Friday, October 19, 2012

A Beautiful Day!

My heart is over whelmed with gladness!  Susan was adopted today! I'm sure you all remember her well. She's a year old now.  You can see by this picture that she has come a long way. I praise the Lord that she has a forever family.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One More for the Road

These next few months, Jon and I are on the road in the United States raising support to go back home to Kenya.  Yesterday we traveled from Bradford, PA back home to Wilmore KY in one day.  As we were driving along. Jon would make comments like: "This is as far as from Olderkesi to Tenwek.", or "This is as far as from Tenwek to Nairobi.".  As we pulled into our driveway here in Wilmore he made the comment that he had driven as far as from Olderkesi to Malindi (on the coast of the Indian Ocean).

Can I just say here that there is NO comparison!  American roads are wonderful. Even the rough ones are nothing in comparison to what we are used to. We laughed that some roads had actual signs warning of a dip in the road or a rough area. In Kenya, there would be one of those signs every two feet!  The scenery of course is worlds apart.  

So, I wanted to illustrate by picture the contrasts. The first set of course is our notorious Kenyan roads.  I have not driven these roads much in Kenya. The reasons for that is that I don't WANT to and that  I want to live. Jon is a much better driver than I am and much less likely to be distracted.  If driving makes you a better missionary, then I'm the worst missionary there is.  Cause yes, I admit- I'm a chicken.

The boys letting us know they are watching and taking lessons from the back seat!

The road is not just for driving on.

Brave, brave man with is potatoes, charcoal and a 'broom'?

There are matatu drivers who are very, very scary.  This guy looks like it would not take much to set him off.

No, not a river-the road.

Sometimes Jon had to get out and assess the way through.

YES! He is climbing on TOP of the bus! YES we are in fast moving traffic!

Not a traffic jam!  The regular traffic, moving fast.

See what my job is? To watch for PEOPLE trying to cross without looking.

Crossing a street is very stressful I might add.

Are you sure you want to go on the push cart?

VERY slow moving family.  You understand why we didnt' mind.

Prison escapees.

If you want to move your corn grinder, you put it on the motorbike and hit the highway.  Seriously?

Much rain, no bridge. Go back. If its the only way home you wait...

Poor wet sheep! They needed to cross too!

Now by contrast on American roads things are normal!  Well, not so much.  We were sure the Easter bunny who owned this basket was going to come for it, and we didn't want to be around.

It was a really beautiful time to be traveling in the North though!

So you see. Adventure IS out there.  No matter where you are driving.   Do pray for us as we both countries.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Last of Life for Which the First Was Made....

 The title of this entry is a quote by a grand man named Calvin Miller.  In the past months, these words have gone through my head every day.  The time has come for us to follow Jesus leading and close down the parts of our lives lived "before".  A friend told me early on in this process, "the same Jesus who led you to Olderkesi will now lead you out."  This comforts me on many levels.

After 25 years in the bush..give or take a few, the Lord has asked us to widen our horizons.  Jon will begin a new position with World Gospel Mission (WGM). Starting in January, he will become the new Africa Regional Director for WGM.  We have huge shoes to fill! The current Regional Field Director and his wife are wonderful leaders and friends.

We will still live in Kenya!!  Don't write us off yet!! We just will not live in our beloved bush.  We are moving to Nairobi, the capital city. Yes- I cringed too, but remember- the SAME Jesus who led us into the bush is leading us out.

Let me add some visuals to our last months in Kenya.  The captions, I hope will explain better.....  

Heading out...for the last time.

Brenden's years at Rift Valley Academy (RVA) included Sundays in the villages doing sunday school and playing.  

Jon and I took one last visit to the game park near our house.  What's that quote from Out of Africa. " The only thing to do when things are sad is to make them sadder." (or something like that...ask Meryl Streep)

There was no resisting this quirky shot.

He needed to tell me something.."remember, not all elephants are cranky, some of us are just CUTE!"

Then after that bliss..we began packing the house..see that trunk? My toe did NOT. In my defence, those are NOT dust bunnies..the carpet padding did not want to move with us, it stuck very tightly to its home.

Sad and lonely front porch.

All our Maasai friends came to help us load.
 After loading all our life's belongings into a moving truck, we drove to Nairobi and unloaded it all into a storage place.  Let me just say, loading solar equipment, batteries, solar panels, freezer, fridge...was NO fun.  These guys made it fun by being very cheerful about it.

We went from Nairobi unloading to Brenden's graduation up at RVA.  Here he is with his fellow graduate, Steven Chupp and some of his great life long friends-Peter, Andrew and Jamie White.

Of course on the way home, we HAD to get this reminder of random signage and dedicated soccer fans.

Two of the local maasai boys (and avid Brenden fans) came to give him his farewell present. NO one should leave home without their milk. No one!

A special farewell.  My group of young girls, who I did some Bible studies with, were allowed to leave the school to come say goodbye.  That was sad!  They gave us gifts and said little speeches. So sweet.

The community gave us a farewell party.  We had given our trampoline to our friend Johnstone.  Brenden demonstrates that maybe maasai aren't the highest jumpers after all!

Some could just not take the late night excitement. Look at how this little girl is sleeping!! She's not even half on the couch!
We got so many gifts of maasai beads and clothing. It was so touching and hard not to cry!

One last goodbye in Narok, our friends since forever-Daniel and Lawrence., this is not Nariobi!! We stopped in Israel on the way to the states.  Words fail me..yes, me!

Another major change!  A new grandson! Toby Wells joined AJ and Bethany soon after we got to the states. Man, he's cute and he's just going to get cuter.

Papa and Toby.

Our son Benjamin had his art show at Asbury University  These sculptures are made of tires.....yes, tires. If you want to see close ups of them, I have them posted on my Facebook page.

From BIG game photography to little avians. 
So, as you can see.  Our lives have changed and are changing.  I love that it gives us daily a venue to see God's grace and mercy.  His care and His concern. We are looking ahead for the rest of what He has for us.  We are on a short furlough in the states..until February, then we head back to Kenya. Stay tuned!!
Let me end with another quote: Soren Kirkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Romans 8:28 Moment

We all would like to see the results of a bad situation turn out good.  We all hold out a hope to see out Romans 8:28 moment when "all things work together for the good for those who are called according to His purpose." Sometimes we don't get to see those times.  When the bad or stressful things happen in our lives we wonder how God can work it for our good.  Recently, the Lord showed us one of those moments.

In my last post, I wrote about a terrible trip Jon had made and how he had taken a lady to Narok who was in labor.  The odds were against her and her baby. In fact, all had been told the child was dead.  Yet, a few days later, we got word that the baby had lived!! We were so happy.

The other day the husband of the lady came to our house and asked if we would like to come to his village to see his wife, now recovered, and meet Esther their new baby girl.  We were so glad to have this blessing.  As we walked over, I heard the man talking to Jon. I am not supposed to walk side by side when the men, so it gave me a good view of them, and I could hear everything. The man was telling Jon how, when Jon stopped to pray that day, it really touched them. He said that he knew that God had heard Jon's prayer and answered every single one of Jon's requests.  Jon was fast to tell him the reality here was that GOD answers our prayers!   God is the one who saved his wife and baby daughter.  That God wants to know him personally as well. The man agreed that he saw God working that and he said his wife and he had been talking about this miracle.  Pray with us that this village will find Jesus and fully follow Him!!

Meet baby Esther!! Mom and baby doing fine!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Going Places...or NOT!
Rainy season in Kenya.

I have a lovely garden.  Its all green and lush, full of fire finches, sparrows, basil, and happy bees. I haven't been able to get into my garden for a week now.  The mud is unbelievable!  As soon as my feet hit that swampy yard, I no longer need anything in that small little space.  So imagine what it must be like to actually GO anywhere in a vehicle or bike or motorcycle! Okay, don't imagine.  Let me tell you AND show you!

Let me just say when we leave our house or try to come back to it, we never have had a boring trip yet.  There is a little cartoon character that is famous for saying, "Adventure is out there!"  He must have lived at Olderkesi.

 Let me just show you some pictures to illustrate.

Even tho there was a bridge over this, the water almost reached it!

This little dent in the earth is usually no problem at all! If the cows can cross, the Land Rover should be able to cross..right? We waited for half an hour.

If it looks like a volcano, has 'smoke' like a volcano, then it IS a volcano, right? NOPE! Just the next rainstorm coming in!

 Here is a good example of a little adventure-taking Brenden back to school for his last term at RVA. You would think once we get onto the tarmac its all easy going-not so. As we got over the Rift Valley escarpment and set out across the valley there was a huge mudslide right across the only road going across.  It was so bad that it got UNDER the tarmac and buckled the road.  People were everywhere! In the road, on the side, in each other's business and in each other's LANE.  We waited a half hour until Jon decided just to get aggressive and go.  We made it and as we went through the actual mud mess, people were cheering, then they followed!

After dropping Brenden, we headed home with visitors.  I just love when visitors are so gung ho and impressed at crossings like this, while I am quaking in my shoes and asking Jon, "Are you SURE its okay!?"  Its always their enthusiasm and Jon's assurances that keep me in the vehicle!

One of the main factors that determines our coming in  and going out. (besides Jesus of course)
The river crossing where the bridge is out.

 Our lovely, unusable bridge..I don't wanna talk about it!

Last night, Jon got home from a trip to Tenwek at 12:30 AM. A trip that usually takes him 3 1/2 hours took him 15 hours and 15 minutes.  He started at 9:15AM.  When he was about 30 minutes from home, he got to this bridge and met the ODP tractor pulling the trailer. In the trailer was a woman very sick in labor and several of her relatives.  They carried the woman across the bridge to Jon's vehicle and he turned around and headed back to Narok (with fewer relatives).  After dropping her off, picking up meds for the clinic, other riders, etc, he started home again.  He met Johnstone on the way, with the ODP Land Cruiser bogged in deep mud. Johnstone had managed to flag down a passing motorcycle with NO headlight and had them go on to the project to send the tractor!  Meanwhile, Jon's Land Rover would not start, so he couldn't help pull Johnstone out.  Jon broke out the bread and milk I had him get in Narok and everyone had a nice filler, then they settled into the vehicles to spend the night. The tractor came around 10:30. After that it took another 2 hours to get home. All the while, there was no signal for the cell phones, only little burps of coverage once in a while. So, it was kind of interesting not knowing if Jon was coming or not!  And no problem at all just trusting Jesus for his safety.  This is why your prayers are so important, this is how they work in our every day lives. Thank you for praying for our comings and goings.

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Ps. 121:8