Saturday, November 9, 2013

I'm Thankful For....

At this time of year it is good to reflect on things we are thankful for. This year my thoughts are a little different. I hope you will learn a little about how my life has changed and will change while preparing for and serving in Kenya.

Pensacola, Florida
Sand will be prevalent in Turkana, but no beach like this one where I will be. I am thankful that I was able to spend an hour at the beach in Florida, even though the wind was whipping and the water was cold.

I am thankful for family, friends and church family. I am thankful for everything being done to help me learn and prepare for reaching the field. I am thankful for partners that have seen the vision for the ministry in Turkana and for everyone who has allowed me to share with them.

Playing a game with my neice and nephew.
It will be hard to be separated from everyone, but thanks to technology (Skype, FaceTime, e-mail, cell phones, Face Book) it is so much easier for people all over the world to keep in touch. I am also thankful for technology that allows me to access my books and information on computers, my Kindle and phone. I will need to take some physical books and references with me, but thanks to technology I will have more room in my bags for other items. Technology also allows me to download music and listen to podcasts of sermons from here in the US. So different from what missionaries faced just 10 to 15 years ago.

So you may have deducted that I will have electricity and internet where I will live in Lodwar, Kenya.  It may not always be on, but the fact that it is there is a true blessing. I am thankful for that and also for the opportunity to have a generator to keep my refrigerator and freezer running when the electricity is off. Another praise for the fact that I will have a frig and freezer and be able to buy food to put in it.

Continuing on with that though I am thankful for the grocery store and vegetable / fruit market in Lodwar.

How many times a day do we stop to thank God for running water and flush toilets? I do every day now. I am also thankful that I will still have running water and a flushing toilet (not a "squatty potty") in my house in Lodwar. While I won't have hot water from the tap there, at least I will have electricity and a gas stove to heat the water when needed for doing dishes and cooking. Depending on the time of day the water may be warmer for a nicer shower.

Dining room looking into the kitchen.
I am thankful for a home in Lodwar that will have a tile floor and screens on the windows. Granted the sand will still blow in, but it will decrease mosquito and insect entry. The house is also large enough to host people who come to visit (hint, hint).

I am thankful for missionaries, mentors and others who share what they have learned. October and November have been and continue to be full of trainings, conferences, meetings, visits, my CMF commissioning and even some work in between all that. I am thankful for the opportunity to do all this.

I am thankful for God's networking for me. I am constantly amazed (although I shouldn't be) at all the connections He sends my way. Every person adds something to my life by sharing their experiences with me.

I am thankful for conferences like the GMHC (Global Missions Health Conference) held right here in Louisville at Southeast Christian Church. I am also thankful that they have started a GMHC Africa and I will hopefully be able to attend next year in September in Nairobi. What a blessing to have a small piece of something familiar right there in Kenya.
 Christian Veterinary Mission Friends

I am thankful for my veterinary friends who were at the GMHC as we all continue to educate people about how veterinary medicine can be used in missions and how it contributes to a holistic missions model.

Missions today is changing and more and more we strive to teach and work along side the people we are called to, rather than doing things for them. We want to empower them and show them their value in God's eyes, so they can share that with others. I am so thankful to be a part of missions in this new era of development.

I am ultimately thankful for my God and my Savior, Jesus, because without them I wouldn't be on this journey. It has been a crazy one at times and it is hard to believe it began with my first short term mission trip when I told God I would "Go" but "I wouldn't leave the country". That trip was a CVM trip to New Mexico, working on the Navajo reservation. It was like a different country, with their different language and culture. Now 10 years later it seems so natural to say I am moving to Kenya next year. I couldn't imagine not doing that.

I am still reminded each day that this won't be easy and I will never be "completely prepared" for what I will face. However, I want to take full advantage of the opportunities and people that God puts in my path. I am thankful for so many people and I simply couldn't name everyone who is helping or has helped me in the past 10 years and really my whole life to get me to this point.

I have so many wonderful partners that have helped me reach 60% of my monthly budget now and I know many more are at the point of joining what will be happening in Kenya. I am thankful that God has brought you all into my life, but remember, it really isn't about any of us. It is about God, his love for us and the sacrifice of Jesus. That is what I am most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving. 

1 comment:

  1. Praying for you, Shannon! So good to read your post here of thankfulness...