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.
“I pray that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
While studying Philippians I was asked the question “How does Paul participate in the life of the Philippians?”. The only way I could answer is that he wrote them letters and he prayed for them. And so I am challenged to do the same. I am going to try and write more notes to encourage my friends, and I am going to try and pray for them more. We had a friend tell us that we were on his Wednesday prayer schedule. I was so humbled, but also motivated to make a schedule instead of just trusting my memory to pray for people. I was encouraged, and I felt like he was more a part of our lives than I had known before. So I am going to make a schedule, pray more for my friends, and write more encouraging words.
And as a second thought, if you ever wonder what you can do for friends who are far away (like missionaries), all you have to do is send a couple line email note letting them know you are thinking of them and then encouraging them to stay strong in their faith. It makes a bigger difference than you might imagine!
The kids are finishing school again. This is the second time Annie is finishing 5th grade and Sarah is finishing 3rd. They completed those grades in Peru, but being in the southern hemisphere, the years were flipped with summer break starting in December. So we moved here and let them finish the years in the grades they had previously completed. The first month was hard, especially for the girls. But yesterday as we drove home, Annie said to me “I am really going to miss school! I liked learning new things and making new friends!” As Allison told me, it is a reminder that things, circumstances, and best of all, attitudes can change with time. Come on summer break. It will be the kids first one since February of 2016!
“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.
This is a nice video that our friends in Peru have put together to explain the work that they are doing among the Quechua people. I had the pleasure of caring for their two sons – I did not have to do much as they were quite healthy and happy. We drove hours to their house over very curvy roads every January to watch the Super Bowl. What are friends for, right? Erin is an ACU graduate and they are both from the Tacoma, WA area (we lived there as well) which means we are connected in more ways than one! Take a look at the video to be challenged and inspired!