I have been studying Swahili intensely for the past several months. It is an interesting language with hard consonants combined with a floating lyrical song of vowels. Imagine a combination of German consonants against Hawaiian vowels. The structure is not too difficult, but the language has noun families that change every word associated with the noun in the sentence which can then make things confusing, especially for a beginner. I have enjoyed my teachers who have taught me a lot about culture as they have taught me about the language. Gideon is my primary teacher, and Kelvin is in training with him. Gideon being from Tanzania is quite proud of his Swahili, and he will state that Swahili was born in Tanzania, got sick in Kenya, and died in Uganda. I hope that knowing some Swahili will help me as I try and serve my patients in the hospital. Gideon is also a musician, and he states that he has to express himself in his clothing as he expresses himself in song. You may see what he means in the picture below.
I think when there are times of stress and possibly discouragement, the blog updates become less frequent. This month has been a challenge as Allison has started working full-time at the school, Will has been taking Swahili classes (getting his mind blown daily), and the kids have started adjusting to new classes. In the mix of that is trying to make some changes to the house, learning to how to keep the family fed in a new environment, and going a little stir crazy without a car. It is during these times when we remind ourselves that these challenges will pass, that it will all become somewhat comfortable, and we will know who we are here as we know who we are in Peru and in the USA. And I am thankful that we are able to be here to do good work that is not always easy, not always fulfilling, but always helpful and good. Please pray for our family that we will each make a good friend, especially the kids, but also Will and Allison. And please pray that we can learn to live in our new place with joy. Also pray that we will learn what it is and how it is to serve God in this new mission.
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.
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!
Could it be for selfish reasons perhaps?
The straightest path to happiness is devoting ourselves to the happiness of others.
If you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. ISAIAH 58: 10-11, NASB
Alcorn, Randy. Happiness (p. 291). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
We had our first visitor from Dallas yesterday. Chris Sleath, traveler extraordinaire, Texan, and Englishman, was in Nairobi and made the one hour trip to visit us on the Kijabe station. It is always nice to see people from home, and we enjoyed his tales of adventures from around the world. It was a treat to have someone from home already visiting us in in Kijabe mission station. We walked him around the campus of the school, served him some tea while breaking many good English traditional courtesies in the process and then he was gone almost as quickly as he had arrived. A mid-Sunday surprise and courtesy visit from one of our favorite Brits!
Thank you, friends, for praying for our family as we arrived to Kenya and started life here in Kijabe. Our flights were smooth and on time and all of our luggage arrived at once in Nairobi. The first night we took a couple of vans to a mission guest house and tried to sleep. The next morning one driver came to pick up our luggage and take it on to Kijabe. The other, a super friendly and well-spoken Kenyan, like Ronnie in Costa Rica (some people will understand), picked us up and took us to a super nice shopping center in a part of town called Karen. Yes, that is named after Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame. I had no idea that she owned so much land in what is now part of Nairobi— I imagined it much farther out. After shopping for groceries and setting up our in-country phones, we drove north through surprisingly lush forested land. Upon arriving in Kijabe, our new friend Philip said that we could not spend the night in our house, but he had been directed to the house next door. The hospital maintenance crew had varnished our floor that morning and they were still wet. The kids ran down to meet Chardonnay, our new yellow lab. She is a beautiful dog.
On Friday morning we opened all the windows and aired out the house, then started the unpacking. It felt so good to make the home our own and to start to get settled. Will did a lot of work today while I was at new teacher inservice, so we are nearly moved in. All the kids were enthusiastic about setting up their rooms in their own style. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights we had dinner with a missionary family from the hospital. I imagine that they each hosted the other new family, our new next door neighbor, on the following night. It was an encouraging treat to be in their homes and hear their stories of God’s faithfulness and the kids have met several new friends who will be in their classes.
During the days we have had lovely cool weather to explore the garden, walk with the new dog, and explore a little. Various families and kids have stopped by the door to introduce themselves. As I write, Annie is at a “sixth grade hangout” at the school. The boys have been riding their bikes down the red dirt roads around the station.
God has blessed us in so many ways, large and small. Your prayers have certainly been effective.
Please keep praying, especially for the Kenyan elections that will take place tomorrow. Everyone here is praying for a peaceful transition of power and for tribal cooperation. Join us in prayer for safety for all. Thanks for all that you are to us.