I get up early in the morning to pray for the day and to pray for my family. I have found that I depend much on prayer in Kenya. Interestingly, I was dependent on morning prayer in Peru as well, and to be humbly honest, I thought it had become a cherished habit in my life to arise early and pray. However, when I was back in the US last year, and when my life was normal and comfortable again, I realized that what I thought was a nice Christian habit became easily abandoned. So what I credited to myself as strength of character, I realize now was an acknowledgement of my need for God’s help that I experience on the mission field, but not so much in my home culture. So I arose early in Peru, went back to the US and gave up the habit within two weeks. and then within days of arriving to Kenya I was up early again. Hopefully God will acknowledge my humble faithfulness in need and will forgive my lack of it in comfort. It is better to be weak and understand our dependence than to be self-deceived in our supposed self-sufficiency.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
From our family to yours, we wish you the best Christmas Day. As we have focused during the Advent season on our sinfulness, desperation, and need for a savior, this Christmas seems especially sweet. God is very good, and a great light and hope are revealed by the birth of his son Jesus Christ whom we celebrate today. So Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year to come!
Allison is away, so we went on a hike. These hikes can take my kids through many emotions ranging from joy on seeing a giraffe looking at us over the trees while zebras and gazelles graze in the open, to extreme anger on why Dad took us on this stupid hike. We did Mt. Longonot, and it was a joy. Five hours up and down with great views, wildlife, a huge crater, and the development of character. Here are some pictures on which you can click for some narration.
All smiles at the entrance.
We made it to the crater.
Let’s check out the birds. We think we found a Red-Winged Starling
I took a picture somewhat similar in Peru over some Incan ruins. Isn’t that an awesome crater.
Aiming for the highest point around the crater.
At the top.
Resting on the way.
Moving fast and heading home.
We live by the Great Rift Valley. On Saturday mornings it is a pleasure to get Allison, leave the kids behind, and walk 30 minutes out to the cliffs to look over one of the longest inhabited areas of the world. It is changing rapidly. Just 30 years ago there were zebras and other wildlife roaming through the valley behind us. They are still there, and you will see them sometimes when driving through it. But I do not think it is like it was. But I am glad we still have all the birds, monkeys, and baboons roaming through our neighborhood. On the very hike when this picture was taken, Allison and I found ourselves in the forest surrounded by a troop of 10-20 baboons. Luckily we had Chardonnay our dog going crazy barking at them to keep them at a distance. They can be aggressive, and it is wise to keep your distance. But they are so interesting, you cannot help but stop and look for awhile.
Only 10 more days until we leave. QT has become one of my favorite places. If you don’t know why you haven’t been. QuikTrip has been my friend through many thousands of miles of travel over the past six months. And I will miss her and her many coffees, breakfast foods, hot dog variations, slushes, slurpees, candies, hot foods, cold foods, ice cream variations, huge fountain drinks, and friendly staff. Good bye QuikTrip. Goodbye.
“A calling is sturdy. I don’t have to protect it. I don’t need to be afraid of not getting every step right. Obviously, we need to be faithful to what’s revealed in Scripture, but we need to trust the Holy Spirit. If a calling is from God, it’s not up to us to make it happen.” – Tish Harrison. Why Tish Harrison Gave Up on Being a ‘Good Church Kid’. Christianity Today.
There are things that are hard to explain. I find it hard to explain why we are going to Africa when there is a large part of me that does not want to go. I look at my friends and my family and I think to myself “They have got it right. Stay home in your own culture and make a difference where you are from.” I look at jobs in the US in great places to live, and I think “It would be so cool to live there!” I see that my kids are happy in the United States, and I wonder “Why am I making my kids move again?” But when I think about staying I cannot feel settled. Something here will seem so perfect, but it will not seem right. I was talking to my friend Matt about it, barely expressing something I cannot understand in myself. I wondered aloud to him that I see people’s lives and I think they are great and meaningful and worthy of respect. And I wonder why I cannot have that life which I think is possibly a better use of my own personality and gifts. Why can I not stay, when I want to stay? Matt answered simply “It’s because you are called. You have a calling.” I knew he was right; but I want my calling to be an intense desire to do something. At times it is. Sometimes I feel the fire in my belly to go. But much of the time it is an unsettled feeling that I cannot do anything else except keep moving in the direction God has pointed us. And I think it is alright. I do not see in the history of the Bible that every person called by God was skipping in eagerness to the work set before them. In fact, many (most?) times it is the opposite. But they did not stop because they knew the truth of what God had called them to do. And I know it too. God has called me to serve the poor and the hurting through medicine. He has called me to share the gospel through compassion. And I go despite myself, eyes wide open, praying for God to give me strength to do the work he has given me to do. Please pray for us to be faithful and to live up to the calling we have received.