Monday, February 6, 2017


Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Psalm 105: 4 

One simple smile. That’s all it was. One simple smile from a child that reminded me to look to God and seek His face, even in the crazy days and uncertain times. It was His face I saw smiling at me that day through the smile of a sweet child. She is a child who does not often smile at me. She is curious and looks at me with big eyes. She is not scared like so many children are. She just looks. She always warms my heart when I see her, because of her calm nature, but that day she smiled and almost ran out of the building to greet me when she saw me. She even turned back to her mama as if to say 'Can you believe my friend is here? She is really here.' It allowed me to see God's face and know that he was the one that led me there that day. I had debated with myself for an hour that morning, but here I was and I was thankful for how God shared his love for me through this little girl and her sweet smile.

Sometimes I coax her to come sit next to me, before the fun of playing with the other little girls wins out, but that day she wanted to sit next to me, no coaxing needed. She wanted to imitate me as I drank from my water bottle.  I helped her open the cap on her bottle and she took a drink when I did. As I placed mine in a spot where other kids would not be able to take it, she wanted to place her water bottle right next to mine. How could something so simple change my bad attitude that day. I suppose missionaries should never think (or if they do think it they should never admit it) that they sometimes just need a day to skip church and be with God alone on a Sunday. That was my attitude that day, but no matter how I debated with myself, I kept on the path to going. When I saw that smile I knew God had told me that was not the day to stay home with him. He knew what I needed. That day the service was full of noise and confusion and crazy things, but my whole attitude changed through the smile from this child and I felt blessed. 

I'll admit that after the church service I had a headache and was so hot and tired. I went home to rest and prepare the house and pack for my trip down country the next day. However, I had another important thing to do that day. I needed to go visit a church member who was still recovering after a c-section last year. In the past 2 weeks I had been taking other ladies from the church with me to go visit her. Her house was not easy to find, but I now felt confident I could get there. I wanted to take her some more water and visit briefly before I went down country. As I drove up to her house, I was greeted by 3 other ladies from our church who had gone to visit her. They were clapping and cheering for me as I drove up. Their smiles and joy also produced another smile on my face. The visit was short as we transferred the water to her jeri cans from mine. Then we prayed and I drove the other ladies back to their homes. 

I am thankful that I have a loving God that can show me his sweet love at times when I may forget to seek Him. No matter what is happening,  He is always there.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Did I ever tell you about that time when?

Here are a few fun things from the past year or so that you might or might not have heard about. I wrote this a few months ago and never got it posted, so there may be a part 2 for what has happened since all this. 

*.... when we went tried to show a visitor one of the "close" farms. It had rained and we couldn't make it to the farm, but when we tried to return one of the rivers just north of town was flowing and we had to wait 9 hours to cross it. We kept taking bets on how long we would wait. After 6 hours of waiting we began to bet in days, which didn't make our visitor happy, since he had a plane to catch the next afternoon. We made it home by 3 am, but crossing in the dark was scary. I was not driving, but prayed more that I do when I am driving. There was already a vehicle that washed over the previous day. you can't see it in these pictures, because the water rose up over it.  

Rivers can rise quickly here. This was 45 minutes after we initially crossed with little water on the road. 

The diocese hill, we had climbed it earlier that day, and we had noted this river was dry then.
Turkwell River after another big rain. We have only this one bridge separating the north and south parts of Lodwar. I still joke about leaving a place where we complained about traffic on the bridges constantly, only to come to a place where I complain about the traffic on the bridge alot. Sometimes you get lucky and can cross and sometimes there are reasons you can't, accidents, animals being unruly, riots, too much traffic coming the other way (its only one lane, so you have to take turns). 

*..... when we went to the new hoteli that has a pool open to the public in the desert of Turkana. They have grass and everything. It is a little crazy and out of place, one of my friends even asked me if it was a mirage. They have a well, so I don't feel as bad about going there to swim. Unfortunately there is no longer a free day. Still thankful for a pool to use.

*....when Ali helped me with my language learning, using demonstratives and locatives and so many other parts of speech that I never really learned about until I studied a second and then a third language.

*....when I got a bunch of cards for my birthday. We do not check our PO box every week and I was down country just after my birthday, so most of these I "received" about a month after my birthday. You also learn that things move slower here and so a month later to get all these was so fun and made it feel like my birthday was still going on. My teammate did make me a cake on my birthday. I asked for only 4 candles, didn't want to catch my hair on fire.

*....when my teammate found a little hand crank ice cream maker and I made vanilla ice cream to go with our brownies. YUM. Next was chocolate, which was even better. Ice cream is still what I crave the most and eat the most as my treats when I'm in Nairobi. Thanks to the previous missionaries who brought that ice cream maker and have  blessed others like me by leaving it behind. 

*......when I actually knew enough Turkana to make this little boy feel comfortable enough to sit by me and lay down on my lap to rest. He and his mama and younger sibling rode with us out to the bush community we were visiting that day. He was so interested in watching where we were going, but got very tired. He wouldn't talk to me, but he understood me.
*.....when we had a spa night in Turkana. Ice cold water, fans directly on us, candles for mood lighting, mud from the dead sea and peppermint smelling foot scrub that another sweet missionary had shared with me from the US. When I saw that missionary again at the guest house, she couldn't believe I still had it. We really learn to hoard and stretch what we have to enjoy it for as long as possible.
*....when the women all crammed into my truck after the women's meeting, which that week was held at the house of one of my male guards. Yeah, I tried and tried to figure that one out and it was made more confusing before the meeting, because they often mix up and change the pronouns, because in Swahili and Turkana there are no separate he and she, him or her pronouns.

One woman finally decided to walk to the first house and get in when we dropped the first lady. She wanted to make sure I knew where her house was. 
My house helper dressed with her beads, after returning from down country for the women's conference. She is in the picture above also, but I really like her smile here and she does not often wear all her beads. 
*....when the guard dogs killed another lizard. This was not the first. I was so proud of them, mostly they are bored when it is dead, but anything alive and moving is cause for extreme excitement. My guard made sure I knew that Batman really killed it and Robin just stood there and barked alot. Bless his heart. I love them both anyway. (Batman is gone now, this was his last great conquest!)
Batman sniffing his kill. 

Resting after the big kill.

Needing some praise and love. They are good dogs. 

*...when the desert rose tree near my kitchen window bloomed for months on end and grew seed pods. I was waiting and waiting for the pods to open and one day they were gone, well they were so light after drying and opening and the seeds were starting to come out, so the branches were no longer hanging down near the ground. Soon I saw the wind catch a seed and off it went. Then another and another. I had been told I could replant from the seeds and since my attempts to start new trees from cuttings hadn't worked I ran to get a container and collect the seeds. I planted a few in a container and a few days later wanted to plant some in the ground and save the rest. My guard who helps me with planting dug the hole and I put in 3 seeds, went to get some dry leaves for cover and water and when I came back, my container of seeds was totally empty. I asked if they blew away, but he said no they were all in the ground. He had planted about 20 seeds in that one hole. Oh the communication issues. I smiled and said ok, cause it really didn't matter. They I covered and prayed over my seeds and am hoping to see some growth when I return and hope there are still blooms for many more months. 
Aren't these seeds fascinating. They blow around like dandelions. We pulled the fluffy parts off before planting only the small seed in the middle. 

You can see the fluffy part of the seed emerging from the pod here, almost ready to blow away. 

*...when a sweet new friend bought me flowers in Nairobi. Flowers here are all around and I enjoy seeing them when down here and enjoyed having them in my room and sharing them with others at the guest house when I left. 

*...when I stay at my Nairobi home, the Mayfield Guest House. It is run by another mission agency and I have been blessed to meet so many of their missionaries over the time I have been here. The men who run it, take such good care of us all and I am thankful for the rest and peace I find here. God Bless them in their mission to serve other missionaries.
My Nairobi Home. 
*...when I finally read the book Dewey. I have a copy in America, but just never got around to reading it. While reading it I realized that Dewey was the library cat when I was in Iowa at veterinary school. I can't believe I never went to visit or meet him. Glad I finally had a chance to read the book. The guest house has alot of books, donated by missionaries and traded and shared over time. Its great to come and just pull one off the shelf and spend a day doing nothing but reading.

*...when I finally got to meet the new baby of the house helper at one of our bush houses. As he grew he was scared of me, but has finally come around.
*...when I got to see friends at one of the farms and they smiled and jumped and were happy to see me also. These are the ladies that first taught me to dance like the Turkana before I attended a traditional Turkana wedding. They still laugh at my attempts.
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*...when we discovered a new "phone booth" on the way back from the bush. We usually stop at this area to see the springs where the water comes up and grass grows. Its also a good bathroom stop as there are other large bushes around. This time we were all shocked when as we looked at the spring, one of the workers cell phones rang. Soon others all started checking their phones and calling people.

*....when they tarmaced more roads in Lodwar. Then they proceeded to put the typical large speed bumps but these they actually painted. That has been my complaint in Nairobi since I arrived, the speed bumps hide in shadows and make it awful for driving. Thankful for painted ones in Turkana!