This will be different from other blogs/ newsletters, I have sent. I need to update some things and say lots of Thank Yous and share many prayer requests. There are many stories that go with all that has been happening and I still hope to get them written down and shared before I forget them, but for today this is what I need to share. It may not be eloquent and may also have typos, just read past them, and know that yes I was taught better, but I think this needs to be raw and from my heart and sent today, before something else will come up. I believe there is lots of spiritual warfare here on so many levels and the devil can even put trivial things in my path to distract me and keep me from sharing good news and important prayer requests.
- · Pray for the devils efforts to be thwarted at every step for me and others here and all over Kenya. That there be no confusion, good clear communication with understanding, that for all of us, we recognize the trivial things as such, and can stay on track with the kingdom work. Also pray for a leader going to an area where darkness is affecting our churches. His trip will take place on the 23rd. It really bothered me to hear about this area, and I consider it like the lost sheep and we want it home, not out wandering in darkness. Please pray.
Thanks so much to everyone for the kind words about Batman. He did not return. That is ok. I laugh now as I write that, because someone in their kinds words said something about “batman returns”, but as I read it, it struck me that it sounded like a movie title. I don’t know if there was or wasn’t’ a “Batman Returns” movie but I laughed so hard. I can’t even remember who said it and I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be funny, but I was so glad it struck me as funny at that moment. Robin and I are doing well and the cats provide lots of love also, but just as American cats, they don’t show you that love as much as a dog does. The sheep continues to heal and I have a few more surgeries on dogs and cats scheduled.
- · Praises for the time I had with Batman, the dog and cats I still have, the recovering sheep and other patients I have been able to help here so far. Praises for connections with the humans that go with those animals also. Prayers for good chances to go forward with this work, without it being seen as a problem here.
Thank you also for the many, many, many cards and notes from my birthday til now. I have pictures, but am not sure I will be able to upload them today. I love just hearing about your lives and what you are doing. It keeps me grounded at times when things seem upside down over here. I can’t name everyone and would likely leave someone out, but THANK you so much for taking time to send your love through the mail and by email also. I will say a special thanks to Helen and Landon and Hanna. I have received pictures and special notes from the kids as well as cards monthly since being here from Helen. Big hugs to you all. I hope Landon and Hanna had a great time a camp and so appreciate them taking time to write to me. I got so many cards after not checking the box for awhile. I opened them all and looked at the pictures, but then decided to spread out reading them a few every week. They are so special to me and I love that all of you also take time out of your busy lives to write to me. Thanks.
- · Praise to all of you who are loving on me through cards, emails, messages and responses to my writing and ramblings. Thank you thank you thank you!
I am feeling more loved up here also. Things are getting busy in many areas, but especially with the women at the local church. I am teaching CHE women of the Bible lessons, we are all being more friendly with each other and I feel more accepted by them. We even had the Bible study at my house a few weeks ago. I was very nervous, but it all went well.
- · Praise for improved relations with people here, especially the women. Praise also for someone to help translate during the lessons and help with some continued language learning. Please also pray for my language learning. Now that I am getting busier, I find it hard to study. I feel the devil can also be using this to keep me from progressing with language. Pray for time for rest for me to process what I learn new in the language and for me to be better able to hear the words being spoken. That is most frustrating to me, Some I can understand well and they understand me, but others its like a total different language again. They have different dialects/accents just like we all do and it’s frustrating. God is able to fix this issue, I know he is, but it hasn’t happened yet, which means I still need to be patient and keep moving forward, not giving up. Pray for time and a peaceful mind for me to be able to continue progressing in my language learning.
I am also making friends with the kids more and really enjoyed being invited and called a special guest at the baby prayer/dedication of my first language helper’s new daughter. It was good to see her again, since it had been a few months and her baby is very sweet. I know you shouldn’t have favorites, but I do, Hellen was the first Turkana as she helped on my vision trip.
I also have a favorite child, this sweet little thing just makes my heart melt. Today as I dropped the guest teacher at our training center I saw a child near the gate with adults. The child was waving. It was my sweet little girl and she actually smiled at me today and when I stopped and it was safe, she came to the car to shake my hand. She is the age when they kids are often very scared of the white skin, but she never has been, but until today she was always very serious. Today her smile was the best gift God could have given me.
- · Pray for the sweet children here and their mamas. It is hard for me to even tell you how different their lives are from you and your children and the childhood I had. Pray for them to know God and his love and to have something to smile about each day.
Two other things that made me smile. A few months ago seeing kids building sand castles, after a nice morning rain left the sand wet enough to pack into old blueband (like margarine) and kimbo (like Crisco) tubs. I had to travel on and didn’t get a picture, but its in my mind. Kids being kids in the most fun way in a place filled with sand, taking advantage of the rain making it wet enough to pack. The second was yesterday when picking up the teacher the kids had made a toy I hadn’t seen here before. A tied plastic bag (blown up with air and string tied to cardboard, so that when the wind blew the bag drifted along the sand and pulled the cardboard. I couldn’t get a good picture or video of that either, but they were having so much fun and it was so creative.
- · Pray for those creative little minds to keep being creative and do great things and remember these days as they grow to adult hood, to look at their resources and say it may look like trash to you, but look what I can make from it. Pray for them to have days to have fun and smile and be kids. Have your kids pray for these kids.
What a difference 2 years makes. Last week I went back to Nairobi then on to Kajiado for 3 days of meetings that were really good. I learned a lot and so did the Turkana that are now being included more and more in the national ministries. This was the same area that I had visited after only being in country for a few weeks in 2014 and I wrote a blog about it. I will share more about that trip and link that blog. I haven’t reread it yet, but know I will probably laugh at myself for things I said and did and for my reactions, compared to my reactions on this trip. Two years from now I may laugh at what I say about this trip.
- · Pray for our Community Christian Church (CCC) here in Kenya, for the leaders at all levels, all pastors, and for the churches. There are changes here that affect our churches, but I have been impressed by how the leaders are stepping up and moving forward. I am also impressed at how the Turkana are embracing these changes. Change isn’t easy for anyone, anywhere. Pray for all this and for the future of the CCC, not for themselves, not for the missionaries, not for anything earthly, like church buildings, but for actual building of the Kingdom to be our foundation block.
Looking back I might describe my first year as confusing, my second year as filled with change and complaining, I admit not just others, but my complaining also. I actually spent a lot of time both of those years complaining to God. I asked why I was even here? I asked if I had heard him wrong and this wasn’t really where he wanted me to be? How did I get it so wrong? What was I learning that I would take away from it all, if I left right then? Any many days I wanted to just get on a plane and leave. I read so many books, to try to help with all my feelings, talked to other missionaries, who assured me I couldn’t actually be the worst missionary on the face of the earth, even though the people here like to tell us we are. I read and am still reading more books on communication and have learned a lot. I think back to times in practice with situations, when what I now know would have helped with clients and staff to have better understanding of hard situations. I do not know it all. I will keep reading. I will keep learning. I will keep striving to do better. I am just glad I have a Father in Heaven who loves me in my weaknesses and comforts me when I doubt it all and helps me when I fall. He forgives my sins and helps me learn and do better. He knows I am not perfect and loves me anyway.
I have been blessed to be on a launch team for a new online Bible study from Love God Greatly, called You are Forgiven. The book is great and the Bible study starts in August. If you want more information and you don’t see me post anything, please send me a message and I can connect you. It is nice to have a way to have a Bible study when I‘m in a place where everything is foreign. It feels normal and fun.
On a similar note, Thank you so much to my church for the wonderful App with sermons loaded in a timely fashion. I can’t even keep up listening to them. It is such a blessing to hear my pastor and reference to people I know, places I know, situations I understand.
- · Praises to God for getting me through 2 years and showing me why I am here, helping me see a future here, helping confirm that this is the place for me right now, so do everything I can with the opportunity He has given me here.
- · Praises for Love God Greatly and You are Forgiven #LoveGodGreatly #YouAreForgiven
- · Praises for LHCC and helping me and others stay connected and sharing the word of God not just in Harrison Co.
Life is getting better. Being busy is good. It means things are happening. The trip last week was kind of extra/unplanned, but good. Taking care of the guest teacher this week is tiring, but good. Friends from another mission down country are coming through Lodwar next week and that is super exciting. New teammates are very close to coming and that’s a little scary. I am thankful God has started to give me a new perspective on all this and my life here.
- · Pray I find time to rest and take care of my work (CMF indy, I promise I’m working on reports).
- · Pray for visitors: the teacher traveling home today and tomorrow (he misses his family and they miss him), friends traveling up and the trainings they will do with their churches.
- · Pray for new teammates, that they have rest and peace as they make final preparations to leave and make a new home here in Turkana. Pray for their transitions, business and shopping that needs to be taken care of in Nairobi, the trip up here with their kids and belongings, for me to know when and how to help them and at the same time allow them to experience and learn new things and teach me also.
- · Pray for their little ones. Have your kids pray for their little ones (2 girls and a little boy will be joining us over the next months). Pray for the kids transitions, as little white children are not common here. Pray the Turkana children do not overwhelm them, rather see them as friends who look a little different, but still like to play in the sand and make fun things with trash.
There are so many stories and thoughts and pictures and fun stuff that goes along with all that has happened this year so far, but it has also been hard. Even with the good, there are frustrations, moments where I long for my old normal. I miss friends, barbeques and swimming, summer in the US, seeing the leaves bloom in spring, hearing the first birds, red, yellow and orange leaves falling to the ground in the fall, hugs from my niece and nephew and all of you as well, speaking fast all the time, and so many other things. However, I feel more and more that I did not misunderstand God. This is where he wants me for this stage of my life.
- Pray for me to better handle the hard parts each and every day here. I know they will not disappear, but maybe a little bit of a break even one day a week would be nice and please pray for more smiles from my sweet little friend. Really, seriously, pray for those smiles for me. It made me rush home to write this and to share it with you all. The devil did not win today and he does not win in the end.
|Men at the meeting last week in Kajiado.|The Bible study book, Sorry, cant get it to turn!
A kuku (chicken) was donated for me, since goat isn't my favorite. It was good, probably the freshest chicken I have ever had. The guys took pictures eating the goat, so we did eating the chicken!