be filling up with our boarding students for the next school year. It also means lots of goodbyes, as parents drop off their kids and go back to the countries where they serve.

We are part of the new family group, so we’ve been at orientation also, getting tours of the school and learning about all the activities and programs the kids can be involved in. However, we got to walk down the gravel trail to our home with all four kids. Blessedly, at this time, all four kids have said that they are happy that they still live with us—ha!

I stood in my classroom for an hour this afternoon while new parents and students walked through their high school schedule. Ninth grade is a time when many families decide to make a change from homeschooling or local schooling to American schooling. RVA is their best option, even if means boarding their kids. I met so many wonderful parents who fell into three categories—totally chilled because this child is the second, third, or fourth in their family to start at RVA or happy for their kid and relieved not to be homeschooling anymore or nervous but making a peaceful truce with the situation. It was inspirational to hear about where they work and what they do. These people are spreading God’s love in some tough places. Please pray that I can be an excellent teacher to honor the trust they are placing in us. I can tell I’m really going to enjoy spending time with these kids.

The Dog

Sarah and her dog.

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Dogs are funny animals. Chardonnay is our new dog, and she came with the house. She seems to have her favorites already. Will wins with C always coming to him preferentially to all the others in the family. Next seems to come David or Allison and then she defers to individuals based on age. How she does that is not clear, but we wonder if it is how deep a voice a person has or their size. So Sarah likes to take C on walks by herself so the she can get all the dog love and attention given only to her. Two or three times a day she will come in and ask if she can take C for a walk. She puts on the leash so C knows it is OK to leave and off they go. Sarah seems to really be liking life here, although she has had some fears because of all the concerns of violence around the Kenyan presidential elections. She is outside all the time. She loves on the dog and the chickens. She loves collecting their eggs. She checks on the monkeys. She looks at all the birds. She is studying the flowers. I am glad she is here, and I especially like to see her smile next to her dog Chardonnay.

Monkeys


Peter took these pictures when he was carrying trash to the caged cans that are supposed to be "monkey proof". Instead he found the monkeys eating the trash.